It’s not easy being a manager in the late innings of a close, intensely important game. Whatever move you make with the bullpen is open to immense second-guessing. Unless, of course, Mariano Rivera is on your team.
In Game 2 last Saturday night, I thought Manager Terry Collins left Noah Syndergaard in the game one batter too long. Bottom of the seventh, Mets up, 2-1, runner on first for the Dodgers with one out. And Chase Utley, an old Mets nemesis, pinch-hitting.
Utley singled to right off Syndergaard and the wheels fell off the Mets.
Fast forward to tonight, and the bottom of the eighth in Game 5. After a crackling seventh inning, in which Syndergaard, in the first relief appearance of his major league career, was throwing 100 miles an hour and retired the Dodgers with relative ease, Collins still decided to take him out of the game and ask his closer, Jeurys Familia, to give him a two-inning save.
Did Collins take Syndergaard out too early after maybe leaving him in too long last Saturday? Maybe not. Familia got through the eighth without allowing a base runner. He has three more outs to go.