Terry Collins says his players will have ‘extra motivation’ in Game 3
The Mets arrived home from Los Angeles early Sunday morning, and did a mild workout at Citi Field late Sunday afternoon ahead of game three of the National League Division Series on Monday night.
Before the workout, Terry Collins confirmed Matt Reynolds’ contract will be purchased ahead of Monday night’s game.
“He’s on his way, but I think we’re going to wait till tomorrow afternoon to make the final decision who it’s going to be, but we need to protect ourselves a little bit, so we’re getting Matt here,” Collins said about Reynolds.
In regards to Reynolds, Collins suggested he was the most adequate backup shortstop available to the club in the organization.
“No disrespect to [Kelly Johnson], he’s a tremendous utility player,” Collins explained. “We just thought it was going to be important if Matt’s going to be the guy, we are protected at shortstop with a guy who has played a lot at shortstop.”
Collins acknowledged losing Tejada for the year is a significant blow to the team.
“No disrespect to [Wilmer Flores]; he played very well, but Ruben has just got more experience playing shortstop at this level. So we thought he was the guy,” Collins said. “So last night’s injury is a big dent, and I will certainly spend some time with Wilmer tomorrow and let him know that he’s proved he can play shortstop at this level, to relax and go out, because he’s going to be the guy.”
Collins took the high road when it came to opining about the action the league might take on Chase Utley.
“I’m not going to get involved in Joe’s stuff,” Collins said, referring the MLB COO Joe Torre. “I know they’re looking at it and I’m going to let them make the decision, but we all know how hard Chase plays and everything else.
“It was late. It was a late slide,” Collins continued. “Where he hit Ruben on the field, certainly was something that needs to be addressed, but I’ll let Major League Baseball handle that.”
Collins said he doesn’t know yet how his players, specifically Matt Harvey, is going to handle any possible retaliation against Utley and the Dodgers.
“All I know is for years and years and years as long as this game is played, and we know there are a lot of changes, players always took care of stuff themselves,” Collins said. “I don’t know certainly what’s going to happen. I’m not going to address that because I’m not going to create an issue.
“Right now we need Matt Harvey to step up and pitch the kind of game we know he’s capable of pitching,” Collins continued. “When we made this decision to pitch him tomorrow, which we did a long time ago, we felt this was the pivotal game of this series, and it’s turned out to be that.
“We’re at our park. We need him to step up and pitch a good ballgame, and that’s all I hope he does.”
Collins said the club will use the events from Saturday as extra motivation to win game three of the Division Series.
“We’re pretty upset,” he said. “Needless to say, they were quite upset with the whole situation, and, you know, as you said, we don’t need any more motivation, but that certainly gives us some extra motivation going into tomorrow night.”
Collins is hopeful the league and the umpire does not issue warnings to both benches ahead of Monday’s game in light of the increased intensity and attention surrounding this series.
“I would personally hope there wouldn’t be such an issue, only because the impact it would have on the entire game itself, would change the way the game’s supposed to be played,” Collins said. “I’m not saying we’re trying to protect anybody, but in the game of baseball, we do ask our pitchers to pitch inside once in a while, and the last thing we need is an umpire to take the games into his hands where he thinks it was a purpose. It is the purpose; that’s why you pitch inside. And all of a sudden to create a mess that certainly wasn’t intended.”
So we’ll just wait to see what Joe and those guys come up with.