The 2021 MLB season has just gotten underway and already the New York Mets are off to a rough start. While they have won a game, the team’s overall flaws have already shown. With all of the problems that have occurred, there is one consistent factor and that is poor management by Luis Rojas.
It is clear that the Mets have World Series aspirations for this current season, and before the first regular season game on Monday had started, one big problem had already emerged. Kevin Pillar, who was thought to make the roster as a bench player, was in the starting lineup on Opening Day and scheduled to bat leadoff. Just this one thing alone is a big deal, Dom Smith was not in the lineup while he was/is healthy and Pillar was batting first. Rojas said pregame that he made this decision for matchup purposes. However, Smith had a tremendous breakout 2020 year and was in the lineup no matter who was the opposing starting pitcher.
This move by Rojas went unjustified, Pillar went up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, which ended up being an inning ending double play.
There were two mistakes by Rojas here, one Pillar was put in the lineup over Smith and Smith did not pinch hit for Pillar in this situation. This ended up being a big reason why the Mets were not able to come out victorious. But it wasn’t just that, Jacob deGrom was having a great night on the mound and he was reportedly on a 100 pitch count limit, he was at just 77 pitches through six innings, while not even coming close to letting up a single run. The bullpen ended up completing blowing up a two run lead in the 8th inning and that was the deciding factor. In just the first game, there were multiple horrible decisions made by Luis Rojas.
The second and third games were not much better. Jeff McNeil is being placed towards the bottom of the lineup which makes absolutely no sense. In order to get out of the slump he is currently in he has to be able to get more at bats and be ahead of one of the power hitters in the middle of the lineup. In yesterday’s game he was benched for Jonathan Villar, who is another bench piece who was thought to only get playing time if someone went down with an injury. Today, Villar is being placed higher in the lineup than McNeil. This is another really bad decision by Luis Rojas and it is not helping McNeil, who is a ginormous part of the Mets team.
There have also been some poor bullpen choices made by Rojas. Miguel Castro and Trevor May have been used on back to back days while other guys like Dellin Betances and Robert Gsellman have not been seeing the field much. This was a big problem last year as well, Edwin Diaz sometimes would come in a couple days in a row, then he wouldn’t be on the mound for days after.
Yes, the season has just started and there are so many more games left to play, but there needs to be better decisions made by Luis Rojas in order for the team to reach their full potential.
Image: CBS Sports