Collins: ‘If we continue to play like this, September is going to be a fun month’

The Mets return to action tonight having won 8 of their last 10 games, while trailing the Braves and Nationals by seven games in the NL East.

“We’re playing very, very good baseball, and we plan on giving them a run for their money,” David Wright said before leaving Citi Field this past weekend (ESPN, July 13).

“We’ve shown we can compete,” manager Terry Collins said after Sunday’s win. “We’ve got 35 games left in our division. Now, we’ve got to go out and do it. We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to go do it. If we continue to play like this, September is going to be a fun month.”


USATSI_7987539_110579513_lowres


The Mets are 1-5 against Washington and 6-7 against the Braves, but 8-5 against Miami and 6-3 against Philadelphia.

However, the second half kicks off tonight with a more rigorous task, starting in San Diego and moving through Seattle and Milwaukee before bringing the Mets back to Citi Field on Monday, July 28.

“We have a lot of positive things going for us right now,” Wright said about the state of the team entering Friday’s play. “It will be a tough road trip for us, but I think that will be a nice test coming out the gate. I hope we’re up for it.”

Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer

The Mets need to go 36-31 to finish the season with a .500 record. I actually think they can do it. The thing is, by nature of the schedule and the amount of games they play in the division, if they do go 36-31, it will mean they did some solid winning against the Braves and Nationals, which also means – Terry is right – September could be fun.

Why do I believe 36-31 is possible, despite the Mets going 40-45 the first half? I like what Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Wright are doing at the top of the lineup, in front of Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud, all of whom have turned into very nice hitters the last month or so. The team is scoring runs and they’re set up to have that continue, regardless of whether Sandy Alderson acquires extra offense. I love what Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia are bringing to the table in the back of the bullpen. These two, plus the rotation, means the Mets should have a real chance of winning every night.


USATSI_7986408_110579513_lowres


The one concern I have is their age. Young players, especially young pitchers, tend to hit August and fade. It’s a long season, it’s a grind, and the younger guys may not have experience managing their body over a full 162 games. They got a bit burned out, they press, they panic, and the Mets have a good number of players who could fall in to this trap. It will take Terry Collins, his coaches, Wright, Jon Niese, Murphy, Granderson, Chris Young, etc., guys who have been around the block several times, to keep theme young men motivated, rested and focused. This, as much as anything, is part of the process of building a winning team and culture. I think they have the right mix, and I hope I get to find out how it plays out…




67 comments
Randy Hernandez
Randy Hernandez

I love the Mets but opening the second half usually means losing 7 out of 9 out the gate. Prove me wrong!!

kingman76
kingman76

13 games still vs. the Nationals, 6 each vs. the Braves and Marlins, and 10 left with the Phillies.  How we do vs. the Nationals will be the deciding factor.

1963PoloGrounds
1963PoloGrounds

Loser statement by Collins. Winners aren't satisfied and push the pedal to the metal.  Collins is glowing over a sub .500 team. 

Lets Go Mets!
Lets Go Mets!

Hey New Your Mets, as far as playing meaningful games in September:

You Got This!!!!

Jonathan Rundle
Jonathan Rundle

Hopefully his idea of fun is browsing online job boards.

Mexpert
Mexpert

They cant continue at this pace. A long winning streak requires winning a game you should lose. Either a clutch hit a lucky play or a manager making the perfect move. The problem is Terry will always make bad moves and over the years his record shows bizzare moves which turn wins into losses. The devastating ones lead to 15 inning games we burn the pen and go into a tailspin. The post trauma following the Phillies even though we won 4 of 5 sent us reeling. Long streaks require at minimum a competent manager.

Mark Johnson
Mark Johnson

Let's get to august 1st before we talk sept

Kenneth Meltsner
Kenneth Meltsner

Hard to get excited about the prospect of playing .500 ball. And I'm sure I'm not the only guy on this site who does not have faith and Collins and Alderson. The recent track-record is all you need to see. Yes, they have been playing much better of late. And yes, we seem to have purged most of our non-performers. But we've seen this all before. Let's see what Sandy does (or doesn't do in the next two weeks). I don't want to see one more over-the-hill retread back at Citifield.

Straw18
Straw18

A five game winning streak is nice but let's focus on one series at a time instead of looking towards September so soon.....a month ago we were riding high heading to Chicago and got swept by the Cubs.....I want this team to succeed but we have to be realistic.... one series at a time and then let's see where they are after these 13 straight games heading to trade deadline

James
James

How is San Diego the more rigorous task, Seattle definitely, and I do hope that we are not the team that wakes the Bucks up out of their doldrums the last couple weeks.

