Frankie in The 8th Inning?
In yesterday's game Jerry Manuel made an interesting move bringing Francisco Rodriguez in for the eighth inning. At the time it was a 6-4 and the Mets had their lower end of their order due up for the ninth inning.
Rodriguez pitched very well, going through the Marlins one-two-three, striking out two batters.
The Mets came back to tie the game in the ninth inning, scoring two runs off of Marlins' closer Leo Nunez. The problem was that Rodriguez was pinch hit for by Chris Carter, so he was out of the game.
The Mets are only carrying six pitchers in the bullpen and three catcher because of the slight injuries to Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco. They already used Elmer Dessens to get one batter out and Bobby Parnell threw a full inning of work, so they only had Pedro Feliciano, Fernando Nieve (who threw two innings the day before) and Ryota Igarashi (who has been terrible).
The Mets weren't really in a good position to win this game, and their weak bullpen was really exploited in last night's game. Feliciano came in to face all right handed batters, and he just couldn't get them all out. He struck the first two out, including a great battle to get Hanley Ramirez, but gave up a double and a singled and just like that the game was over.
After the game Manuel said that they needed to get Rodriguez's work in. He needs to pitch every four to five days or else he gets rusty and he is not as effective. Well he was certainly effective last night.
The problem was Manuel didn't have faith in the Mets coming back in the ninth inning. He figured that they wouldn't be able to tie or take the lead in the ninth, and there wouldn't be a bottom of the ninth inning to pitch, so he brought in Rodriguez to pitch the eighth inning.
Seeing the outcome of the game it's easy to second guess. But Manuel needed to get Rodriguez's work in and the ninth inning wasn't going to happen at that point in the game.
I think it's clear that the Mets do need to add a set-up man to this bullpen. At the trade deadline they should be focused on acquiring a starting pitcher as well as another pitcher for the bullpen.
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