Terry Collins called last night’s win “No doubt the biggest win they’ve had this year.” It’d be hard to disagree, and they extend their winning streak to six games after they got shut down early by Gorzelanny. He talked about turning the anger the team has about the last couple of years on the opponent and using it to their advantage. One things for sure; this team is an extremely likable team that plays with energy and is fun to watch.
Winning games when you struggle to hit early and have to overcome bad calls and comeback in the 8th and the 9th can be huge morale boosters. I know all teams have huge comeback wins and look great and energetic doing it. All teams look better when they’re winning. For _this_ team, the comeback and practicing winning, as uncrowned captain David Wright would put it, may be a bigger deal. We watched the Met struggle early this season, and press and try too hard and make mistakes. Terry Collins tried to keep them upbeat, but nothing does that better than winning. Games like this reinforce the attitude on the team that they are winners, and that no obstacle is too large to overcome. It’ a complete 180 from where they were earlier in the season. The baseball season is a long one, and there is a huge mental preparation aspect to it. When teams believe they can pull out a win, when they don’t doubt themselves, it can be a huge weapon to get through a season. The other side: When a pitcher is out there, maybe a closer that hasn’t handled the role well, (Why, hello there Ryan Madson) knowing that the other team is sure they’re going to beat you, it can eat at you. The Phillies of recent years may be an example of this. You heard from everyone, including opposing players, that the Phillies are never out of a game. It creates a mental edge. It may not be a large one, or one that’s measurable, but it does exist.
I don’t know if a “winning attitude” or some sort of mental edge is enough. I don’t know if the Mets are talented enough, or will stay healthy enough, to win a division. I believe they can, but me believing it, or even the players believing it, doesn’t mean it will happen. For now, it doesn’t matter. They’re a fun bunch that believe they can win any game, and I’m going to have fun watching until the end believing they can pull it out. I’m not worrying about how many wins they have to have if they’re going to compete, or what their record needs to be against this opponent or that. Play the game, try to win the game, and I’ll sit on my couch and root for you. It’ll be a nice change from having to root against teams the last couple of years.
Tags: captain david wright, David Wright, extend reyes, gritty wins, mental edge, Mets, mets grit, mets manager, mets win, mets winning games, mets winning streak, never out of it, New York Mets, practice winning, terry collins, tom gorzelanny, winning, winning attitude
In what still feels like a dream, the Mets continue to invite some of us bloggers to chat with Mets VIPs. Tonight we had a conference call with Terry Collins. My impressions of him are positive, he seems very high energy and seems to be making a concerted effort to learn from previous mistakes and accept that he doesn’t know everything. He still strikes me as a fairly traditional manager in terms of the Xs and Os, but it’s still rare for a baseball team to stray far from that in a managerial hire.
I asked him about keeping players fresh and managing playing time, specifically as it related to Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran. (And David Wright, but he didn’t answer that and we know Wright will be fine anyway)
He mentioned Beltran will probably play five of seven games starting out, and hopefully will strengthen his knees and when it gets warmer hopefully play more. With Reyes, he acknowledged that Reyes is a guy that gives you everything he’s got and it’s important to get him rest when he needs it, and to possibly double it up by resting him going into or coming out of an off day. Here’s his response as transcribed by Michael Baron of Metsblog.
“Carlos and I have already discussed the upcoming ten day period, and resting that leg, so he can continue on a positive note and his legs can get stronger and stronger for the hot months. Even if he’s on the bench, he can come up and make a big difference. We hope to have him in five out of seven games to start off. Regarding Reyes, he goes out there, gives all he has, and I want him out there a lot so I have to be wise enough to maybe give him days off before an off-day. One thing we have to do, because we aren’t very deep, is to make sure we are ready to compete later in the summer.”
Michael Baron at Metsblog transcribed this quickly and efficiently.
Greg at Faith and Fear in Flushing finds Terry Collins’ enthusiasm infectious, even on the phone.
Eric Simon at Amazin’ Avenue asks Terry about Kerfuffle.
Kerel Cooper at On The Black with a recap and better list of links than this.
It seems most of us do. Sandy is a smart guy, and he’s a lot closer to the process than we are. I understand that second guessing the team is almost as much fun as actually watching them play, but it’s time to take a little step back and trust in our newly hired general manager and his front office.
The idea is that just because we think something is obvious, that a decision HAS TO happen, doesn’t mean it does. We are not the general managers of this team, we are fans. As fans, the number one thing we want to see is the Mets to play winning baseball on the way to the World Series. We do not know how to achieve this, and we certainly don’t have a better idea of it than Sandy Alderson.
It’s time to stop demanding that Oliver Perez has to go. We do not know better than Alderson on whether or not Luis Castillo can contribute to the 2011 Mets. We don’t know that Backman/Valentine/Mazilli/Stengel is the absolute perfect fit to manage this team. We don’t know how attainable certain free agents are, how much we can afford to give them, or what the best fit for the team is.
I’m not saying we can’t talk about it. It can be fun to debate free agents acquisitions, it’s an interesting exercise to write up mock 2011 batting orders. Digging into advanced statistics to look for bargain pitchers can be a great learning experience about the game. It makes sense to doubt that Oliver Perez will get his fastball back up or be a contributing pitcher.
