During Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Phillies, rookie Mets manager Mickey Callaway appeared to biff a simple task when he elected to bring in left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins before the Phillies officially declared their pinch hitter. This allowed Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler to outflank Callaway and sub in righty Jesmuel Valentin in place of lefty Odubel Herrera, who had been the original pinch hitter. Callaway avoided disaster because Blevins struck Valentin out looking, but the former pitcher doubled down after the game, saying that he did exactly what he meant to do.
Via the New York Post:
“We didn’t want them to even announce Herrera,” Callaway said. “Herrera’s hitting [.293] with an [.804] OPS against lefties. I thought he was their best left-handed-hitting option off the bench against a lefty. The numbers said so. So I wanted to get out there as quick as possible and then let [Kapler] make the decision if he wanted to continue to hit him. … I was hoping they would do what they did.”
Yes, Herrera is actually better against lefties this season, but that’s out of a sample size of 92 at-bats. His career slash lines against righties (.290/.347/.450) is still higher than it is against lefties (.275/.329/.395). To be fair to Callaway, Blevins has actually been much better against righties (.150/.292/.250) this season than he has against lefties (.318/.392/.523), though those numbers are way out of step with his career splits. He is a left-handed specialist, after all, and one that the 36-52 Mets are attempting to market as such as the trade deadline approaches.
Even if the numbers don’t poke huge holes in Callaway’s explanation, it’s hard to give the rookie manager the benefit of the doubt. This occurred two months to the day since Callaway really fucked up, with consequence, in game against the Reds. That May afternoon, he allowed his team to bat out of order.
These two simple screwups, plus the Mets’ historically bad 5-21 record in the month of June, may be pushing Callaway’s ass closer and closer to the jackpot. But if we’re being honest, a rookie manager making a few gaffes here and there is far from the biggest worry the Mets have. There are much larger, more fundamental problems that need to be dealt with first.