The Mets are a month into the season and several moves that Jerry Manuel have made have been questioned at great length by fans and media alike, this is not good news. 

They were in first place, thanks to their 9-1  homestand, but just finished a 2-4 road trip in Philadelphia and Cincinnati, in two of the most hitter-friendly parks in the National League.

While the Mets are in second place and still very much in the mix in the NL East, you do have to wonder if some of Manuel’s decisions are costing the team wins.

First and foremost, Fernando Nieve has been used to excess, mostly due to the absence of Ryota Igarashi, who is on the DL with a strained hamstring.  Nieve has appeared in 17 games total and in nine of the last 10 games.

Jason Bay is still hitting cleanup even though he struggled mightily on the road trip, while a bad road trip is just that, if Manuel continues to place him in that role for the next week with the same results, it hurts the whole team.

Another questionable move was putting Jose Reyes in the third spot of the lineup, enough has been written about that, so I will not elaborate on that further, but to say fans strongly want him hitting leadoff again is an understatement.

During the third and decisive game against the Phillies last Sunday night, it was obvious that Johan Santana was not on his game in the least early in the game, but the bullpen was not prepared and Santana faced more batters than he should have under the circumstances.

Mike Francesca of WFAN radio asked Jerry, “after Victorino’s grand slam, why did you not take Santana out then…?”, to which he replied “the guy in the bullpen was indisposed or not ready”, which does raise some eyebrows about what he meant by that response.

However, the point is that more than one pitcher in the bullpen should have been warming up, it should not  have been left to one “guy”, especially if there were doubts that he would be ready when needed to enter the game.

During yesterday afternoon’s game in Cincinnati, Manuel double-switched David Wright out of the game in the bottom of the 10th inning after Wright struck out swinging to end the top of the inning. 

Manuel’s reason for the move was that Fernando Tatis, who had pinch hit in the 10th inning was needed as a potential back up catcher in the event that the game went more than 10 innings.  Henry Blanco started the game but was pinch hit for later in the game and there was some concern about Rod Barajas and how long he could continue to catch.

Anyone who knows what kind of player David Wright is will firmly believe that if an emergency catcher was needed, he would have had the catcher’s gear on without being asked his willingness to be in that situation after playing third base for the full game.

By no means am I advocating that Wright put on the “tools of ignorance” and take unnecessary injury risks, just that double switching him because of fear about a catcher needing to be replaced does not make much sense to me or a lot of other Mets fans.

Wright did have two hits on the afternoon, a single and a solo home run that brought the Mets within a run of the Reds, who were winning 4-2 at the time. 

While I do understand the concern about a backup catcher needing to be on the field, Tatis is a proven utility player who could have taken over any number of positions. 

The general rule of double switches is that the last batter is the one that gets switched out, while generally it is not questioned, being that Wright did have a successful afternoon, just a bad at bat in the 10th, he was waved off the field.

Pedo Feliciano gave up the game winning home run to Orlando Cabrera to end the game with the first batter he faced, so the point of the double switch was moot, but still questionable in the eyes of fans and media.

Fans and media do think that they can probably manage the team better than the manager, but moves like this do make you wonder if Manuel is costing his team wins with roster decisions, he is on a short leash to begin with in 2010, the clock is ticking……

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