New York Mets manager Terry Collins had maintained remarkable composure this season, suggesting his combustible version from the 1990s had indeed been retired as he has aged. But Collins had seen enough on Wednesday night. So first he exploded at his players in a postgame tirade. Then he expressed the same frustration to the media, minus the profanity.
He certainly was entitled.
The Mets wasted a solid pitching performance by Chris Capuano, butchering multiple plays in a five-run seventh inning by the Pirates that included five infield hits and resulted in a 9-3 defeat.
"Obviously, when you're not playing well, and you're manager gets on you a little bit, it kind of wakes you up," said Willie Harris, who started at third base and was involved in two of seventh-inning the misplays.
Harris added that this was "no doubt" the angriest he had ever seen Collins.
"When I play, I play hard, and I want to win," Harris continued. "And everybody in this clubhouse wants to win. And when the manager comes in here and he gives it to you like that, it's almost like you upset your mother. Nobody wants that."
Asked about the seventh inning in the postgame press conference, Collins erupted for the cameras.
"What they get -- eight hits, seven infield hits?" he asked. "And we look up and we're behind. … I've got to take a guy [Capuano] out of a baseball game who's pitched his a-- off."
Collins had emphasized fundamentals since spring training, and was at a loss for an explanation. The manager said it was not a valid excuse that the Mets are lacking three starting infielders: Ike Davis, Jose Reyes and David Wright.
"I'm running out of ideas here," Collins said. "Do we play hard? Absolutely. That's not the issue. The issue is not effort. That's not it. It's about execution. We have to add on some points when we get the lead. And I'm not looking for home runs. I'm looking for quality at-bats. We can't make careless mistakes. We do. We give up at-bats. We can't do that. We don't have that kind of team.
"I've told you guys, make no mistake about it, I truly believe in the players we have. I don't care where they started out the season. I don't care. I don't care who were All-Stars and who weren't All-Stars. This is a team thing. It's not one guy. It's not two guys. This is the whole team thing.
"I sit up every night trying to figure out what can we do to get us over the top. Should we hit-and-run more? Well, who do you have up there? You have guys up there you shouldn't hit-and-run with. Should we bunt more? Well, if we don't get bunts down, you're putting them in situations to fail. Guys are pitching good. We get in situations where we've got to make a pitch, we don't make a pitch. I don't have the answers. I'm searching. I'm wringing the rag dry of coming in here and having to look at you [media] guys, and having you look at me like I'm a stinking fool. And I told these guys: 'We're good enough. We've got to go play the game right.' We just can't continue to make foolish mistakes."
Collins said he is prepared to turn over the roster if execution does not improve, even if there's not much left at Triple-A Buffalo.
"They're big league players. They should be able to do it," Collins said about the current 25-man roster. "I don't know if it's not anticipating the play. I don't know. I'm not in their minds. But it's how you play the game. This is a team thing. And I'm not pointing fingers at the players, all of them, either. I told the coaches: 'We've got to do a better job. We've got to take responsibility for this.' I'm the manager. It comes back on my shoulders. I'll take all the sucking blame that anybody wants to hand out.
"That seventh and eighth inning are my players that I put out there. I truly believe in them. Therefore maybe I've got to make some adjustments. And, by god, they'll be made. I don't know if it comes with finding different players. But they'll be made. Something is going to be changing."