NEW YORK -- Terry Collins' frustration was obvious, and understandable.
His New York Mets team had lost yet another home game to the Washington Nationals, a game the Nationals tried very hard to give away. The new blocking-the-plate rule came into play again, with the call going against the Mets and with everyone still confused. And while the Mets were losing 3-2 to the Nationals, Matt Harvey was on ESPN New York 98.7 FM talking about how (instead of backing off) he was throwing baseballs 90 mph.
After this day, who could blame him?
Begin with the game, the Mets' 10th consecutive home loss to the Nationals (and their 24th in the last 28 home games vs. Washington). Bartolo Colon was very good, the Mets matched the Nats for home runs (one apiece), and the Nationals played a sloppy game that handed New York one big run and one huge opportunity to score more.
Still, the Mets lost.
"This is a tough one, because they gave us a chance to beat them," Collins said.
And then there was that ninth-inning play at the plate, the latest in a string of calls that have left the Mets (and plenty of other teams) confused about how the new collision rule is actually being applied.
On this one, Matt den Dekker was ruled out as he was coming home trying to score the tying run. The umpires went to replay to see if Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was illegally blocking the plate, but the ruling from replay central was that he wasn't.
Collins' problem was that the play seemed identical to one in a Wednesday afternoon game in San Francisco. The only difference: That call was overturned, giving the San Francisco Giants the tying run in their game against the Chicago White Sox.
"Four hours ago, he's safe," Collins said. "Four hours later, he's out."
Den Dekker said he had no idea whether he should have been called safe or out. He also seemed to think that the rules prevented him from running into Ramos, even though the rule says the runner can hit the catcher if he is blocking the plate while holding the ball.
"Your instincts say you want to jar the ball loose," den Dekker said. "But you can't do that."
Actually, you can, although with the inconsistent way the rule has been applied, who knows?
The way this day went for Collins and the Mets, all anyone knew is that it was going to lead to more frustration.