I know it is unorthodox, but I think Terry Collins should have brought Jose Valverde into Friday night’s game with the bases loaded in the 11th inning.
To recap for those who went to sleep before the game ended at 2 am New York time — Jeurys Familia was in his third inning of work when the Angels got a runner on third with one out. Collins ordered the next two batters intentionally walked to set up a force at any base.
It was sound strategy, but it also put an enormous amount of pressure on the clearly tiring Familia to make perfect pitches. Instead, he hit Hank Conger to force in a run and end the game.
There were two pitchers left sitting in the bullpen ready to go — John Lannan and Valverde. It is obvious why Collins did not trust Lannan and his 36.00 ERA in that situation; if he trusted him at all, Lannan would have been called upon to start the inning instead of keeping Mejia in the game.
So why not go to Valverde? I know he is the closer and is only supposed to come in to save games, but if there was ever a situation in which a game needed saving, this was it. Who cares that the Mets were not ahead?
The Mets could have used Valverde and if he got out of it, he probably could have gone another inning. If the Mets could not score, then Lannan could have lost the game for them in the 13th or beyond. But at least they would have escaped that 11th inning situation that every Mets fan knew was doomed once Familia threw that wild pitch to move the runner to second.
Managers are so programmed to only use closers to finish games that they cannot think outside the box and use them when the game is truly on the line. Instead, the Mets lost Friday night while their best reliever sat by and watched.