Archive for the ‘Terry Collins’ Category

Winning Against Division Leaders Is An Illusion

August 23, 2011

We all remember that sweet little story about the Little Engine That Could.  You know the one.  The cute, sweet, little engine that tried like the Dickens to get over that big, big hill.

Bah humbug.

Life is not like the little kiddy books we read before bedtime.  It’s cold and cruel at times.  Many wanted to believe the Mets were that little engine (myself included).  It didn’t matter what reality was. We believed that if the Mets fought hard enough they would have a chance.

Unfortunately friends, the real world is settling in.  It doesn’t matter how hard the Mets try, they are simply not talented enough to beat teams like the Brewers and the Phillies.  It hurts to write that, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Be realistic.  Before the season started it was going to be a tough road to hoe.  Now look at the bumps along the way.  No Johan, David Wright missed 50 plus games, Jose Reyes has been on the DL twice, Ike Davis played a whopping 36 games….you get the point.

Avoiding sweeps is the reality.  Winning against division leaders is an illusion.

The point is, I hope Terry Collins and my fellow Mets fans put this stretch into perspective.  The Amazin’s are playing superior teams (talent wise) while they are short-handed.

Put it this way.  How well do you think the Phillies would perform if they lost Roy Halladay for the season, Ryan Howard only played 36 games, Shane Victorino was on the DL sporadically throughout the year, and Chase Utley spent 50 plus games on the DL.  Trade away Ryan Madson too while you are at it.  Would they make the playoffs?  They certainly wouldn’t be running away with the division title, that’s for sure.

Don’t mistake this for an excuse for the players to mail it in.  They are professionals and need to handle their business accordingly.  I’m just not ready to bitch and moan about how horrible this current streak is.  To use a phrase that is quickly becoming cliche, it is what it is.

Isringhausen, Duda, and Getting Dumped In High School

August 16, 2011

Belated Congrats Izzy

I have a confession to make.  It’s 9:05pm (eastern standard time for our west coast Midwestropolitans out there), and I just finished watching portions of last night’s game.

Does this make me less of a fan?

Nah.

The combination of this west coast swing and it being one of the busiest times of the year for my job, has taken away from the number of innings I have been able to watch.  Suffice it to say this means the in-depth, play by-play, recaps you have come so custom to receiving from me will be on a short hiatus until the Mets return to this side of the Mississippi.

I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.

For now, I’ll drop a few quick hits your way.

Quick Hits Volume 1
  • It was pretty cool to see Izzy close out his 300th save.  I’m also a fan of Terry Collins giving him the opportunity to do so.  It was the right thing to do in my humble opinion.  Now it’s time to see what Bobby Parnell and Pedro Beato can do in that role.
  • Did anyone else notice how cowlike Izzy and Lucas Duda were during the post game hand shakes in terms of chewing their gum?  I mean easy fellas.  You do realize you play for the Mets and are aware of their injury history the last few years right?  I would hate to see either of you find yourselves on the DL due to a freak case of lock-jaw.
  • I am trying to stop myself from getting my hopes up that Lucas Duda will become a stud for the 2012 Mets.  Not because I am one of “those guys” that thrives on misery or that I don’t want him to.  It’s more of a defense mechanism.  Similar to when you prepare yourself for inevitably getting dumped by the current girl you were dating in high school.

What’s Up With Gee Lately?

August 13, 2011

Stubborn S.O.B.

I have a pretty simple philosophy when it comes to starting pitching.  Give me at least six innings, hold the opposing team to three runs or less, and don’t walk anyone.  I.E.,  give me a quality start.  Anything beyond that is gravy and I’ll be as giddy as a goose.

During the course of the season, I feel it is fair to say Dillon Gee has been my favorite Mets’ starter.  I don’t have a clear reason why.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been hoping he would get a shot in the rotation for a while.  Once he did, he took advantage.

Things haven’t been so peachy for my boy recently.  He hasn’t exactly met the criteria I provided above.

For you stat geeks out there, he has averaged 5.40 innings, 3.67 earned runs, and 2.67 walks over the course of his last three starts.  That’s a 1.42 W.H.I.P for my fellow über dorks.

So what’s wrong?

