There have been more than a few Mets games this season that have ended with Francisco Rodriguez on the mound and Mets fans lamenting how that impacts the likelihood that he'll hit the vesting option paying him $17.5 million for the 2012 season.
It's funny then that a lot of those same fans were probably tearing their hair out on Wednesday night as Dale Thayer took the mound to start the bottom of the ninth of a tie game in Milwaukee.
Normally you'd be sympathetic to anyone who thinks that it makes sense to use your best relief pitcher in high-leverage situations -- a group that includes everyone but major league managers -- but you can't have things both ways.
Thayer's night turned out pretty much how you'd guess it would turn out. Craig Counsell singled, stole second and then scored on Nyjer Morgan's single to right for a 7-6 Brewers win in a game that the Mets led 6-2 entering the eighth inning.
It was in that inning that Terry Collins made an even bigger blunder than choosing Thayer over K-Rod in the ninth inning. Ryan Braun had just doubled in two runs to cut the Mets lead in half and Prince Fielder was striding to the plate with the game on the line.
Collins took out Pedro Beato in favor of Jason Isringhausen and chose to have Izzy pitch to Fielder because he's had good success against him in the past. Most of us would have been more concerned about the recent past which featured three Fielder home runs in the last three days, including a monster shot off of Mike Pelfrey (who passed on walking him with a 3-0 count) earlier in the evening.
Once again, things played out exactly like you thought they would. Fielder crushed an Isringhausen offering, Bernie Brewer took a slide and the Mets had blown their lead.
Blowing four-run leads usually feels like the sky is falling without warning, but Wednesday night didn't feel that way at all. Teams don't win very often when they go out of their way to let the best player on the other team beat them so you can't be too surprised about the way things turned out.
Frustrated and angry about the decisions that got them to the loss? Sure, but this one was as telegraphed as anything Samuel Morse ever did.