Last year nearly every free agent signing or trade was met with comments from Mets fans along the lines of “Why didn’t we at least offer X?”, “That guy would’ve been perfect at Citi Field!”, “Henry Blanco? Well gee, the World Series is a lock now!” Many of these comments were unfair last year, and the same holds true today. Sandy has a plan, and we’re going to have to trust in him to execute it. Trust in him not to put losing players on the field, and to start building a roster that can compete year after year.
Tags: Baseball, general manager, Mets, mets gm, mets manager, mets manager search, New York Mets, Oliver Perez, one million gms, release castillo, release ollie, sandy alderson, second guessing, trust sandy, wally backman, winning, winning baseball
I’ve suspected Manuel was the wrong guy for the job since the day he was hired. I kept hoping I was wrong, but he keeps proving me right.
You can’t excuse the mistakes the players make, but it’s on the manager to teach his team and form a winning combination. Jerry Manuel often does the opposite.
Manuel said earlier when this insane streak of bad plays and errors started, that he’d give the team more infield practice/fundamental drills when they got back home after this road trip. As if these 10 games or so weren’t really a big deal, whatever, we’ll worry about it later. That’s the wrong attitude to take. He’s also said that he doesn’t really care about the standings in May, and while it’s true you don’t need to scoreboard watch, you still have to try to win every game.
Manuel sets up guys to fail. One example is bringing in Pagan with almost no AB this year off the bench to pinch hit for Daniel Murphy, who was supposed to be the ‘starting leftfielder’ and actually hits left handed pitching well. Or keeping Feliciano in to face Brian Mccann because you’re scared if you bring in Stokes, he’ll have to face Garret Anderson.
Manuel manages scared, which is fine if you’re playing with a crappy team, but this is arguably one of the best teams in the game. You don’t need to sacrifice bunt with Castillo, who was hitting over .300 most of the year, in the first inning. Or in the 8th for that matter, as you don’t play to tie on the road by the book. Castillo messed up the bunt, but they got the run in anyway to tie it. What if Castillo swings the bat and manages to get a hit? Maybe you win the game right there. Also, Manuel intentionally walks guys way too much. I’m okay with it in situations. I don’t care that much about walking the 8th place hitter with Redding to get the pitcher, even if Redding was throwing well. I’m not okay doing it with Santana, one of the best in the game. Against the Marlins a couple of weeks ago, Manuel called for Santana to intentionally walk Alfredo Amezega hitting eighth, twice in the same game. Santana can get anyone out, and allowing him to start with the pitcher the next inning would just make him even more successful. Amezega had never faced Santana to that point.
Manuel gets too match-up happy. Pulling Murphy to put in Pagan (cold) because he can bat righty. He pinch hits for other regulars in this manner too, late in games. Usually Sheffield for Reed or Murphy if he starts. Trust guys to get hits against all types of pitching, as Murphy tends to do when you actually play him.
Last night Church came into the game cold. This doesn’t excuse him, but Church is a starter, he’s a guy that’s used to getting ready to play, and then playing. He’s not used to coming off the bench, which is something people say is hard to prepare for. Church didn’t look prepared. Running the bases, fielding the ball, or running the bases. Manuel isn’t utilizing Church in the way that gets the most out of him. Jeremy Reed is more used to coming off the bench, but to play outfield. He basically said after the game that “He hasn’t practiced that play.”, not as an excuse, but just as a fact. He hasn’t played 1B, and all of a sudden he’s thrust there late in the game out of nowhere, when his baseball instincts are all OF related. Watch that play again. (if you can bare it) Doesn’t he look like he’s an OF getting ready to make a long throw to the plate to catch a runner? He’s used to being about 200 feet further away. This goes back to Manuel setting up guys to fail. 1B has become an issue, one that we knew about at least a couple of days ago when Delgado went on the DL, and something Manuel should’ve been preparing for as a worst case scenario. We don’t have a guy that can play first base on this team, so the best thing to do is pick a guy that’s going to play there, and let him get the playing time so he can learn and get comfortable. Whether that’s Tatis or Murphy or Reed is a personal choice, but be consistent, and let them learn the position.
These games are important. If you’re serious about winning, it’s time to put Reyes on the field even if he’s not 100%. Maybe you tell him not to steal bases while he’s aching. He’s still better than Ramon Martinez, and we still need his bat in the lineup. Stop listening to the Dodger doctors. If I’m Reyes, I come to the park today claiming to feel fine. If I have to put ice on it to hide swelling before hand, then I do that. Obviously don’t do something that’s going to hurt it more, but we need him.
I’d also start Murphy and Church in the outfield. I feel like they need to play everyday, and they give us the best chance to win. Given how Wright and Beltran are playing, that’s more than enough ‘presence’ for whatever that is worth. It feels like Jerry Manuel has another agenda than winning, at least with certain players.
Tags: Angel Pagan, bad loss, baserunning blunders, coaching change, daniel murphy, fire jerry manuel, fire manuel, fundamentals, horrible game, jeremy reed, jerry manuel, Jose Reyes, Mets, mets manager, mistakes, ramon martinez, Ryan Church