One would never know at Citi Field Friday night that the Mets were long eliminated from the postseason and the reason is manager Terry Collins. Prior to the Mets 7-6 win over the Washington Nationals, in a game that meant more for the visiting team when it comes to home field advantage in October, GM Sandy Alderson said a managerial decision would come at the end of this dismal season.
But that does not matter right now, the future of the manager. Collins is showing no indication about this being his final week as manager at Citi Field, though sources have informed NYsportsday.com that Collins has hinted for months that this would be his last year guiding the Mets.
So don’t fault the manager for not trying to win these games that are meaningless, and with a Mets team that is headed to their worst record since 2003 when they finished 66-95. He managed this game as if there was a pennant chase in late September and the ninth inning was compelling because Jeurys Familia got the save.
Yes, Familia was used in a role that was familiar with that remarkable season of 2015, a one-out save. Remember not too long ago in Flushing Queens there was a Mets team that came up short in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals.
Never fault Terry Collins for not wanting to win, and with this dismal season nine games from completion, this is a manager who wants to win. Does he warrant another year? That will be up to Alderson and ownership to determine ,and Collins has not been responsible for the injury ward that has been the story of this 2017 season.
“We know how good this team could have been,” said Collins. “But the reality is, you’ve got to get through it and grind it out and we’ve tried to do that. I think tonight’s a perfect example that we haven’t cashed it in.”
And the Mets did not give this one up with the second career multi-homer game from Travis d’Arnaud. Collins has seen d’Arnaud swing a hot bat and sees the competition going on with Kevin Plawecki, both of course looking at getting the starting role next season.
This is a manger looking at next year and showing no signs in the dugout or in post game meetings with the media that his reign is over.
No signs also of Collins giving up when utilizing the bullpen. Collins pulled AJ Ramos in the ninth inning with runners at the corners and one out. In stepped Josh Smoker and the lefthander got an out. Then, so reminiscent of 2015, it was Jeurys Familia for the one-out save.
Ramos is in the plan next season to proceed Familia, and again the case that Terry Collins wants to win these games, or is he testing the waters for a new beginning in 2018?
“Even those were milestones for me because it just meant I was back here and pitching,” said Familia who is recovering well from arterial surgery in May.
He wasn’t taking anything for granted because the Mets success the past two years of reaching the postseason worked in part with Collins pushing the right buttons and calling on Familia. Again, all signs Friday night that this is a team with a few veterans and the youngsters playing for positions next year.
And for another night, Terry Collins managed as if this was a pennant chase. No manager wants to finish the 162-game schedule with less than 70 wins and with 90 losses, and Terry Collins certainly will not let that happen.
Saturday night, Stephen Strasburg takes the mound for the Nationals and it could be different managing from the dugout because the righthander is preparing for the postseason, and in his last six starts has allowed three runs in 41 innings.
Collins has the return of Noah Syndergaard to start and throw an inning and Matt Harvey will follow. More productive hitting from d’Arnaud and Familia for the save?
Maybe not, but Mets fans can be assured that Terry Collins is still here and until further notice will continue to manage like he did Friday night.
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