There are two sides to every coin. On one hand, I leave Johan Santana out there for the 9th inning to work his magic. That's why he's getting the big bucks. On the flip-side, I can see why you don't want to run your "ace" out there and run up his pitch count, especially with Pedro Martinez ailing.
But, your closer is unavailable, and no one has really shone through as a viable replacement. Why not give Santana a shot? Maybe you keep him on a very short least, if he gives up a hit or two, you yank him. Easy as that. Just have the bullpen ready to go as soon as possible.
And again, on the other side of the coin, you should trust your bullpen enough to hold a three run lead with only three outs to get.
Jerry Manuel did his best Willie Randolph impression, and it only took one inning. When Manuel didn't send out Santana for the 9th, he made his first mistake. When Duaner Sanchez came in and gave up not one, not two, but three straight hits, he made his second. Again, without your closer, these players should be on a short leash in their attempt to fill his role. The first single should have been a huge warning sign, and the second one should have been enough to get him out of the game.
The Jose Reyes goof at second base on a ground ball induced from Joe Smith, can't be pinned on Manuel. That blame falls solely on Reyes.
When Manuel left Pedro Feliciano in after he gave up the tying hit, he was pulling a classic Willie. Not trusting your pitcher at all at times, and trusting others way too much. It seems like Randolph would always leave a pitcher in just a little too long, even though the common sense thing would be to pull him. It's as if he didn't want to hurt their feelings. Sometimes the pitchers just don't have it on a certain day, and unfortunately for the Mets, no one seemed to have it in the bullpen last night.
This was Manuel's first big mistake as the Mets manager. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it came against the Phillies, in a battle for first place, with the teams ace in line for a win (a dominant one at that), but things just did not go as planned.
"After seeing that, you can't help but . . . You hate not being out there," said Billy Wagner. I couldn't agree more.