Trouble Brewing in Queens? Is Luis Rojas the Man for the Job?

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I know it’s easy to get carried away after one game. This might be premature. But Luis Rojas needs to figure out this managing thing soon or the Mets need to cut bait ASAP. This team is way too talented to give games away due to a manager screwing up every single decision. Rojas had three extra days to prepare for that matchup against the Phillies, and they lost that game the minute he submitted his lineup card.

Kevin Pillar?

You have a team with Jeff McNeil (.300 hitter and All Star) and Brandon Nimmo (great OBP guy, great eye). But you chose to hit Kevin Pillar (career .262hitter, sub .300 obp) leadoff? Why on Earth is the worst hitter on your entire roster leading off and getting the most at bats? Pillar screwed up numerous scoring opportunities in the first four innings alone. While Nimmo is hitting eighth just to walk for deGrom to hit behind him. If Pillar is in the lineup, he has to be put at the bottom, anything other than that is unacceptable. Nimmo needs to lead off so that Lindor can come up with a runner on more often. It took Pillar 5 at bats and 9 innings to reach base, that’s not going to cut it for a leadoff guy. 

Short leash for deGrom?

Rojas, said he was going to be careful with deGrom (100 pitch count), due to shorter rest before his next start. Well, he didn’t even give him 80 pitches and pulled the best pitcher in baseball at 77 pitches. What is that decision? You know your bullpen isn’t a strength. Hitting 100 on his last pitch, he was not tired and could have gone deeper into the game. He was dominating throwing a three-hit shutout through six innings. He only needed 9 pitches to get through the sixth inning as well, proving he still had plenty left in the tank.

Pulling deGrom gave the Phillies confidence, they weren’t touching the goat. The second he got pulled, the Phillies regained a pulse after being lifeless for six innings. While they had a few base runners, deGrom was on, and dominating like he always does. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball, without a doubt, let him work. 

No Dom?

On top of not starting last year’s MVP candidate Dom Smith, which is sort of acceptable against a lefty, there is zero reason he did not pinch hit for Pillar with the bases loaded in the fourth. You have Almora on the roster for a reason (defense?), or you could have slid Nimmo back to center. The Phillies also brought in a right hander. Why is Smith not even given a chance? Does Rojas not like him?

With an opportunity to blow the game open Luis Rojas decided to play it safe and Pillar ended the inning and the rally with a killer double play, causing Lindor to not get an opportunity with the bases juiced. Later in the game, Jonathan Villar was called on to pinch hit, while Dom Smith, who is completely healthy, just sits on the bench. What is the thought process? Is there actually one? Doesn’t seem like it. 

He needs to improve

This division is way too competitive to just hand games over to your rivals. This team is built for this year, with potentially Syndergaard, Stroman, and Conforto all hitting free agency. The time is now. Mickey Callaway made so many bad choices as the Mets manger (and as a person but that’s for a different story), but I don’t think even he ever had a game like Rojas last night. Joe Girardi was talking postgame about some of his bad decisions that helped the Phillies out. Even Bryce Harper mentioned how shocked they were that deGrom was pulled that early. The Wilpons are no longer in charge, mediocrity is a thing of the past and won’t be tolerated. If Luis Rojas can’t make the right decisions at this level, then he needs to be relieved of his duties before it is too late. 

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Episode 55