The First True Casualties of the Season
I was at today’s game on Memorial Day against the Pirates. It was a good game until Jacob deGrom was pulled. He pitched well, if around the strike zone for the first few innings. His two hits and a run scored, were half the offense the Mets put up until a solo home run by Lucas Duda. Meanwhile, the Pirates opened it up against Jose Valverde and won 5-3.
After the game, Jose Valverde was released and hitting coach Dave Hudgens was fired. Valverde has been terrible since his second outing with the team. It sucks that they had to even think about employing him and Kyle Farnsworth to start the season. But Vic Black and Josh Edgin were so terrible in Spring Training, the front office had no choice. I guess we’ll see Black no matter what now, though I’m not sure he’s been pitching very well in Vegas.
Hudgens has the right approach to hitting. But if the team isn’t responding to it, then this is how general managers send a message to them. You fire the hitting coach. It’s a time tested tradition in baseball. And the message is, “you’re all on thin ice.” I don’t think bringing up minor league hitting coach Lamar Johnson is going to do anything. But stranger things have happened.
What I’m not looking forward to will be the chorus of articles asking for Terry’s head on a platter. Wally Backman, while being my favorite player as a child, makes no better managerial decisions, especially with the bullpen. Sandy Alderson’s contract is up at the end of the season anyway. It might not matter who takes the helm if Alderson is out next year.