Mets won't quit despite elimination

ATLANTA -- Terry Collins does not expect the Mets to let up now that they mathematically have been eliminated from postseason contention.

“We’ve just got to play the game right,” Collins said after the Mets’ 5-0 win against the Atlanta Braves on Friday night, in Game No. 154. “As I said earlier today, I know we’ve only got a few games left, but you know what? We signed up to play 162 and play them hard. Just finish it off strong, play strong, go out and do the right things, execute like we’re supposed to, and the wins will take care of themselves. You know, I still believe people come to the ballpark to see the game played right.”

Collins said the fact that the Mets are playing a ton of young players with things to prove ensures a high level of energy.

“Well, we’ve got some young guys,” Collins said. “If they pack it in, you won’t see them again. That’s why it’s nice this time of year to bring those young guys up, because they add a lot of energy to the team. And our veteran guys, they’re great guys. There’s never been a question of how hard they’re going to play. We’ll finish it up. We’ll finish it up strong.”

Asked if there was any sting about being mathematically eliminated, Collins said: “Well, yeah, but the sting has been we didn’t accomplish what we wanted to. We certainly came out of spring training with high hopes of putting together a nice run. We just never seemed to get it going. That’s been the biggest disappointing thing, because if you can’t get it going, playoff runs are going to end. You’re not going to be in them.

“As I told the guys walking around the outfield during batting practice, ‘We’ve got eight games to go. We’re still in the hunt. That says a lot.’ That says that they hung in there when times were tough. Some of our guys are gone, they’re down right now, and they just keep playing.”

The Mets, despite a 74-80 record, actually can finish as high as second place in the NL East. The free-falling Braves occupy that slot now, with a 76-77 record.

“We aren’t done playing,” said Zack Wheeler, who tossed six scoreless innings Friday despite a high pitch count. “Obviously we can’t get first anymore, but we’re going for the second spot. It’s good to bear down right here and finish out the season strong going into next season.”