McDonald: Cespedes Gets Robbed So Hakuna Matata

On the face of it, this could be considered a soul crushing loss, a time where everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Mets.

The backend of the bullpen imploded and gave up the lead. Manager Terry Collins is showing everyone that more is not better, trying to fit in a 39 man roster into every game. And the usually sure handed James Loney makes a key error in the eighth inning.

Even with all of that going against New York, it looked like Mets had this one won when their Lion King of an outfielder, Yoenis Cespedes, cracked what seemed to be a game-winning 3-run homer, only to be brought back in by Ender Inciarte.

So after this hurtful 4-3 loss to the Braves, which completed a sweep by the second worst club in baseball, we can only offer these words from No. 52’s favorite movie:

Hakuna Matata.

The Mets have to not worry about this game. They need to put it behind them. All season, the Braves tormented the Mets, as if they still employed Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones. So of course, they come in to Citi Field and sweep three. Of course, they made the Mets lives miserable. Did you expect anything different?

“We got to keep winning,” Collins said. “We are in the Wild Card hunt. (Bartolo) Colon pitched a great game. We couldn’t put it over the top, so tomorrow we need to come out and play again.”

Tomorrow is against the Phillies, whom the Mets seem to have some more success with this season. Unlike the Braves, the Amazin’s matchup better with their friends from 90 miles down the New Jersey Turnpike and hopefully they will shrug off this series and turn the page.

However, much like the Lion King himself, Collins and the Mets may need to get hit over the head with a stick by a creepy monkey to knock some sense into them. The manager is trying to overuse his expanded roster because he can. He is making counter moves out there to have righties face lefties and visa-versa. Sometimes it’s better to manage like you just have 25 men on the roster and not try to get everyone to play.

This isn’t little league and there are no mandates on who plays and who doesn’t.

Last season, Collins managed more conventionally, using limited players from his bench and bullpen in September. This year, though, he’s in the middle of a race rather than maintaining a comfortable lead throughout the last month of the season.

And remember last season was the first time Collins got to the playoffs and because it was a blowout, he never had to manage a pennant race. It’s different when the grind is in and out every day and every wrong move is magnified.

In all fairness, though, he does have his team prepared every day and the players want to play for him. That’s half the battle. But his in-game strategies are sometimes left to be desired.

You also have to wonder if the real off-season loss was bench coach Bob Geren, who seemed to have a good handle on things.

Is Dick Scott just as effective? You have to wonder.

But again, it’s not all bad news. With the Cardinals losing in Colorado today and Dodgers putting a five-spot up in the first inning against the Giants, the worst the Mets will wake up to is a tie for the second Wild Card or it’s more likely it will be status quo for the three teams.

So yeah, Hakuna Matata. But in this case, it’s just turning the page. There will be no worries if they come back and win, say, three of four against the Phillies and then take two of three in Miami and Philadelphia.

However, they need to get back off this snide. This is the team they have and the coaches they have. They can’t whine about making changes.

They just need to win.

Or the circle of baseball life will end next Sunday.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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