Terry Collins is making his best effort to filter out the noise and distractions, and is succeeding
Only in Flushing can a six-game lead in the division with 13 games to go stumble upon negativity and tension.
Yes, the New York Mets continue to stumble upon controversy and distraction as they close in on their first division crown in nine years, attempting to officially start a new chapter in their history and close out the old, “same old Mets” chapter mired by failure, angst, awkwardness, and a stale narrative about the team’s finances.
In this particular case though, the Mets are only partially at fault, of course. For they are only to blame for not standing firm on their own policies for one of their employees, Matt Harvey, and their program to preserve his innings, health and stamina despite the player’s displeasure with it.
Fortunately for the Mets, they have one of the more positive influences in the organization leading the charge towards October.
His name is Terry Collins, who despite a tense, strange and somewhat embarrassing loss to the Yankees on Sunday evening, saw no doom and gloom in anything which took place while his team took a pounding in the finale of the subway series.
“Did we not stay in first place?” Collins said he yelled through the clubhouse after Sunday’s loss. “Turn the damn music on, and let’s get ready for tomorrow.”
For Collins, who admitted on Sunday night he is an, “old-school guy,” was taking on a more progressive mindset by considering the bigger picture. His club still had a six-game lead with 13 games to go.
Sure, it’s not the 9 1/2 game lead the team had just a week before, but that’s the merit of having such a large lead. It affords a club to hit an expected period of regression following a monumental eight-game winning streak – three of which were over the Nationals – which helped put the Mets in this position to begin with.
Now, there’s probably very little question this situation with Matt Harvey is affecting the clubhouse. After all, it’s affecting the manager’s psyche and his ability to properly manage baseball games in which his star pitcher starts in. But in Sunday’s case from a player’s perspective, how can taking out one of the best pitchers in the sport, having thrown 77 pitches while allowing just one hit in five innings, not affect the mindset of the players on the field?
With all due respect to the Mets bullpen, even 60 percent of Matt Harvey is better than any other option the manager could have replaced him with in that situation.
And the manager knows that.
“Taking Matt out after five innings [on Sunday] – was I disturbed? You’re damn right I was disturbed,” the manager angrily said on Monday afternoon.
But at the same time, the Mets are still finding a way to survive and filter as much noise about Harvey, the lost subway series, and the rough homestand in general out to keep the focus on the moments they can control.
“I can honestly say there hasn’t been panic after we lost that series,” Michael Conforto said after Monday’s win over the Braves “There hasn’t been that sense of tension. It’s been loose ever since I got here. I’m sure it was before as well. It’s just the way the guys are, and the way the team is.”
That looseness can be attributed by Collins’ ability to connect with his players and shield them from most any other negative situation, and he’s been very successful at that throughout the 2015 season. That alone is a reason for why the Mets have staved off a broken roster earlier in the year thanks to both injuries and a lack of quality depth to compensate for that.
And to think, maybe it was the music which was turned up that kept all of that noise out.