Permit me to read between the lines a bit here.  Terry Collins seems to think Dillon is being a stubborn S.O.B.,

“It goes to show what’s happening right now with Dillon.  He gets frustrated with something and, if he doesn’t make a good pitch, he gets away from things. He’s got to stick to what’s made him successful.”- Terry Collins

My assumption is this comment is based on the fact that after Justin Upton took Gee yard in the 1st inning, he didn’t throw another curveball for another 39 pitches.

Seems like a logical explanation for Gee’s struggles lately.  It doesn’t appear as if he’s hurting at this point.

So knock it off Dillon.  Don’t be so bull-headed already….sheesh.

If only it were that easy…

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The First Step Is Admitting You Have A Problem

July 31, 2011

“But I’ve got to run with my head up.  I can’t get doubled off right there. I was going. With one out I thought we were going to try to send him. I figured either he cuts it and we get the run, or he lets it through and Jose and I both end up in scoring position. I got too far off the bag. Niese stopped, which probably wasn’t a bad play, because it looked like a good throw. I got doubled off. And that wasn’t a very good play.” -Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy has a problem.  And that problem is over aggressive base running.

We’ve talked about a time or two here at midwestropolitan.com.  The good news is that he is aware of the problem (based on the comment above).  Over time we can hope that he will work to fix this issue and it will be a thing of the past.

Reading Between The Lines

Terry Collins had this to say about Murph’s latest base running blunder,

“Miscommunication.  We thought Jon was going to try to go to home.”

Don’t let this fool you my friends.  The responsibility for the double play falls directly on Murph’s shoulders.  He has to notice Jose stopping more quickly, plain and simple.  If this weren’t the case, you would see double plays like this more frequently.

I have a feeling Terry Collins let Daniel Murphy know this shit has to stop.  He’s just not going to air it out in the media.  A quality that I respect about the Mets’ current skipper. I find this to be an interesting challenge managers face.  You know this type of play has to eat at Collins.  Yet, he has to go out and defend his player to the media knowing Murph blew this one.

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Owning Cole Hamels & Another Start For Scott?

July 16, 2011

The Mets will not catch the Philadelphia Phillies this season.  Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer.

However, the continued owning of Cole Hamels keeps getting better. Today the Mets spanked Hamels around for a career high (or low depending on who you ask) seven earned runs.

I have to believe this is getting in Hamel’s head at this point.  Unfortunately, the Midwestropolitan research staff was unable to dig up any evidence of him weeping like a little girl in the visiting clubhouse.  Instead, he gave this bland reaction,

“Haven’t really been able to get a good roll against them.  It’s kind of one of those games where you just want to throw it out.”-Cole Hamels

Hairston To Start Tomorrow?

“One thing about Scott Hairston, about a guy stepping up when someone’s not around. If that’s not an example of it, I don’t know what is.”-Terry Collins

I’d like to see Hairston get a start tomorrow.  Try to see if he has a hot hand.

After an unbelievably horrible beginning of the season, he has been displaying some pop.  Something the Mets are seriously lacking right now. Assuming Carlos can play, I would let Bay take a day off.

Let me clarify that this is more of a preference than a statement.  I won’t be calling for TC’s head if he doesn’t get the nod.

P.S.

Jon Niese is good.

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Chasing The Braves

July 9, 2011

News today of Chipper Jones heading to the DL got me to thinking.  Dangerous, I know.

What is going to have to happen for the Mets to actually catch the Braves in the second half of the season?

First and foremost, the Mets are going to have to play better at home.  A lot has been said about how this current group genuinely enjoys being together, and it has been suggested this is a reason why they play well on the road.  Somehow they have to figure out how to bottle that attitude when they are at Citi Field.

Larry going down for a few weeks is certainly an added bonus for the Mets.  However, their offense is not Atlanta’s strength, as they are 17th in the majors in runs scored and 26th in terms of team average (the Mets are tenth and a surprising fifth respectively).

More importantly, Jair Jurrjens or Tommy Hanson will need to cool off a bit.  They are a formidable pair at the top of the Braves rotation and Jurrjens has been absolutely lights out this season.

The Mets are going to have to take advantage of their nine remaining head to head games, all of which are in August and September. The Amazin’s have proven they are capable of beating the Braves with wins in the last two series.

One would also think that the Mets will catch a break in terms of at least two of the four stars that are currently injured (Wright, Reyes, Davis, and Santana) and they can provide significant second half reinforcements.

