Friday, September 16, 2011
Terry Collins unhappy with execution
By Adam Rubin
ATLANTA -- A day after saying his team had "folded it up" in a loss that completed a 1-8 homestand, New York Mets manager Terry Collins shook up his lineup for Friday night's series opener against the Atlanta Braves.
Collins said Friday that he was not displeased with the recent effort of his players. Instead, the manager said his displeasure mostly centered on execution.
The Mets enter the weekend a season-worst eight games under .500. They scored five runs while getting swept in a four-game series by the Washington Nationals. The Mets have now committed 111 errors this season, trailing only the Chicago Cubs' 124 among National League teams.
"I don't think it's ever effort. It's obviously all the execution side," Collins said. "Sometimes that can go hand in hand, but I watch these guys work in the cage. I watch them work on the field. So it's not the effort side. We just haven't been executing at all. ... Anytime you don't hit, the games can look slow. The games can look like there's no energy."
Said third baseman David Wright, who has eight errors in his past 10 games: "I feel like we're prepared. I think the coaches prepare us. It's just that we're not performing to the capability we can. You always want to finish strong. And I think when you don't do that, you're under the microscope a little more. I just think the timing of the little rut we've gone in is bad timing. Everybody in here wants to finish strong. I don't think it has anything to do with a lack of effort or anybody counting down the days."
Collins said after a 10-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday: "Perception is reality in our game and the perception I have right now is we've folded it up. You want to see intenseness? You want to see me be intense? You guys are going to see it. I won't play that game. You come and play the game right. I don't care what the situation is. I don't care about anything but playing the game correctly. That's all I care about. Our fans should be upset. I don't blame them one bit."
Collins did not have a team meeting to address his concerns. Instead, after publicly airing his disgust in Thursday's postgame news conference, he addressed the matter with individual players, he said.
"I talked to a couple of guys just about some things that have got to change a little bit," Collins said. "And they know it. They were as frustrated as I was. Make no mistake about it, these guys are proud. And nobody likes to play as bad as we played certainly in the last homestand."
With Friday's lineup tinkering, Angel Pagan returns to the No. 2 hole for the first time since April 16. Wright and Lucas Duda flip-flop again, back to their August alignment, with Wright No. 3 and Duda in the cleanup spot. Jason Bay also moves up a slot to No. 5, taking Pagan's former position.
"Last winter we sat around and we talked about the makeup of this club and we said we were going to lead off Jose (Reyes), we were going to hit Pagan second, Wright third and (Carlos) Beltran fourth," Collins said. "I just went back and said, 'You know what? I'm going to do that.' & Beltran's not here, but his replacement (Duda) is."
Collins said he did not consider benchings as part of his shakeup.
"I'm trying to obviously get the guys we called up some playing time," Collins said. "But I still believe we've got to go out and compete on a nightly basis. And I'm going to play the guys that have been here all summer."
Adam Rubin covers the Mets for ESPNNewYork.com.