Reds beat Mets on walk-off homer in ninth; Mets might go to six-man rotation

David Wright reacts after striking out against Cincinnati

David Wright reacts after striking out against Cincinnati Reds pitcher Matt Latos in the third inning. (Aug. 14, 2012) (Credit: AP)

CINCINNATI -- Terry Collins has been thinking hard about potentially using a six-man rotation, all because of the way his staff has been struggling to string together quality outings.

The Mets manager has been brainstorming with pitching coach Dan Warthen, wondering if it's the right thing to do since it's an uncommon practice. "Dan and I have burned up some pads of paper here in the last few days," he said.

Might be time for Collins to hit up the nearest stationary store for some more back-to-school supplies.

Even though Chris Young threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings in last night's 3-0 loss, the Reds rocketed four balls off the outfield walls, forcing Young to channel his inner Houdini and pitch out of a few jams. He wriggled his way through in tightrope fashion as the Reds left 11 on base in the first six innings.

Young got help from Ramon Ramirez as Drew Stubbs grounded out with the bases loaded to end the sixth. But the Mets' bullpen couldn't escape the ninth, as Manny Acosta (1-3) walked Brandon Phillips and gave up a single to Ryan Ludwick before Josh Edgin, the Mets' sixth pitcher, served up a walk-off, three-run homer to Jay Bruce.

Young's outing was a distant memory by then.

"Ultimately, I just tried to give the team a chance to win," he said. "Unfortunately, tonight we couldn't do it."

Before Young even pitched, Collins admitted he pondered whether he should move some furniture in his rotation since Young is a fly-ball pitcher and the Reds' park is home-run friendly. However, he opted against it because he thought it would complicate things too much. But should Collins eventually decide to use a six-man rotation, that's fine with Young.

"We've got some young guys, we've got some old guys," he said. "If that's what they want to do, maybe all of us will be better for it. I'll have to talk to Dan and Terry and see what the plan is."

If they do, Jeremy Hefner would be the sixth man. Collins said it all depends on how everyone fares in this week's starts, particularly Young, Johan Santana and Matt Harvey.

Santana, who was shelled on Saturday in his first start in three weeks after coming off the disabled list, threw his normal bullpen session and Collins said Tuesday that he's fine. The Mets, of course, want to be cautious with Santana, so giving him an extra day of rest might not be a bad thing.

As for Harvey, general manager Sandy Alderson hasn't told Collins of a specific number of innings that he will be capped at. Having the rookie pitcher wait five days between starts could also have its benefits.

There's also the other side of the argument: Most athletes are creatures of habit, sticking to their normal routine. Pitchers follow a regimented schedule they typically don't like deviating from. Pushing each back a day in a six-man rotation could do more harm than good.

"It's hard for me to say. I've never been in one, so I can't speak firsthand," Young said. "You would think theoretically it could be [beneficial], but with the off days we have in September it might be too much rest in between starts. So I think it's one of those things we'll have to sort of see as we go."

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