On Luis Castillo and Sweating the Small Things

Mets must be greater than the sum of their parts

On Monday morning, we talked about how you couldn't just reflexively throw up your hands and blame injuries for everything that is wrong with the Mets. The Mets have to grab opportunities that present themselves and take advantage of them if they're sincere about their intention to remain relevant this season.

That goes for both players and managers. Jerry Manuel has to start managing with the team he has and not some imaginary team that exists only between his ears. For example, leading off a Reyes playing shortstop is not always the best idea. It works when Jose Reyes is available, but when it is Argenis Reyes, not so much.  

Given the rotten state of things in Denmark, Luis Castillo is one of the best offensive options that Manuel has available. He gets on base, has some speed and should be setting the table in front of David Wright and Gary Sheffield. Yet he's batting eighth and gets pulled from the game for Fernando Tatis in a double-switch during the fourth inning of a 3-0 game.

It may not have made for a different outcome when all was said and done, but Manuel has to do a better job of giving his team a chance to win games. Castillo is going to help you win more games than Argenis Reyes, and he'll probably help you win more games than Tatis. More than ever before, Manuel has to recognize which players give the Mets a fighting chance and ride them as hard as they can take. 

The Mets may have lost 10-6 on Monday night with Castillo batting first, second or eighth, and Castillo isn't going to determine whether or not the Mets make the playoffs. These kinds of decisions by Manuel, however, will loom large. They seem like small decisions, who bats where and which reliever comes in when. With a nonexistent margin for error there are no small things, however, and Manuel needs to recognize that .

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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