Terry Collins opted not to use Byrdak and I’m still wondering why…?

Photo taken by Michael Baron

New York Mets starter Chris Young was cruising through six scoreless innings — allowing just two hits — before the wheels fell off in the top half of the seventh inning.  With the Mets leading 3-0, the 6’10″ right hander walked New York Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira to start the frame.  Nick Swisher followed the seven-pitch walk with a sinking line drive to right field that was misplayed by Lucas Duda.  Duda, who initially went back on the play, slipped as he came in and attempted an ill-advised diving stab at the liner.  To make matters worse, Duda not only misplayed the catch-able liner, but failed to keep it in front of him. Advancing Tex to third while Swisher ended up with what was somehow ruled a “double.”

With the tying run coming to the plate in the form of the left-handed hitting Raul Ilbanez, Mets manager Terry Collins opted to stay with his starter; rather than turning to the reliable lefty, Tim Byrdak.

It took just one pitch for the decision to prove costly, as Ilbanez drilled a three-run blast over the right field wall to tie the score at 3-3. Following the game, Collins spoke to reporters about his decision to stay with his starter, saying:

“I wanted Brydak to face who he faced. Especially when you didn’t have Frankie [Francisco]. You bring three pitchers in for one inning and your in trouble.”

According to Collins, Francisco injured himself pre-game:

We didn’t have Frankie tonight. Frankie injured himself pre-game doing some exercises. So, our bullpen is a little thin right now.  Right now I don’t know [the extent of the injury].  It may just be a one-night thing. But hopefully he’s ready for tomorrow.”

Photo taken by Michael Baron

Well, at least we found out why Collins opted not to go to Byrdak; in what turned out to be the biggest situation of the game. Honestly.  I’m still not OK with the decision.  I realize Girardi would have probably countered by sending Andrew Jones to the plate. But, who cares?  At the very least, force Girardi to make the move.  I know one things for sure.  If the Mets had a second lefty in the pen there is no way Young would have faced Ilbanez.

*NOTE:  Byrdak relieved Jon Rauch with one-out in the eighth and made quick work of Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira to end the frame.

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