Last Wednesday, after the New York Mets second blowout loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, manager Terry Collins assured everyone, “there’s no panic here, believe me. Not in the clubhouse. Not anyplace else.” Collins told Adam Rubin at ESPN New York there was no need for a team meeting … players will start tuning them out.
“They know what’s going on,” said Collins.
On Sunday in Pittsburgh, Collins closed the clubhouse and held the second team meeting in a week, contradicting his statement earlier in the week. Maybe the Mets forgot what’s going on. Maybe Collins forgot his own credo.
The Mets were outscored 21-4 and never had the lead in the series against the Pirates. The team struck out 36 times in the three-game series. All three Pirates starters — Gerrit Cole, A.J. Burnettand Francisco Liriano — each struck out 10 or more batters. The Mets were 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
Since the Mets reeled off 11 consecutive wins in April, New York is 11-18 and 24-21 overall. The one-time 4 1/2 game lead in the National League East is gone. Going into Memorial Day, the Mets have dropped 2 1/2 games behind the red-hot Washington Nationals and have a skinny one-game lead over the surging Atlanta Braves.
Collins attempted to humanize the current skid, telling the media:
They’re human beings. Everybody goes through it. Everybody gets frustrated. What you try to do is pick the right time to say, ‘Knock it off. You’re big league players. You’re the best of the best. Let’s just go play like it.’
The fact of the matter is, the Mets are not “the best of the best.” David Wright has been replaced by Eric Campbell, Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy. Travis d’Arnaud has been spelled by Anthony Recker and Kevin Plawecki. The two investments the last two seasons — Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer — are not producing. John Mayberry Jr. has not added the depth the organization had hoped he would. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has been demoted. And, on Sunday, the Mets two steadiest regulars — Juan Lagares and Lucas Duda — sat with injuries.
And don’t forget Collins bullpen confession last week:
We’ve got to get some innings out of our starters. Our bullpen is starting to get tired. When that happens, things can get ugly. You are asking these guys to over-extend themselves.
Forget the streaks; the highs and lows. In the longview, the first two months of the season, reveals a team with strong starting pitching, an overworked bullpen, light hitting and little depth. If everything, and every one, is healthy, the Mets are a contender. But a rash of injuries have exposed gapping holes.
Sunday’s team meeting was Collins’ effort to build confidence to a team that in free-fall.
This is not about who is not here (David Wright). This is about who is here. Every team goes through it. Every team is going to go through it. This is our stage. We are not dead. We’re not dead in the water by any stretch of the imagination.
It’s May and the Mets certainly not dead, but they are on life support.