- Fans are frustrated with the way the New York Mets have played this season and how manager Mickey Callaway has handled game situations.
- They have a 29-32 record and are 5 1/2 games out of first place in the division.
- The front office has said Callaway’s job is safe despite growing suspicions.
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Frustrations with the New York Mets season have continued to grow after each loss. While they haven’t reached the disaster phase yet, it may be quickly approaching.
Manager Mickey Callaway is under fire as a result of his decisions, and lack thereof. The Mets stand 5.5 games out of first place in the division with a 29-32 record, but it’s the losses that could have gone the other way that have brought criticism.
It’s been two seasons of ups and downs for the Mets, and it all stems back to the team’s decision to hire Callaway as a first-time manager in October 2017. There have been stretches where the team has a spark, like its four-game sweep of the Washington Nationals in late May or when it opened the 2018 season 12-2, but it’s mostly been a rollercoaster overshadowed by downhill spirals.
The Mets have been streaky, and because of that, it’s hard to instill any confidence in Callaway as a manager after 220+ games with him at the head. The hope was for Callaway to succeed in moments of crucial pitching decisions with his prior experience as a pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians, but it’s been quite the opposite so far.
The blunders that have plagued the Mets this season, aside from an underperforming team and mediocre management from the top, have revolved around a poor utilization of the bullpen and starting pitchers.
Take Tuesday night’s decision to pull Noah Syndergaard in the seventh inning. Syndergaard hasn’t had a spectacular season so far with a 4.83 ERA, but despite a three-run hiccup in the fourth, he had retired 10 of the last 12 batters.
Before he could have a chance to finish out the seventh, Callaway was headed to the mound to replace him. Syndergaard was visibly upset with the decision, but the manager had already cemented it on the lineup card with a double switch.
Seth Lugo entered the game and gave up a single and RBI double to tie things at three, leading to a Mets loss in the 10th after a six-run bullpen collapse.
It was a decision Callaway admitted postgame he wishes he could have back. That accountability, unusual for most managers, is something that earns the respect of his players and Callaway has stressed since taking the role. It’s admirable, but it doesn’t change the result.
Three days prior, when Callaway pulled Jacob deGrom due to a cramp at the same point with a 4-1 lead and runners on second and third, he expressed similar frustrations, insisting it wasn’t a problem. The bullpen gave up five runs in the proceeding innings for another loss.
Unnecessary decisions haven’t been the only issue with Callaway’s managing. It’s also a lack of one when it is needed, which is what happened when Callaway left closer Edwin Diaz in against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Diaz gave up back to back homers and a hard double to follow in a game the Mets were up, 8-4, entering the ninth. Instead of pulling him, Diaz was left in and quickly squandered the lead, allowing the Dodgers to walk away with the 9-8 victory.
These decisions have been the bane of Callaway’s managerial career, and they may cause him to get the boot. After his meeting with Jeff Wilpon and Brodie Van Wagenen earlier in the season, the front office continues to claim his job is safe, but if things keep trending negative, it’s hard to believe they stick with him.
“It’s on our whole organization,” Callaway said after a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins on May 19. “We’ve failed so far to this point, and we have to be better.”