Terry Collins will have to continue to out manage Fredi Gonzalez.  It has been a long time since we have been able to say this, but the Mets have a better skipper at the helm then their division rivals.  Fredi Gonzalez has the tendency to make some head scratching in-game decisions.

I may regret saying this, but I fully expect the Mets to exceed expectations in the second half.  Don’t take that statement out of context, I am not saying they will be in the post season.  I just believe they will not collapse and will continue to compete every series.

There is a different feel to this team.  They have established they can hit for average, play solid defense, and throw out a quality start every night.  More importantly, they seem to be enjoying themselves each night.

Regardless of what transpires, I am grateful that I am writing about chasing a playoff slot rather than discussing 2012 and beyond.

 

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Jose’s Hamstring: What Do You Believe?

July 4, 2011

As yesterday progressed I was almost convinced it was going to be one of the shittiest weekends in the history of my Met fandom.  The Mets were well on their way to being swept by the damn Yankees and news about Jose Reyes’ bum hamstring was non-existent.

The lack of reports concerning his MRI results had me almost convinced we were going to hear he would be out for the rest of the season.  Why else would they wait to release the results?  My belief was that the Mets didn’t want the outcome of the kick in the nether region results to affect the team even more, as they tried to salvage at least one win against the Yanks.

Turns out I was wrong.  This time, I am perfectly happy to admit it.

So how will all of this play out?  How many games will Jose miss?  Let’s take a look at what Jose, Terry Collins, and Sandy Alderson are saying:

“I think it’s good.   Just a little bit of strain. Nothing big. I know we’re going to take it one day at a time and see what happens. Today when I got up I feel even better than yesterday. That’s very good news……Everybody wants to be there, wants to play.  Hopefully, I feel better in a couple of days.”- Jose Reyes

Like all players, Jose likely believes he will miss the minimum amount of games possible.  One thing Met fans should have learned by now is not to count on what the players say as far as their return is concerned.  Ike Davis thought he would be back in a day or two.   David Wright believed he would be back in a few weeks.  Shall I go on?

I am tickled pink that Jose will be back sooner rather than later.  However, I hope he doesn’t over do it in order to get back on the field.  For me, it will be difficult to watch the first handful of games he comes back.  I’ll be wincing every time he starts running hoping like hell he doesn’t come up lame after one of his trademark bursts of speed.

“It’ll be a challenge. I think we are going to be up for it.  Certainly we’ve dealt with some adversity so far this season. We’re resilient, we’ll bounce back and when we find out what the situation is going to be with him today, we’ll make sure our guys are ready to play.”- Terry Collins

Another example of why we are digging Terry Collins here at Midwestropolitan.  He’s just like every other human on the planet.  So I’m sure in his mind he is like “This is just perfect.  I must have done something wrong to piss somebody off.  Damn.”

Instead of vocalizing the natural “oh woe is me” thought, he immediately started focusing on winning with what he has.  The message to the players:  “I believe in you, don’t think this is going to become an excuse not to play your asses off.”

“We have to take it one day at a time.  We’re not making any predictions at the moment……We’re going to have to rely on Jose himself. We’re going to have to rely on Ray Ramirez and the training staff.   We’re going to have to rely on the doctors as well who are interpreting his condition as time goes on. It’s going to have to be something that we monitor. I’m sure he’ll want to play and I’m sure he’ll want to play in the All-Star Game, but that’s something we’re going to have to look at.”- Sandy Alderson

Mr. Alderson is too smart to associate a time frame on Jose’s return. He understands that hamstrings can be tricky, particularly when you are speaking about a player that relies on speed as one of his top weapons.  Mr. Alderson’s plan seems reasonable and par for the course.  Collect all information possible from relevant sources and then proceed from there.  Until the information is reliable there is no need to make a decision.

Reading between the lines he is also saying, “I understand and am sympathetic that Jose will want to get back as soon as possible and I know he wants to play in the All-Star Game.  However, let’s make sure the Mets’ best interest is considered here.  Keep in mind we will be leery on allowing you to do either if we feel you are risking re-injury.  Let’s talk.”

Regardless of what is going to happen in the next few days, we now have another thing to monitor closely as the season progresses.  It will cause a bit more stress to an already over stressed lot, but it is much better than the alternative we all thought we were facing less than 24 hours ago.

