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.”
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.
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