Spring Training wins don’t mean anything, right? Don’t tell that to the Mets in 2015.
Early on in camp, Terry Collins recognized the importance of proving they could beat the Nationals, simply because they hadn’t for the most part in two years. They had gone 11-27 against Washington since 2013 heading into Monday’s game. They were out-homered 26-7 as they went 4-15 against Washington last year in particular.
But five of the Mets 19 wins this past spring came against the Nationals. That’s one more than they had against Washington all of last year. But again, they were wins which took place on the sun-drenched fields of Florida, not the big stages of New York and Washington.
But again, don’t tell the Mets that.
“I thought the games in spring training were important,” Sandy Alderson told Anthony Rieber of Newsday. “Just to begin to kind of change, as I’ve said before, the perception of things.”
I wrote yesterday in prior seasons, perhaps it would’ve been the Mets making the big gaffe against the Nationals to cost them a game. But in somewhat ironic fashion, it was the Nationals making the mistake on Monday, prolonging an inning for their opponent and giving them an opportunity to cash in.
And, much like winning teams do, the Mets capitalized.
“You just can’t keep giving good teams outs,” Terry Collins said on Monday. “We think we’re a good team.”
Too often during this rebuild process, the team has hoped only to “compete,” which I interpreted to be they hoped they were a Major League team. So, this coming from Collins is rather refreshing. Regardless of what ultimately happens, it’s representative the mindset of the club, and the internal perception and attitude which has unquestionably evolved over the last year.
Of course, it’s one game out of 162 games that do matter. And again, Spring Training games count for a hill of beans this time of year, no matter what anyone says. But that doesn’t mean the club can’t extract positives from their experience in Florida and allow them to believe they can win games against the Nationals – or any team for that matter – the way they did on Monday.
The fact remains the Mets are confident, and their wins against the Nationals and the rest of the Grapefruit League may have helped inspire more confidence.
Even if the games didn’t count, that’s perfectly fine. Whatever works for them. Just win.