OK, the Mets can move into third place with a victory this afternoon in Philadelphia. Matt Harvey’s strong performance last night, aided by a Lucas Duda homer, marked the Mets’ fourth victory in a row to give the team a pulse after a lifeless July and August.
Big deal, says Terry Collins.
Collins wants .500, which would be difficult, but not impossible being eight games under with 31 to play. It could be done.
“You know, it’s not a goal. I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Collins said about third place. “It’s not a goal. The goal is to play as good as we can for as long as we can. For me, our goal should be to try to get back to .500. That should be our goal. Wherever that puts us at the end of the year, it puts us at the end of the year.
“But, believe me, we are not playing for third place. We’re trying to win as many games as we can. … I don’t want these guys coming in here every day looking at the box score, seeing who is in fourth. That does nothing for me.”
Play as good as they can for as long as they can. At one time, the Mets were eight games over .500. Imagine where the can be had they simply played .500 the last two months. It could have been a fun summer.
The Mets have holes, but how they played in the first half is indicative how what they can do with limited talent if they just play the game the right way.
Collins knows teams will only reach the next level if they play consistently hard and are fundamentally sound. There were too many times over the past two months when the Mets mentally took off too many plays.
It’s a long season, sure. Handling the grind is what defines a playoff caliber team. Those that concentrate and don’t take plays offs are the ones who persevere over the long haul.
I know this next comment is getting off the track a bit, but the long haul is why I hate interleague play and the unbalanced schedule so much. It used to be every team ran the same course, played the same teams, and there was a purity in determining the best over 162 games.
That’s not the case these days with some teams playing easier schedules based on their interleague schedule. The purity of the schedule, plus the limited playoff field is what long separated baseball from the other sports.