Randolph's strategy works for now 

October, 4, 2006
When I saw the Mets' playoff roster, I thought Willie Randolph was nuts. Part of me still does. But carrying eight relievers appears to be part of a strategy to use his whole staff to win games, rather than rely on unreliable starters to go six or seven innings and get the ball to Aaron Heilman/Billy Wagner. It may not work tomorrow, but it worked tonight.

As soon as John Maine got into trouble, Randolph went directly to the pen, playing matchup baseball to end the Dodgers' threat in the fifth, using Guillermo Mota for two innings (more on that in a moment), then finishing with the Heilman-Wagner combo. The Mets' five best relievers appeared in the game.

Where the eight-man bullpen hurts the Mets is on their bench, where they have just five hitters available, one of whom is the backup catcher and thus isn't someone Randolph will use as a top pinch-hitting option. In the sixth, with men on first and third and one out, the Mets had a chance to blow the game open. The Dodgers brought lefty Mark Hendrickson in to face Shawn Green, and while Hendrickson isn't a real lefty-killer, Green doesn't hit lefties at all (.248/.323/.420 over the last four seasons). Randolph didn't pinch-hit, because his limited bench doesn't include a decent right-handed hitter. Green struck out, the Mets didn't score again in the inning, and the Dodgers rallied to tie it in the seventh.