Terry Collins still not committing to Steven Matz for Game 4
Terry Collins is hours away from managing the first playoff game in his career, spanning more than 40 years as a player and a manager.
Collins says his club is very excited to begin their journey in the playoffs.
It’s been a while since we’ve been here,” Collins told reporters on Friday in Los Angeles. “We made a pledge to our fan base that we were going to win, and we’re here, and so they’re all fired up.
“We’ve got some young guys that are very, very excited, and we’ve got some veterans that let these guys know this is what you play for,” he said. “Now just go play.
Collins said he doesn’t think the club is feeling any additional pressure now that the club has reached the postseason.
“I don’t think there is any added pressure,” he explained about his club. “You’ve got to go play the game and execute the way we’ve been doing it all summer long.”
Collins said if Juan Uribe had been healthy, he might have played against Clayton Kershaw on Friday. Since he isn’t he decided to go with what has been working for his team throughout the summer.
“If Juan was still here I probably would have gotten Juan in the lineup,” the Mets manager said. “But we know when [Daniel Murphy is] swinging good, he hits anybody. [Curtis Granderson] has done an absolutely tremendous job of getting on base for us, and you need that in these kind of series, in my opinion.
“I think Lucas Duda lately is swinging the bat,” he continued. “You look at his numbers throughout the year against lefties are pretty good. And I’ve looked at Clayton Kershaw’s numbers against right-handed hitters, they’re outstanding. So it really doesn’t matter, to me, where you hold the bat. You better get in there and get a good pitch to hit, and I think our lefties can do that.”
Regarding Steven Matz, who was officially placed on the Division Series roster on Friday, Collins still would not commit to him being his game four starter, instead leaving open the possibility Jacob deGrom could pitch on Tuesday instead.
“I think we need to keep that open,” Collins explained. “We don’t know what will happen. Certainly I’m not going to say today that Jake’s going to be the guy. It all depends a lot on tonight. If he goes deep into a game, if he has to work hard, he probably won’t come back on three day’s rest.”
Collins is counting on the leadership from the veterans to help guide the younger group of players in his clubhouse through the playoffs.
“I don’t think the rights of the Cuddyers or Grandersons and Colons are going to let these guys get too cared away. They’re going to keep them pretty much under control. Once the game starts, emotions are what they are,” Collins said.
Collins thinks deGrom’s All-Star Game appearance in July will help him to tame his nerves and emotions when he takes the stage on Friday.
“When he walks out there and realizes he’s got to make pitches, I think the nerves will go away and he’ll pitch his game,” Collins explained.
But Collins believes the players – both the younger ones and the established veterans – should be nervous for the playoffs.
“These guys grew up watching this kind of a thing. So it’s great for them,” the manager said. “I looked at the Dodgers lineup today, they’ve got a couple young guys too that they should be pretty excited about having this opportunity.”