Okay, okay. Only four more of these to go.
That could mean just four more games in the Terry Collins era. Seven years and one pennant later, Collins has guided the Mets to a 549-581 record, a mediocre .486 winning percentage that a third wild card berth might make competitive. The news of the day was a New York Post report that the team’s next manager will have ties to the organization. Some of the names floated don’t inspire much confidence — retreads like Robin Ventura (.463 managerial winning percentage), Bob Geren (.470) and Chip Hale (.457) — though former BP’er Keith Law’s perennial favorite candidate, Alex Cora, is also on the list.
A Mets rumor article wouldn’t be complete without accompanying snark:
— Craig Calcaterra (@craigcalcaterra) September 26, 2017
But wait! There’s more! Mere hours after the Post article informed readers that Sandy Alderson will advise Collins by Monday that he’ll manage the Mets no more, NorthJersey.com posted Collins’s own comments. While the Post speculated that the 68-year-old Collins would retire from baseball rather than suffer the indignity of having his contract expire, Collins insisted in the later piece that he’ll be in baseball next season — preferably with the Mets. It’s no secret that Fred Wilpon loves him some Terry Collins. He’s probably not above forcing the general manager’s hand. Optimistically, though, for those of us who are tired of watching Collins manufacture creative ways to bench Michael Conforto, if Wilpon were going to insist that Collins stay, the owner wouldn’t have allowed the manager’s contract to inch so close to expiration. He gone.
Aside from helming the 2015 NL champs and 2016 Wild Card Game loser, Collins may deserve some credit for presiding over R.A. Dickey’s 2012 Cy Young season. I’ll leave it to others to eulogize the soon-to-be-former manager, because last night’s game brought back fond memories of the knuckleballer who dominated opposing lineups for his three-year Mets career. Through six innings, Dickey demonstrated pinpoint control of the unpredictable pitch, retiring 13 straight at one point. Brandon Nimmo had two of the Mets’ five hits against Dickey, including a second-inning double that his teammates wasted. Nimmo’s second safety in the seventh immediately preceded Kevin Plawecki’s third dinger of the season. When Amed Rosario followed two batters later with a triple, Dickey’s night was over. The few Mets fans in attendance gave him a nice ovation as he departed.
Technically, Rafael Montero delivered a quality start in his season’s final appearance. Three runs in six innings, no matter what else a pitcher does, conforms to the stat’s definition. Why was Montero’s start less than quality? Let us count the ways. First, he gave up all three runs in the first two innings, putting his team into an early hole. Next, he allowed 10 baserunners in those six innings, a ratio that inspires little confidence. Finally, Montero threw his typical 100 pitches but only struck out three Braves. If Montero is anything more than Triple-A depth in 2018, whoever manages the Mets will see a bunch more games like last night’s.
Still, a quality start is “quality” because it keeps a team in the game. The Mets were able to scratch across the tying run in the eighth thanks to an error by anonymous Braves third baseman Johan Camargo. After Jeurys Familia preserved the tie in the top of the ninth, the Mets walked off thanks to a Kevin Plawecki single, a Dom Smith walk and a Travis Taijeron line drive to left that would have been caught by nearly anyone other than anonymous Braves left fielder Jace Peterson. In this battle of who could care less, the Mets scored four and the Braves only three.
Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA Today Sports