There isn't much doubt that a good bit of the resiliency that the Mets have shown this year comes from Terry Collins.
Collins is a relentlessly positive force for the team, never engaging in any of the doom and gloom that marked Jerry Manuel's run in the dugout. Collins is getting much more than the sum of the parts available to him this year and he's proving to be one of the better managerial hires in Mets history as a result.
That doesn't mean he doesn't have his bad moments, however, or that he doesn't have entire weekends where it seems like he'd be incapable of ordering the right food at restaurants. This was one of those weekends, one where Collins kept walking into the closest sushi bar and trying to order the spaghetti with meatballs.
On Friday night, Robinson Cano faced Miguel Batista in the late innings and hit a home run that briefly appeared to be United flight 418 on its way into LaGuardia from Charleston. The Mets won, but it was hard to understand why Cano wasn't facing Tim Byrdak, whose ability to get lefties out is the reason for his existence.
On Saturday night, Raul Ibanez tied the game with a three-run homer off tiring starter Chris Young in the seventh inning and Eric Chavez hit the game-winning blast off Jon Rauch a few batters later. Byrdak again sat and watched as two lefties launched balls into the night.
On Sunday night, it was Cano and Batista again and a tie game in the eighth soon became a Yankee victory as a result. The Mets had come back from 5-1 down, but their fight was meaningless because Byrdak apparently infuriated Collins just enough for the manager to give up games rather than use him.
It was enough to make you wonder if Collins was afraid to get called a chicken by Frank Francisco if he simply colored inside the lines and used his lefty stopper to stop lefties that could ruin the Mets' night. It's not daredevil stuff, perhaps, but it's a lot more likely to result in victory.
Collins' press conference Sunday night seemed to confirm that the manager knew he made the wrong choice, although a move right after the game makes you think the blame goes further up the line as well. The Mets called up lefty Justin Hampson and designated Vinny Rottino for assignment, something that makes you wonder what they were waiting for in the first place.
The Mets, like most teams, aren't good enough to hand away runs and still win games. The Mets lost twice this weekend because Collins trusted the wrong guys, but he also didn't have enough guys to trust once Francisco became unavailable with a strained oblique muscle possibly caused by overstretching to call the Yankees chickens in the first place.
Collins' faith in players, even ones who have done nothing to deserve it, goes right next to his positive attitude as reasons why the Mets are outperforming expectations these days. It ruined his team against the Yankees, which should be a reminder that blind faith often leave its practitioners with little to show beyond faith itself.
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