Game 5 is ‘gravy’ for Terry Collins
Terry Collins feels the heat of game five. He believes there’s a lot of pressure riding on his Mets to win and move on to host the Cubs on Saturday night at Citi Field.
But he’s also trying to ease the nerves and tension surrounding his team, and choosing to take a more relaxed view ahead of what could be the team’s last game in 2015, and certainly will not view a game five loss to the Dodgers as season-defining.
“This, to me, is gravy,” he explained about game five on Thursday evening at Dodger Stadium. “We’re going to go out and play real, real hard.”
It’s an appropriate view for this Mets team, who has dealt with so much adversity throughout the year, but always seemed to have risen to every occasion to battle back and push through.
In reality, defying the odds and winning the National League East was one of the great stories in baseball in 2015, as great as the Washington Nationals were bad, of course.
As for this Division Series, Collins and the Mets knew a five game series was possible and that they’d have to face both Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke two times each to get through the Dodgers.
Fortunately for the Mets, they have a similar-caliber tandem at the top of their rotation, and arguably a much deeper pitching staff themselves which has helped them survive the dynamic pair at the top of the Dodgers rotation.
But no matter what happens on Thursday, Collins is proud of the way his team has handled what really has been a rollercoaster season for his club, and dealing with such unusual highs and lows emotionally throughout the long season.
“They can’t take away what these guys accomplished all year long,” he said. “You can’t take that away from them, no matter if we lose tomorrow night or we come out on top.
“We’re very, very happy with what we’ve accomplished, and we’ll be prepared tomorrow.”
Collins has the utmost confidence in Jacob deGrom, who is starting his second game at Dodger Stadium in game five.
“When we were getting ready for the postseason one of the things when we sat our rotation down, we felt that he was pitching the best of anybody,” the Mets manager explained. “That’s nothing to take anything away from [Noah Syndergaard], how he was throwing or [Matt Harvey]. We just thought this guy was pitching best. So if anybody was going to pitch two games in the series for us, it would be Jacob deGrom. So it worked out that way.”
Collins had spent over 40 years in the game before getting to the postseason for the first time in his career in 2015. He has taken nothing for granted since his failed campaigns with the Angels and Astros in the late 1990s. It’s been a long road back to managing for him, and he had to deal with a prison cell from 2011-2014 with this club as they waited for their seeds to blossom into the team they have today.
But while this will serve as an important and gratifying step one for Collins and the Mets, there will be no satisfaction with a loss to the Dodgers on Thursday.
“This is where you want to get. You want to get to postseason,” Collins said. “Any time you’re down to win or lose, it’s a tough situation. There’s a lot of pressure on both teams. But I’ll tell you, I’m so proud of the way our guys made it through the season.”
Hopefully Thursday was the last day Collins will have to reminisce about the season for a few weeks.