It was humorous and a little sad to listen to Terry Collins’ post-game rant last night in the wake of another seventh-inning meltdown. He sounded desperate and out of control, much how his team is playing.
First, he praised the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen for his hustle and hard play and said that’s how his team should be playing, then stopped short and said effort isn’t the issue.
Well, is it or not?
He said his team played hard, but lacked execution. Passion, but poor performance … kind of like his speech.
Collins railing in front of the Mets logo wasn’t quite Patton in front of the American flag. You remember … Americans love a winner.
The problem is his Mets aren’t winners.
They are losing again and the problems are many beginning most recently and significantly with the bullpen, which imploded again. Over the last ten games the pen has given up 32 earned runs.
Last night a strong performance by Chris Capuano was wasted. Last night also featured several defensive lapses, two from Willie Harris, and the Mets’ first homer in 11 games.
Poor pitching, defense and no power won’t win you many games.
Clearly peeved, Collins ran over the same litany of issues that have burned and burdened the Mets for years. Lack of timely hitting; giving away too many at-bats; that no one player is to blame, that this is a team thing; not making the right pitch at the right time.
We’ve heard it all before, from Art Howe, from Willie Randolph, from Jerry Manuel. Maybe we haven’t heard it with that kind of zest, but the message was the same.
Collins wondered about not bunting and hitting and running more, as if that will turn things around. If you want to do those things, then do it. Or is it, you don’t have the players capable of such fundamentals?
Some today are praising Collins’ passion, saying it is good to see the manager have the same feelings as the fans. I don’t want the manager to share the fans’ feelings. I want him to have the answers.
The Mets aren’t playing the fundamentally sound game promised this spring, and that’s the combination of the players and coaches. The culture hasn’t changed.
This was supposed to be a transition year, but both Collins and GM Sandy Alderson promised the team would still play alert, aggressive, sound baseball, regardless of its personnel.
Collins sounded as if he and the front office had real expectations of this team, one they would like to dismantle in the next two months. Collins then promised changes would be made, but there is no personnel available to suggest there could be an immediate change.
Was he setting us up for the purge that is to follow?
In another breath, Collins said he believes in his players. How is that supposed to work? How can you believe in a player and then promise change?
The bottom line is his players aren’t all that good, that this might be as good as it gets for this group. The Mets always have been regarded as a team that doesn’t play to its potential, but maybe they are. And, maybe that’s what is driving Collins nuts.