Yes, the Mets completed a relatively rare sweep of the division-rival Phillies, but that wasn't the reason why. The reason was David Wright -- more specifically, his absence from the lineup.
"I look at today’s game as a very big game for us with the loss of David," Collins said. "I wanted to see how the guys came out -- they came out this afternoon ready to go."
Collins is right -- there appeared to be no letdown, despite the fact that the team captain was placed on the disabled list earlier in the day after suffering a strained hamstring the night before.
The Mets pounded the Phillies, and it was a total team effort. Every member of the starting lineup other than Daniel Murphy had at least one hit -- including Wright's replacement at third base, Eric Campbell. Travis d'Arnaud and Lucas Duda smacked their first home runs of the season. And Jonathon Niese allowed just one run in 6 1/3 innings, scattering nine hits, before Carlos Torres and Alex Torres finished the job.
Niese didn't sound surprised by his team's performance, despite being without Wright.
"This is one speed bump in the road, and I know we’re gonna be able to get through it," Niese said. "I know we have a good team. Good camaraderie in the clubhouse, we all fight for each other. We’re gonna pick him up, and he’s gonna pick us up when he gets back."
D'Arnaud was already off to a good start this season, but Collins appears to have pushed the right button by bumping him up to No. 2 in the batting order, the spot formerly occupied by Wright. The young catcher went 2-for-4 with a walk, including his solo shot into the left-field seats in the third inning.
"It meant the world to me," d'Arnaud said of Collins moving him up to the 2-hole.
Duda was also off to a good start, and added to it with a blast over the right center-field wall in the fifth inning and an RBI double in the sixth.
"It’s a huge blow, everyone knows that," Duda said, of losing Wright for at least two weeks. "[But] I think we can all band together and make this thing work until he’s ready to go."
The Mets sound like a confident bunch right now -- and rightfully so. They've won four in a row and improved to 6-3 on the young season, tied for first place with the Braves.
Their starting rotation could be one of the best in baseball. And their lineup, even without Wright, appears competitive -- anchored by d'Arnaud and Duda, who are hitting .333 and .353, respectively.
Wright himself expressed great confidence in his teammates prior to the game.
"These guys are gonna do just fine," Wright said. "We’ve got really good players that are gonna go out there and be very productive, and I expect to win a lot of games in those two weeks."
Well, they're 1-0 without him. But bigger tests lie ahead. The Phillies, widely expected to be one of the worst teams in the National League, are headed out of town.
We'll learn a lot more about the 2015 Mets with games against the Marlins, Braves and Yankees up next.