Thursday, July 24, 2008

Johnette Howard is wrong,0,3392980.column

Ok, we're not Fire Joe Morgan(nor do we write for The Office), but this is two days in a row where intense disagreement has driven me to write. Johnette slams Johan Santana for not demanding to be kept in the game after pitching 8 strong innings. At the end of 8 the Mets had a 6-2 lead over the Phillies. Billy Wagner wasn't available to pitch, but it wasn't even a Save situation. The Mets had the entire rest of the bullpen available for the purpose of recording 3 outs before the Mets scored 4 or more runs. I don't care what inning it is, a Major League Pitcher should not give up 4 runs in an inning. If you can't trust your bullpen to hold that lead then why do you have a bullpen?

If they only gave up 3 runs then nobody questions Santana's desire to win. If they left Santana in and he gives up 4 runs, Jerry Manuel gets roasted for leaving him in too long(see Little, Grady). If they leave him in for the 9th but he strains his elbow while throwing the last pitch, then Manuel gets slammed(and rightfully so) for overworking his pitcher for a game in July.

He had thrown 105 pitches after 8 innings, and whether you agree with it or not, 100 pitches is rule of thumb for pulling a pitcher. This isn't the playoffs where there's no tomorrow, there are 61 regular season games left, and Santana will probably pitch in about 12 of them. The NL East is a 3-way battle and it's not worth jeopardizing the 80 or so innings that a healthy Santana would pitch for one inning when you have a 4 run lead.

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