(Dave Pokress/Sportsday Wire)
As the New York Mets approached game number 150 Monday afternoon, there was a mood in the clubhouse and around the batting cage that would not appear to be that of a team that is in need of answers. With an 84 – 65 record, the boys of Flushing have a six game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League Eastern Division. One thing is for certain – the manager is not holding the reins nervously.
“We lost two in a row, and we now have to win games, first and foremost, said Mets Manager Terry Collins to the attending media before the game. “These guys have worked hard, and will rest when needed.”
At times like this, especially in a stretch run, you wonder what kind of intestinal fortitude comes to the surface. From what I can see from Collins, it appears that he can be a good poker player. He seems cool, comfortable, and quite witty getting his points across.
He expressed concerns about Jacob deGrom, noting that he will be ‘pushed back’ in the rotation for a few days. No specifics, but he should be pitching in the Cincinnati series over the weekend.
As far as his pitcher from Sunday night, he explained, most calmly and succinctly, that Matt Harvey will pitch every five days, not be pushed to every 12. However, in those 5 days, he will not have the benefit of having a long outing. He stressed that he is important to the team and “will go out there every 5 days”
To Collins, he compared Harvey going out there like his playing golf. “If I don’t play in 12 days, my game suffers. If I go out there and play often, my game is good.”
Looking at the team, there is a relaxed atmosphere out there. It does not look like a team that is worried. To Collins, it is being on an “even keel”.
He mentioned to the media that he walked into the clubhouse after the 12-2 defeat to the Bronx Bombers the night before, and looked at the players sitting in the lockers, quiet, no music playing and quite despondent. Collins addressed the team:
“Did we not stay in first place tonight? Let’s just get ready for tomorrow. Atlanta is in, and it is another game to play tomorrow night. Turn on the radio, and let’s move on!”
He also added, that he is looking forward to seeing Jonathon Niese pitch seven innings tonight, and see the rest of team work hard and play a solid game.
Does this sound like a man that is nervous about a six game lead with 13 games to play?
I am not sure if he was dancing to the tunes in the clubhouse after the game, but his players are not tight for this upcoming stretch run.
Tonight is a new game, and a new beginning.
Mets Notes: The Mets announced their Sterling Award winners for the 2015 Minor League Season. The player of the year, was current Mets outfielder Michael Conforto. The pitcher of the year was 22 year old Robert Gsellman, who had a 13-7 record for St. Lucie (6-0) and Binghamton (7-7) with a 2.86 ERA.