Bruce Mitrani
Bruce Mitrani

Been here before-hot before the All Star break and then immediate tank afterwards. Prove history wrong!

Jimmy Passadino
Jimmy Passadino

They won't. Nobody keeps up 8-2 ball. That's why there is 162 games. Ebbs and flows, streaks and slumps. That's what baseball is.

archer41
archer41

67 games left and they are 5 games under .500.  Let's say the Mets go 6-4 three straight times, which is winning 60% of your games.  At the end of those 30 games, they will only be 1 game over .500 with 37 games left in the season.  Unless they go on a major tear, 7 games is a lot to make up.  Obviously this also assumes that the Nats/Braves will be winning at their current pace, but still this is a tough amount of games to overcome.  

mingo
mingo

I pray for the Spirits of 1973 to follow us.

That was a fun team and that was METS baseball. There are a lot of similarities between the teams and divisions.

J Merritt
J Merritt

Is this what hope feels like???

helloboy
helloboy

That W-L against the Nats is scary...13 games left against them.

C Nerrie
C Nerrie

Gee, Matt, who cares about .500? That can't be what TC and DW were talking  about. 

I'd like to see an analysis of what it will take to get into the playoffs 

If Nats/Braves go .500 (35-34 for Nats, 34-33 for Braves) for their last  games, they end the season with 86 wins.  To match that we need to go 41-26 (.612).

If end-of-season records match current run differential %:

Nats would win 88 games 

Braves would win 82 games

We would win 83 games

For wild card, if we could climb over Pirates/Reds/Cardinals/Giants, we would need only one of Braves/Nats to falter. Interesting that Pirates, Reds, Cards are all in the same division. Will they knock each other out?

Incredibly difficult, of course, to sweep teams, but we're close to having our fate in our own hands, i.e., beat them when we meet them, and match them in other games. 

We have: 

13 with Nats 

6 with Braves 

4 with Giants 

3 with Cards 

3 with Reds 

0 with Pirates 

First of these is 4 with Giants Aug 1-4, then 3 at home with Nats Aug 5-7. Hopefully it's still possible by then.

Max Denby
Max Denby

Matt, I like your Blog.  I really do.  But if you mention being a .500 team once more i'm going to lose my mind.  That is NOT a goal.  And if it is, the standards of have fallen to pathetic levels around here.  The goal should be to make the post season, and build a winner.  Hoping for .500 is for losers. 

Doubleday
Doubleday

@imjimmybx Omar speaks perfectly good English, you idiot, and he didn't badmouth his players while trying to trade them.

theglider
theglider

The same Omar who bid against himself to give Oliver Perez $36 million? Or Luis Castillo $24 million ? Or signed Jason Bay? That brilliant Omar Minaya?

theglider
theglider

Where is it said he's satisfied with sub .500? He says they've shown they can compete and he's right.

theglider
theglider

Actually long steaks require good pitching. We've got that.

And they have won games recently that looked lost. Too bad you were too busy to notice.

James
James

@Jimmy P. I think there is a big difference between rooting for .800 baseball and .545 baseball.  This team has played better than its .470 record and is capable of playing .545 ball with the right breaks and performances.


The question is if the first losing streak turns into a spiral that TC can't control.  History has said that that will be the case as it has happened every year TC has been here, but heck maybe even old dogs learn new tricks.

lindro88
lindro88

@Jimmy P.  They won't keep winning 8 of every 10 games.  No team does that.  The question is can they have one real big month. This road trip will answer quite a bit IMO.  They have been terrible coming out of the break.  They need to go 6-4 minimum on this trip.  It's not as bad as the usual west coast swings they take.  The Padres are not a good team.  They are ok at home, and I expect tough, low scoring games.  Seattle is actually a good team,  but not a powerhouse, and they miss Felix.  Finally Milwaukee.  They are back to earth.  So if we can go out and have a winning trip, I think it could give this team some real confidence when they come home.

theglider
theglider

If the pitching continues as it has they can keep winning. They've been missing timely hitting and a solid bullpen. They've gotten both lately. Not coincidentally that hitting has corresponded with both Lagares and Wright getting healthy and d'Arnaud doing well.

ken1010
ken1010

@archer41 

You're right.  They have a big hole to climb out of.

