TC doesn't second-guess Howard matchup

Terry Collins said he knew Charlie Manuel would counter with Ryan Howard as a pinch hitter with two on, two out and the score tied in the seventh inning once Collins replaced Jonathon Niese with Scott Atchison.

But, Collins decided, Niese was done. And the manager did not mind an Atchison-Howard matchup.

Ryan Howard

Ryan Howard

#6 1B
Philadelphia Phillies

2013 STATS

  • GM24
  • HR3

  • RBI16

  • R10

  • OBP.299

  • AVG.286

"I knew they were going to put Howard in," Collins said. "Scott Atchison's breaking ball is really difficult to hit. I don't care who it is. The issue is he fell behind and tried to sneak a fastball by him and didn't get it in. He didn't make the pitch he wanted.

"But, you know, Jon was done. He started to get stiff to start the inning. He said, 'Hey, look, let me go out.' ... One hundred fifteen pitches is a lot."

Said Niese about departing: "I didn't want to obviously ... My pitch count was up there. The situation called for it, but I definitely wanted to be in there."

Howard produced a tie-breaking two-run double and the Phillies ultimately beat the Mets, 5-1, Sunday afternoon.

"I didn't execute the pitch," Atchison said.

"It comes down to we didn't support him," catcher John Buck said about the offense, which again struggled and mustered three hits.

The Mets have produced five hits or fewer in five of their past seven games.

On that topic, Collins offered: "By the way, I don't know if anybody else was watching. We only got three hits. We need to get better there, too."

Collins noted Niese should have been out of the inning unscathed. Buck dropped a two-out pop fly near the Phillies' dugout that would have made it a 1-2-3 inning.

"We were out of the inning," Collins said. "We didn't make a play. In this game, in our game, at our level, you give good teams extra outs, they're going to do some damage."

Should Buck really have caught ball?

"I can't tell," Collins said. "They gave him an error. I looked on the scoreboard, there was an error. That means that somebody thought he should have caught it. I know it's a long run. It's a tough play for a catcher. But we didn't make the plays we needed."

Buck threw himself under the bus -- fairly or unfairly.

"If it hit my glove, I should have been able to catch it," Buck said.

Said Laynce Nix, who hit the dropped pop, then singled in the prolonged at-bat: "I was watching it. It was five rows deep and came back pretty hard. It was a tough play."

As for the Mets dropping three games under .500, Collins said there's no reason to panic.

"We're not in a hole," Collins said. "You have a good May you bounce out of it."