This one may or may not remain a semi-regular feature, but let’s review Terry Collins’ (and the coaching staff’s) performance during the Mets-Braves series.
Things Terry Collins did that I liked:
— Playing Josh Thole on Wednesday, day game after a night game: For most managers, this decision seems near automatic, like that of bunting with the pitcher and using closers only in save situations. The backup catcher starts the day game after a night game. Period. So it was nice to see Collins play lefthanded hitting Thole over righthanded Mike Nickeas on both Tuesday and Wednesday against Atlanta’s righthanded pitchers. Catchers need plenty of rest, but with an off-day today and the Mets seeing both a pair of day games and San Francisco’s lefties Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner over the weekend, Thole can still gets his days off, Nickeas a start or two, and the Mets play the platoon percentages to their advantage.
— Kirk Nieuwenhuis leading off: With Ruben Tejada getting a break on Wednesday and career .287 OBP Ronny Cedeno set to take his place at shortstop and potentially atop the lineup — because only middle infielders or center fielders can lead off — yesterday’s lineup was breaking towards “boxscores that will be hilarious in three years.” Collins indeed stuck with his “only middle infielders or center fielders can lead off” rule, but went with CF Nieuwenhuis instead.
Things Terry Collins did that I’m unsure about:
— Mets batting down 6-1 in the fourth inning Tuesday night, two outs, first and third, Collins pinch hit Mike Baxter for Miguel Batista. Baxter singled to drive in a run, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 6-2, so that aspect can be judged a success. On the other hand, Secret Agent Batista had thrown just 1.2 innings in relief of Santana, so Collins ended up asking Ramon Ramirez and Manny Acosta for five innings combined, knocking both out of the equation for Wednesday’s game. From a “win today’s game at all costs” perspective, the numbers say it’s almost always beneficial to hit for the pitcher. On the other hand, if your starter gets four outs and you only let your longman get five, you still need 15-18 outs from the bullpen, which can have repercussion for the next two or three days. Not sure how I felt about this one.
Things Terry Collins did that I didn’t like:
— Not Terry Collins, but worth noting Tim Teufel’s rough day coaching third base on Wednesday. The Braves threw out both David Wright and Daniel Murphy at the plate, both by at least 10-15 feet. On a scale of Razor Shines to Chip Hale, Teufel thus far falls somewhere between the two.
— Nothing else on Collins. Two of the three games were blowouts. Not much to say manager-wise.