If Terry Collins was embarrassed after his team’s performance Thursday, he should be even more after his comments after last night’s game, won 7-3 by the Mets over the even more inept Miami Marlins.
The Mets broke a nine-game home losing streak last night and a stretch on failing to score more than three runs in 16 straight games. In a word, they have been dreadful. Last night was just their fifth at home since the All-Star break.
Collins should have offered a sigh of relief, but said: “It felt like a playoff game — win. We got some big hits early, played hard, ran the bases hard.”
Hopefully, he was joking, but normally has a poker face. He even kept his composure Thursday, although you could tell be his tone he was angry when he implied the Mets had quit.
“There’s no explanation for what’s happened. None,” Collins said. “No excuses. We know this is what they can do.”
Then why don’t they do it all the time? Teams go into slumps and mental funks all the time, but there’s never a reason not to play hard. They didn’t all the time last night, either. When the Marlins misplayed Lucas Duda’s pop-up in short left field he jogged out of the box and stopped at first. Duda isn’t a sure thing and can’t afford not to hustle.
After Thursday, Collins said there were things he didn’t like, and presumably not hustling is one of them. Evidently, Duda didn’t get the message. Here’s hoping Collins ripped him privately last night. Maybe he should bench him for a couple of games.
I liked Collins getting on his team Thursday and wonder why he didn’t earlier. Last night he retracted his comments. Big mistake. He should stay angry and go to the whip the rest of the season. The message: If you don’t play hard, you don’t play.
Did the retraction spur last night’s breakout?
“I don’t think so. I really don’t,” Collins said. “Probably more today me going to them and making sure that they know I support them, that I respect them in every way. I’ve told you guys all year: They’re a tremendous bunch of guys. It’s a great clubhouse. They just came out today and played like they know they can. Maybe the fact that they got more support than the negative side that they got last night was probably a better way to go about it.”
I don’t think so. There’s a time for positive reinforcement and a time to come down hard, and right now it is the latter. Collins said playing hard is about perception, and the same goes for his comments. When he retracted his comments the perception is he didn’t mean them. His players can’t believe that to be true.
This afternoon they’ll try to make it two straight at home, and will send R.A. Dickey to the mound in search of his 19th victory. Dickey will get two more starts after today.