The Mets are a game under .500. They are 10½ games behind the Braves in the wild-card race. And they have only 45 games remaining. But there is not going to be another speech from Terry Collins about focusing and resolve and the like.
“I can’t keep giving speeches,” Collins said before the Mets prepared to head to the airport for a trip to Arizona and San Diego. “I can’t keep giving these guys pep talks. This is the big leagues. These are men. They have to realize what they’re facing. They have to realize what it takes to play here 162 times. They know exactly what they’re looking at. They know it’s the steepest climb of their life. ...
“As I’ve said before -- and I don’t necessarily mean young players -- there’s a lot of guys playing for jobs here, on this team. I want 25 guys next year that are willing to give me all they have 162 nights.”
David Wright, for one, isn’t checking the standings or out-of-town scoreboard.
“It means nothing what teams ahead of you are doing or any of that,” Wright said. “If you don’t win games, you’re not going to do anything anyway. You just have to go out there and try to win baseball games because, if you look at the standings, it’s obviously an uphill battle. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge, especially with the injuries that we’ve had. There’s no denying that.”
NIESELY DONE: Collins raved about Jon Niese’s 7 2/3-inning performance, which included being charged with a hard-luck 3-2 loss.
“I think the biggest key was mixing up pitches, using the changeup a little bit more, and just staying in the bottom of the zone and elevating when I needed to,” Niese said.
Said Wright: “I love the days that he pitches. He works fast. For the most part he throws strikes. Today I thought he had real, real good stuff. He made a lot of those hitters look foolish. It’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get him some runs. But I think he understands with the patchwork lineup that we’re throwing out there, he has to be pretty much near-perfect to get a win.”
LOW BLOW: Regarding the pitch that Nick Evans took for a called third strike with the bases loaded, and which led to the ejection of hitting coach Dave Hudgens, Collins said: “The ball was low.” ... The Mets' three hits matched their season low.