The heat that has been heaped on Willie Randolph has been unmerciful at times this season. No matter what happens, Randolph gets the blame. When Oliver Perez implodes, it’s Willie’s fault. If Reyes is in a slump, it’s Willie’s fault. Oh–we can dump Carlos Delgado’s slow start on Willie’s door step, too.
You have to have a thick skin to survive on the big stage in New York City. But it might take more than a tough exterior for Randolph to keep his job. With Mets fans becoming more hostile by the day and ownership’s apparent lukewarm support of Randolph, a managerial change could happen before the all-star break. The Mets topped the Nationals, 6-3, on Tuesday for their 20th win of the season. Ryan Church hit his eighth home run of the season and John Maine gave up one earned run over six innings for his fifth win of the season. As uplifting as the win was, Monday’s 10-4 loss to Washington epitomized the Mets woes this season; lack of depth in the rotation, shaky middle relief and the inability to shut down the bottom of a batting order. The loss was particularly disturbing as Washington’s seventh, eighth and ninth place hitters went a combined 4-for-8 with five RBIs and five runs. Nelson Figueroa, who was recently designated for assignment, was disappointing, as was relief pitcher Jorge Sosa, who gave up five runs.
“As a staff we’ve done a poor job getting through the seventh, eighth and ninth hitters. It so important to put those guys away,” Randolph said. “A lot of times it’s been with two outs. A lot of times it’s been when you have to make one pitch.” Granted, the Mets have a young staff with Perez (26), Maine (27) and Mike Pelfrey (24), but it’s time the young guns learn how to finish off games. Maine has been solid, but he’s only gone into the seventh inning twice in eight starts. Pelfrey has gone past six innings once, while Perez has yet to get into the seventh. “You have to do a better job of navigating through those waters,” Randolph continued. “And a lot of times it’s right before the fifth. “We have to do a better job of focusing on finishing up that part of the game.” Hopefully the staff heeds Randolph’s words, because his job might depend on it.”