Winning series won't do it.  They need a 12-game winning streak or an exceptional 40-game run like the Dodgers had last year.  They can have nothing go wrong.  But if they only play reasonably well, there will be no meaningful games in September.

It's amazing how excited people get by 10 days of good baseball after five years of losing.  I still think they need to improve the offense to have a likely 90-win team next year.

rico
rico

@helloboy oh man, crossing my fingers we stay hot and they go the other way.  how cool would it be to "break" the Nats?


theglider
theglider

For a team that's had losing records for five years .500 this year would be great. It provides hope that next year, when we have Harvey and Parnell, we can do much better.

Max Denby
Max Denby

@theglider Also singed, delgado, beltran, developed reyes and wright, found dickey, drafted harvey, neise, gee, degrom, mejia, montero.  

theglider
theglider

Look at the pitching in past years. We had to hope with guys like Chris Capuano, Prlfrey or Chris Young. Now we have five pitchers who can throw lights out any game. I don't see a long losing streak with this rotation.

lindro88
lindro88

@James @Jimmy P.  If you would have told me the Mets would have 12 more runs scored than the Yankees at the ASB, I'd have thought you were crazy. 

lindro88
lindro88

I just realized it was a 10 game trip.  I'd sign up for 6-4. 

mi
mi

@theglider i think dwright is going to have a huge second half

upstater
upstater

@ken1010 People are forgetting that every team wins 1/3 of their games in a season, and that takes streaks.

Max Denby
Max Denby

@theglider I'm sorry, but i will never be satisfied with .500.  Being terrible in the past not an excuse for mediocrity in the present and future.  Every year is a new start. 

Max Denby
Max Denby

@nykjw2 @Max Denby Agree.  But .500 should be a first, short term goal for this team, with an eye on having winning record and making a run.  It's how winning organizations think and what their players buy into. 

lindro88
lindro88

@theglider  It's just hard to feel any sort of confidence.  We have all watched the same movie year after year.

James
James

@lindro88 I'd sign up for 5-5, but maybe I have been a Met fan for too long :)

lindro88
lindro88

@citifield @lindro88  I have to agree.  Normally I would think its crazy to put so much emphasis on 3 games in mid July.  However if they lose the series in SD, it could lead to an ugly trip.  Seattle is solid.  They need to go into that series with some MO

archer41
archer41

@upstater @ken1010 And I'm not trying to knock the Mets.  Just showing how difficult it is to compete when you're in a fairly deep hole this late in the year.  Of course, they can go on a tear like the Dodgers did last season, but I'm not holding my breath.  I wish they could get rid of TC because I do think, particularly this season, he's not done a good job managing.  It had to cost them a few games and this is a tight season.  

Eddie_Dean
Eddie_Dean

@Max Denby @nykjw2 That's fine for the players, but Cerrone is supposed to be an objective third party observer. With this team and the talent (or lack thereof) on the roster, is talking about the playoffs really realistic? Just to get back to .500 for the year, we're asking a team that's 5 games under now (and looked a lot worse at times), and has lost 83+ games 5 years or so in a row (and 88 the past 2 years), to play .537 baseball over the final 67. That's not impossible, but I'd call it about the boundary of realistic. Unless they bring in a major piece at the deadline, which I'm not expecting.


And that's not even taking into account the way they've come out of the break or their terrible 1st half/2nd half splits most of the past 6 or 7 years.......

theglider
theglider

Except this year they have new arms who are starting. In the past if Niese had a bad game we were looking at a losing streak of 7 or 8 games. Now we have deGrom and an older Wheeler and Dice-K and Colon. One of them, you'd hope, would pitch well and win.

lindro88
lindro88

@James @lindro88  I'd probably take 5-5.  Depends on how it happens.  Don't sweep the Pads and finish 5-5. 

Max Denby
Max Denby

@Eddie_Dean Low expectations yield low results.  Best teams hold themselves to the highest standards. You have to believe and think like a winner to be one.  

lindro88
lindro88

@citifield @lindro88  I'll be honest.  I'm just glad that I am interested enough to watch the game tonight.  A few weeks ago, they were on the brink of falling apart. 

lindro88
lindro88

@citifield @lindro88  The Padres have a miserable record, but are a game over .500 at home.  They are facing three pretty tough pitchers.  San Diego has not been kind to the Mets in recent years.  Or at least it seems that way.  The last good memory I have of a game in SD, was when Julio Franco (who just bashed his time as a Met) homered late in a game.  Before that it was Gary Carter hitting homeruns in 4 straight games. lol