Playing for Momentum

Matthew Cerrone , Lead Writer

This past Saturday, after the Mets beat the Padres, I wrote this: “The win guarantees this will be a winning road trip for the Mets. It’s been a long 10 games. I’m sure Monday’s off day can’t come fast enough for these guys. Hopefully they don’t look beyond tomorrow.”

The Mets then lost the following day, and – to be frank – they looked listless and kind of like a bunch of guys who were eager to get out of town, on a plane, and head home. I can’t say I blame them, but it’s no excuse. Sunday is exactly the type of game that Terry Collins is going to be judged on. He preaches hard work, he preaches hustle, he preaches playing the game the right way. And, for the most part, his team has adhered to these standards. The thing is, most professional baseball teams do. The difference is that successful teams – in addition to having better players – do this day in and day out. I suspect Terry wants the same thing from his roster, and I didn’t see that Sunday.

It’s one day. I don’t want to go too bananas here. But, as this season plays itself out, it’s going to be important for him to get the most out of every player on the roster, and not just let them slide toward irrelevance. I think of 2005, during Willie Randolph’s first season, when the Mets were basically .500 and in last place around this time of the year (when the Braves were running away with the division). The Mets played strong down the stretch and finished 83-79 and in third place, snapping a string of three straight years of losing records. I’m still holding out hope the Mets catch fire, pull off a miracle and reel themselves back in to a pennant race. But, if they don’t, at the very least, much like at the very start of the season, I expect them to play better than Sunday, finish strong, and create some momentum for 2013.