It took just 11 games, but Terry Collins is mad as hell and ready to kick some fanny. The combustible manager, in the aftermath of the Mets’ sixth loss in seven games, let his team have it last night. There was no mincing of words in a closed-door meeting by Collins, tired of watching the Mets fail to respond from taking a punch. One Mets player said Collins, without pointing fingers at individuals, went ballistic.
The aggravation was still evident on Collins’ face when he conducted his post-game press conference minutes later.
“We’ve been in every game, and we’ve got to start winning them,” Collins said after the Mets’ 5-4 loss to the Rockies at Citi Field. “We’re one pitch away and one swing away from being 9-2, and we’re not. But the next 11 we need to be 9-2. We need to get it going and do the things we haven’t done thus far.”
The one swing last night came from Troy Tulowitzki, whose three-run homer in the fifth inning against Jon Niese staggered the Mets (4-7) after they had built a 3-1 lead. Collins can share in the blame for electing to pitch to the sizzling Tulowitzki with first base open and two outs.
But Collins said it was too early in the game to start walking hitters. Neither Niese nor catcher Josh Thole seemed upset with the pitch, a 90-mph fastball off the plate.
“We were hoping for a pop fly to right, and the ball just kept going,” Thole said.
Collins put the emphasis on the Mets’ anemic response to Tulowitzki’s home run rather than focusing on the decision to pitch to the All-Star shortstop. After Ryan Spilborghs’ solo homer for Colorado in the sixth, the Mets scored just once and had nine straight batters retired to end the game.
“There’s a gut sensation you get,” Collins said. “I’ve been on teams where you go through stretches like this and it’s easy to slough off. It’s easy to say, ‘Woe is me. Here we go again. We’re just getting ready for tomorrow.’ We’ve got to press forward.”
David Wright said Collins’ postgame message was well received.
“We’ve got to stay away from getting deflated emotionally,” Wright said. “We’ve got to start winning these close games.”
Last night’s disaster started with a one-out walk to Seth Smith in the fifth. Jonathan Herrera followed with a single and Carlos Gonzalez’s ground out moved runners to second and third. With Jose Lopez on deck, Niese got ahead 0-1 to Tulowitzki before throwing a fastball that landed about seven rows deep just inside the right-field foul pole. Tulowitzki’s homer Monday night against Bobby Parnell also helped sink the Mets.
“I wanted to pitch to him,” Niese said. “You just have to tip your cap to him and go after the next guy.”
Niese’s final line included five earned runs allowed over six innings on seven hits and three walks. It was a second straight clunker for Niese, who got bludgeoned for six runs over four innings in the Mets’ 11-0 loss to the Phillies last Thursday.
Wright and Carlos Beltran singled in succession to start the seventh, leading to Angel Pagan’s sacrifice fly that pulled the Mets within 5-4. But that was the Mets’ last gasp.
“It’s a group thing,” Collins said. “I’ll take responsibility. Maybe I’m not getting them ready good enough. Maybe we need to do a better job in our pregame meetings. I’ll take that.”