 

Some Overdue Love For Terry Collins

June 30, 2011

Terry Collins has transformed a makeshift group of aging veterans, journeymen, minor leaguers and misfits into a winning team without the presence of three key contributors and Jason Bay.

It’s not like the pressure to win is any less because the Mets are supposed to lose. If anything, the Mets need to win more now because the results of the past few years have deflated the fanbase and diminished the status of the franchise to a punch line.

But they were relying on a guy who hadn’t managed a Major League game since I was in elementary school (I’m 21). Even before the 5-13 start it was still the ‘same old Mets.’

Yet, Terry has undoubtedly changed the culture of the team. Terribly cliche, but it’s true.

It was widely assumed that the Mets were upset with Jerry Manuel’s relaxed attitude (I was) and wanted a guy who would force the issue a little bit. From the epic post-game meltdown to playing every game as the aggressor, I think they’ve succeeded.

Further, I don’t think it’s entirely coincidence that Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are playing at the level they are. I’ll concede that since it’s a walk year for both of them there’s extra financial incentive, but they are both respectively having their best year in some time.

I tend to think that Terry must have approached Carlos in just the right way in discussing his move to right field. I think he must have told Carlos that he believes in his ability to play every day and to produce like the Beltran of old. Collins’ sentiments have yielded great results.

Make no mistake that regardless of how well Collins has managed the personalities on this team, they’d be nowhere near 41-40 without Jose Reyes’ remarkable production. Because of that, I give more credit to Jose than anyone for the Mets return to respectability. Yet, I also attribute this largely to Collins for keeping Jose on the right path when he could be focused on about 145 million other things.

It’s not as if Collins has turned a team with no talent into a contender. That’s certainly exaggerated. But the Mets are overachieving. If we’re going to sit here and blame the manager when the team underachieves, I will certainly choose to praise the manager when the team exceeds expectations.

And by the way, I get a kick out of Terry Collins saying “screw you” to Fred Wilpon every time K-Rod enters a 5-run game. The guy wants to win now regardless of how his boss feels. I find that endearing.

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I Love Ya Hojo, But Shutup

June 11, 2011

News from the New York Post has former ’86 Met and hitting coach, Howard Johnson, publicly disagreeing with Terry Collins’ decision to bench Jason Bay.

“It’s ridiculous it’s come to that.  If he’s supposed to be part of the solution, I don’t see the point of taking him out of the equation. It’s sending him mixed messages. I don’t care if he’s 0-for-50, you’re not going to get him relaxed by taking him out of the lineup.”-Howard Johnson

With all due respect Hojo, it’s ridiculous that you decided to open your yapper on this matter.  Smells like the girl who didn’t get invited to the prom telling everyone in the world how lame the prom is.

I love you man (in a completely platonic way), and always will.  But I also believe you are completely wrong here.  Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson have established that they are creating an atmosphere in which players will be accountable for not performing.

You are part of the old regime that told us everything would be ok if we were patient.  Players would work themselves out of slumps. After four years, we were still waiting.

Jason Bay has had 39 games to work himself out of this slump.  That is almost 25% of the entire season.  Whatever he was trying on his own was obvioulsy not working.

I hope that you find something more useful to do with your time.  Back seat driving does not suit a man of your caliber.

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That IS Encouraging

June 9, 2011

Earlier today I made the astute observation that the Milwaukee series was an unconventional one.  Tonight’s game did not deviate from that theme.

Consider the following factors:

  • Brewers pitcher, Yovani Gallardo had won his last six starts
  • Jose Reyes went 0-5
  • Jason Bay’s slump is so bad that he was benched in favor of fellow Jason, Jason Pridie, who was hitting .242 going into tonight
  • For the most part, the Mets pitched to Prince Fielder
  • The Mets were coming off blowing a four run lead in the eighth inning of the previous game.

So naturally the following ocurrs:

  • Jon Niese goes deeeep into the  contest and out pitches Gallardo
  • Jason Pridie factors in two of the Mets four runs
  • Frankie Rodriguez converts a four out save without giving up a run

Say what you want to about Terry Collins as a game manager.  But as of June 9, 2011 the severely hobbled New York Mets are only two games under .500 and are only 4.5 games back in the Wild Card race (as of 11:28pm).

That tells me that he has done a phenomenal job at preparing this team to play every night.  I give the man some credit.

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