(Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire)
Mets Manager Terry Collins made it very clear on Saturday morning that he wants home-field advantage in the Division Series with the Dodgers.
On what it means to the fans, he said, “Well, again, I wish the weather was better because we’re not gonna have some people that would normally be here. With what we saw happen here against the Nationals when we had that big series, those fans need to be rewarded and our players are excited to come back and play in front of them and thank them, which I’m sure they will do tomorrow when the game is over. But I think it’s gonna be fun today and tonight to be out there and let the people cheer them because these guys should be happy with what they’ve accomplished and our fan base deserves it. They’ve been patient and so finally they’re gonna get something to cheer for.
“That’s why, to be honest, that’s one of the reasons why I want to open up here, I want to have to have home-field advantage. I want our fans to come out and see what they’ve been waiting for, and that’s to have a Divisional playoff game at home,” said Collins.
On how important home field is to Collins, he said, “Well, I think it’s always important, you know, we’ve played well here, and I think it’s an important thing to play for it. I think it’s always important to play for something and that’s certainly a goal. As I told the guys the other day in Philly, ‘we’re going to the dance, where it’s gonna be held, I can’t tell ya, so let’s get ourselves ready to play no matter where we are.’ It’s important that you need to play for something, and I would like to have it here, but it’s not the end-all if we don’t get it.”
The Mets are 48-30 at Citi Field this season entering Saturday’s doubleheader. They did not lose a homestand until their last one, when they went 3-6 against the Marlins, Yankees, and Braves. Other than that, they have won seven homestands and tied there.
Their home record is the seventh-best in Major League Baseball. Their 48 wins are the most at home since 2006, which coincidentally is the last time they won the division. With one win this weekend, their 49th win will tie for the 10th-most wins at home in franchise history.
The Mets will face the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, and Collins may feel it is all that crucial because they won two of three at Dodger Stadium from July 3-5. They then split a four-game series at Citi Field a few weeks later.
Also, those games were in the PC, or pre-Cespedes era, so if they took two of three there without him, they probably could steal one of two if the series opens in Los Angeles and come home up 1-1 or 2-0 and clinch it at Citi Field. That would even be better for the fans because they can see a Champagne celebration, something they missed with the Division clincher coming in Cincinnati.
Collins said of his perception of the players maybe not being as motivated as he would want for home-field advantage, “Well, I think that they want home-field advantage. I just think that when we went into Philly, that what happened in Cincinnati just knocked us down, I mean, it took the starch out for a few days. Then, you come home, we’ve got rain and cold. We all talked yesterday, we had our meeting yesterday, I said, look, we have to play for something here, you need to understand, this is important, so, let’s get the edge, find the edge again, and hopefully we’ll go out there today (Saturday) and play as well as we have been playing and, certainly, try to win the next three games and open up here on Friday. I think it would be a blast.”