The Mets (73-59) were defeated by the Phillies (53-80) by a score of 14-8. It appeared the Mets’ lead would fall from 6.5 to 5.5 games over Washington until…
Reigning NL Manager of the Year (!!!) Matt Williams decided to save his best reliever, Jonathan Papelbon, for a save chance that has yet to arrive. Clearly opposed to giving his team a fighting chance in the tenth, Williams defended his actions as such: (via Washington Post)
“We’ve used everybody just about to get to the eighth inning,” he began, when asked to explain his thought process. “We’ve got it setup for the eighth and the ninth. The eighth doesn’t go our way, and the score is tied. So everybody wants to know why you don’t use Papelbon in that situation? Let’s say, for instance, Pap throws a clean ninth and we score in the 10th. Who’s closing the game for us? I guess it’d be ‘Somebody,’ right?
“All these people want to know why Papelbon isn’t in the game. Because we lost,” Williams continued. “He’s our closer. He’s the the one that closes the game. Now when you’re at home, it’s a different story. It’s a different story because you always have the hammer at home. You always have the last at-bat at home. But on the road it’s a different story. You know, 99 times out of 100, every single manager is not going to use their closer on the road in a tie game because they need somebody to close that game.”
The internet reacted predictably. See: Joe Lucia at The Outside Corner, Grant Brisbee at SB Nation, Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk, and Rob Neyer (with a somewhat different opinion) at Just A Bit Outside.
Not to be hypocritical, Terry Collins certainly shouldn’t have let Bobby Parnell see the light of yesterday’s game. Not that Eric O’Flaherty or Carlos Torres helped much. My choice would have been Gilmartin (who struck out the side later in the game), but 14-7 wasn’t exactly close anyway.
Elsewhere around baseball, Elvis Andrus pulled off a rare feat for the resurgent Texas Rangers in their 8-6 win against San Diego:
And another rare feat for the Rockies (who wound up losing both ends of their doubleheader against Arizona):
Elsewhere around MLB, Zack Greinke out-dueled Madison Bumgarner to put the Giants 5.5 games (6 losses) back in the NL West. The Yankees beat Boston and the Blue Jays beat Cleveland, keeping New York 1.5 back of Toronto for the division lead. For more scores, see MLB.com.
Over at Just A Bit Outside, JP Morosi opines that Kansas City and Toronto fans should enjoy the winning ways while they still can.
The Kansas City Royals, currently with a 12 game lead over Minnesota, now have chicken pox to deal with.