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Why didn't Terry Collins Go With Hard-Throwing Lefty John McEnroe in the 8th Inning?

Johnny Mac was throwing heat last night. Why didn't Collins use him in a tight spot in the eighth?

by Joseph Flynn
Aug 2 2016, 4:23pm

The New York Mets suffered quite an embarrassing loss Monday night, blowing a late two-run lead against their crosstown rivals before falling in extra innings, 6-5. Worse yet, they couldn't hold the lead against a weak-hitting Yankees team that had just traded away its best hitter, Carlos Beltran.

The brunt of the blame for the loss fell on setup man Addison Reed, who allowed a two-out, two-run single to shortstop Didi Gregorius in the eighth, but managers are always second-guessed in these types of games. Reed is a righty, while Gregorius is a lefty. Why didn't manager Terry Collins bring in a left-handed pitcher to face the Yankees' top hitter? To quote legendary coach Monty Burns: "It's called 'playing the percentages.' It's what smart managers do to win ballgames."

Did the Mets have a same-side reliever capable of neutralizing Gregorius? As it turns out, we caught a glimpse of a hard-throwing lefty warming up for the Mets just before the game. Why didn't Collins trust this hometown kid, John McEnroe, in a tight spot? Let's dive into the data.

Career performance: Addison Reed has appeared in 305 games, all in relief. His career ERA is 3.67. John McEnroe won seven Grand Slam singles titles.

Recent performance: Prior to Monday, Reed had a sterling 1.81 ERA in 51 appearances, while McEnroe has spent much of his time making guest appearances in shitty Adam Sandler movies.

Gregorius's platoon splits: Gregorius came into the 2016 season with a pronounced platoon split, though that split has actually been reversed this season: .274/.299/.451 against righties, .337/.378/.435 against lefties. For his career, he is hitting .268/.321/.414 against righties and .242/.304/.309 against lefties. Should you go for the larger sample size or you pay attention to Gregorius's more recent efforts?

Batter/pitcher history: Gregorius had never faced Reed prior to Monday. He has never faced McEnroe on a baseball field. No word yet on whether or not the two have ever played tennis together.

In the end, the numbers seem to support Collins' decision. Gregorius has had no problems with lefties this year, Reed has been trustworthy all season, and McEnroe is a 57-year-old former tennis player. Sometimes a manager just has to trust his gut, and live with the consequences.

[ESPN]