Collins Clawing to Keep Clubhouse ‘Calm’ Amidst Chaotic Chatter

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According to Adam Rubin, Terry Collins ordered his club to turn up the tunes in the clubhouse after another disheartening loss where the Mets were only able to muster six hits during their third consecutive debilitating defeat.  Collins is trying to keep the team loose and light, and continues to avoid admitting the sky is falling despite the team performing like Henny Penny with runners in scoring position.

A clearly agitated Steven Matz was commended by his manager, saying that “he should feel good, because he didnt have it, but managed the damage”  When that quote was relayed to Friday’s starter by SNY reporter Steve Gelbs, Matz did not welcome the words with open arms.  “No,” Matz commented to Gelbs, “Up here, you care about wins.” Once again, the Mets and their skipper are on different pages.

Friday night’s contradictory comments could signify the beginning of a disconnect.  Collins has yet to put his foot down with this baseball team during his tenure and mediocre results are the acceptable norm.  From horse riding and hot rods in spring training, to his team achieving a record of four games under .500 since May 1st, Collins had yet to make any significant changes to his lackadaisical philosophy over a seemingly aloof club. A postgame meeting was held after Friday’s loss, with the apparent purpose to alleviate the pressure and negativity surrounding the club.

Collins may be in fear of a possible repeat of his last two mutinous managerial stinks, desiring to keep the players on his side by going against what comes natural to him in order to avoid alienating his players.

For at least the 4th time in the last nine months, Terry Collins went against his gut and allowed a young player to dictate his managerial decisions this week. Sadly, it once again backfired. After his All Star closer Jeurys Familia blew his first save of the season Wednesday, Collins told the media post-game that the slinging sinkerballer would get the series opener against the Colorado Rockies off.

Lo and behold, with the Mets leading by one run in the 8th inning, the man Collins dubbed the days closer got the call.  Addison Reed emerged from the dugout to throw 2/3 of an inning before giving way to lefty specialist Jerry Blevins who struck out slugger Carlos Gonzalez to end the frame. It was then clear Familia’s day off was off the table.

We know the outcome.  Familia allowed a leadoff single, a stolen base, a walk, a bunt base hit, yada yada yada (I yada’ed the best part).  His second blown save in as many days in a mere 18 hour span posed more postgame questions. The Mets beat writers pressed him on his decision and tried to get it straight from the skipper’s mouth how the events unfolded.

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According to Collins, Familia approached him and pitching coach Dan Warthen Thursday morning, and told them he was ready, willing and able to pitch.  It would be his third straight day of work.  For what its worth, it was his 5th time this season pitching three consecutive games.  In the previous four he did not yield a run.  Thursday’s appearance was his 49th of the year in 101 games.  Putting him on target for approximately 80 games this season, 12 shy of the franchise record set by ‘perpetual’ Pedro Feliciano in 2009.

This is not the first time Terry Collins has ignored his initial plan based on the intervention of a player.  In a well documented dugout spat turned discussion, Matt Harvey demanded he be given the ball for the 9th inning of Game 5 of last year’s World Series.  After allowing the first two men to reach base, well you know how that ended.

Earlier this season, when most fans, writers, and baseball pundits had Matt Harvey ticketed for Las Vegas to work out his stuggles, he apparently demanded the ball from the skipper for two consecutive starts against the Washington Nationals.  Collins again acquiesced and it cost the team precious chances at wins. It would later be revealed that the team was aware Matt Harvey had severe loss of feeling in his fingertips dating back to spring training, severely impacting his command.

Being a player’s manager and taking blame when things go poorly for the club is an admirable thing Collins has done in the past. But fearing the anger of a player you must manage and control in the best interests of both him and the club is a part of the job Terry seems to be circumventing with alarming frequency.  His previous managerial stints ended in messy fashion.  In both instances, Anaheim and Houston, he was at the helm of a club that had expectations and talent, but failed to deliver.

Even further, there was clubhouse discontent about how Terry ran his baseball team in both places. By his own admission, “I demanded a lot, probably too much. I’ve grown up, and hopefully it will be better,” Collins said about his Astros job.

The feuds were so bad in the clubhouse, his team blew a 21.5 game September lead, missing the postseason. His exodus in Anaheim was just as chaotic, resigning in September after the team quit on him, punctuated by lackadaisical play and an aloof roster.

Another move that led to head scratching among fans and media alike was trading three roster spots to gain one base-runner in the 7th inning.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd and none out, Collins pinch hit Yoenis Cespedes for Jacob deGrom with first base open. The Rockies promptly walked Yo, which Collins said in the post-game that he “knew they would do”.  Tomorrow’s starter Steven Matz was asked to run for Cespedes and his ailing quad.

This setup force plays all around, which the Rockies conveniently utilized on the next hitter, Kelly Johnson, who grounded into a force-out. He said he knew “They would have walked anyone in that spot”, leaving anyone with a baseball mind to ask why not leave the pitcher in to be walked?

Is Terry yielding too much to curry favor with another underachieving club? Is he trying too hard to endear himself to players and avoid another mutiny? It is very possible, and history has proved it can be very detrimental to a club. With likely his job teetering on the same fence as the organization’s season, he may want to stick to his own decisions and avoid being swayed, or his time in New York may be riddled with as many ‘what if’s?’ as his previous jobs.

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About Chris the Teacher 37 Articles
A teacher and coach by day, Chris spends his summers going to see the Mets in different parks around the country having already visited 24 Major League Ballparks. Highlights include seeing Tom Glavine’s 300th win at Wrigley Field as well as the Mets Clinch the NL East in Cincinnati in 2015. A loyal Mets season ticket holder since graduating from Stony Brook University in 2005, he enjoys raising his two boys Michael and Carter (after Gary) as Met fans and appreciates the freedom his wife gives him to pursue his travels.