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Originally Published: April 27, 2010

Manuel making all the right moves

Valentine By Bobby Valentine
ESPN
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The New York Mets are on a great homestand mainly because of Jerry Manuel, their much-maligned manager. He has made some great decisions, and he's got the right attitude during a time when people thought all was lost.

[+] EnlargeJerry Manuel
AP Photo/David ZalubowskiAfter a rough start, it appears things are finally beginning to go Jerry Manuel's way.

The Mets were 3-7 before winning an epic 20-inning game against the Cardinals, and Manuel actually outmanaged Tony La Russa. It was an ugly victory, but it was a victory nonetheless. After that, key decisions -- like calling up first baseman Ike Davis -- were made collectively with general manager Omar Minaya. Initially, Davis was being preserved in the minor leagues for financial reasons. There's usually a collective frown on big-market teams when a manager decides not to bring a young kid up because the team might have to pay him too much when he becomes a free agent. So it's a good thing the front office decided to bring him up. Davis personifies the ideal first baseman: He's tall, left-handed and has pedigree; his father, Ron Davis, was a big league reliever for 11 seasons.

Manuel also exhibited poise in making the very difficult and unpopular decision to move leadoff hitter Jose Reyes to the third spot in the batting order.

And despite the loss of Ryota Igarashi -- who was pitching well until he pulled a hamstring -- Manuel has managed his bullpen perfectly. Manuel has the ability to put guys in the right spots to get the right outs and to ultimately build a confident baseball team.

The entire division is less-than-stellar, but the Mets are one of the teams that will continue to get better. They have won six of seven since Davis joined the team and three in row with Reyes batting in the 3-hole. New York now looks like one of the teams to beat in the National League East.

If Manuel continues to make the right moves, this team could go pretty far -- and hopefully he'll stay off the hot seat.

Bobby Valentine is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight."

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