What did Terry Collins and the Mets learn during a six-game winning streak that ended Thursday?
“They realize you’ve got to play a whole game,” the manager said after the Nats won, 4-3, on Thursday in D.C. “If things aren’t going very good, you can’t just throw in the cards. You’ve got to battle throughout the nine innings. We did today. We had the tying run on base in the ninth inning.”
Still, Collins said things were never as dire as they may have been externally perceived, even when the Mets were sitting at 4-11.
“One of the things people didn’t realize is even when we went through the losing streak, that we had the lead a number of times,” Collins said. “We just couldn’t keep it. We weren’t playing great baseball, but we weren’t playing horrible baseball at the time either. We got some hits. We got some big hits. We just couldn’t stop the other team at certain times. We weren’t playing very good defense.
“But you’ve got to realize you go in, take a shower, get some rest tonight and come back. We’ve got a tough weekend ahead of us, so we’ve got to get ready for tomorrow.”
The Mets face the Phillies this weekend. Vance Worley takes the start instead of injured Joe Blanton (elbow) in the opener, but Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee loom in the remainder of the series.
The Mets will be making their second trip to Philly this month, leading Collins to say: “It does seem weird. I can’t ever figure out how they set up the schedules.”
Still, Jason Bay -- who witnessed a loss Thursday for the first time in seven games since coming off the disabled list -- said the Mets are not in awe of Philadelphia’s starters. After all, the left fielder reasoned, how can Philadelphia’s staff constantly be made such a big deal when there are six series a year between the clubs?
“I think at this juncture it’s kind of a moot point, isn’t it?” Bay said. “We knew that in January or December, when Cliff Lee signed there. And they were tough before he got there. I think we can keep playing this [hype] game every time we play the Phillies. They're just another team, albeit a very good one. We’re playing better now. Hopefully that has a little momentum on our side.”