In a move stunning and disgusting for its timing and method, the Mets fired Willie Randolph after their 9-6 victory over the Angels on Monday night. Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first-base coach/catching instructor Tom Nieto were also axed.
On the one hand, the team wasn’t playing up to its potential. But on the other, it isn’t a very well-constructed team to begin with, particularly with so much of it relying on declining veterans.
I think, though, the most shocking aspect of it is that they did it after an inspiring victory, one in which the hitters came through in the clutch with runners on and tacked on runs in the later innings. With the exception of Pedro Feliciano, the bullpen performed well, with Aaron Heilman getting out of a seventh-inning jam by striking out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter; Duaner Sanchez pitching the eighth and Billy Wagner saving his second straight after three blowups. Plus, Mike Pelfrey had his fourth straight impressive start.
My concern now is that some players who have begun to put it all together — Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have been playing well of late, and then there’s Pelfrey — will regress. That momentum will be gone, that familiarity out the door.
Or maybe they wanted Willie booted. We’ll see.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say after I’ve slept on it. I don’t want to go too far now on my initial gut reactions, only hours after the announcement.