On Saturday the Mets rallied back from a 7-1 deficit to take a 9-7 lead, only to lose 11-9. It’s the type of loss that would have been crushing just a couple of weeks ago and now it’s just one of the many toss-up games that the Mets could have won. It’s just another loss in another season that has slipped away from the team.

Terry Collins received a lot of praise for the way he kept the team together after a 5-13 start. That was proper and Mets360 was among the many sites that extended him kudos. But you know what? The Mets are now 5-14 in their last 19 games and there are few, if any, signs that it’s going to improve going forward.

So, if Collins deserved praise for rallying the team from an abysmal start, what does he deserve for allowing the team to play at a .263 winning percentage the last three weeks?

It’s easy to make a defense for Collins. After all, the injury bug has certainly hurt and the Mets have traded away Francisco Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran. It’s not like Collins is managing with a full deck. Perhaps the best thing to say about Collins is that the team is still giving it maximum effort.

But does Collins really have it any worse than Jerry Manuel did? Last year Manuel had the Mets 11 games over .500 (41-30) before the team finished 38-53 (.418) and cost Manuel and others their jobs. Here’s some of what Manuel had to deal with down the stretch last season:

7/20 – Traded his Opening Day catcher
7/25 – Lost his Opening Day left fielder for the remainder of the season
7/31 – Traded his Opening Day right fielder
8/12 – Lost his closer for the remainder of the season
8/26 – Lost his shortstop for two weeks
9/2 – Lost his ace for the rest of the season

And this does not take into account the revolving door of suck that was second base and the sub-replacement level that Beltran gave in his first 39 games after returning from the DL, when he posted a .217/.333/.326 line from July 15th to August 27th, with defense to match.

Now, I’m not saying that Manuel deserved another chance. What I am saying is that if it was fair to hold Manuel accountable for the second half of 2010, it’s fair to hold Collins to the same standard.

Last year, the Mets were done in by a dismal month of July, when they went 9-17 (.346). This year’s club will have to turn it up a notch to match that record over an equivalent 26-game stretch. Currently at 5-14, the Mets will have to go 4-3 in their next seven games to match the stretch that essentially got Manuel fired.

From August 1st to the end of the year, the 2010 Mets went 26-32 (.448) and no one gave Manuel any credit for having his team play hard. Do you think the 2011 Mets will play that well over the same time period? So, what’s the difference then? Was the talent level of the 2010 squad better than what Collins has to work with now?

2011 Lucas Duda is a huge upgrade over the 2010 version. Justin Turner is better than what the Mets played at 2B last year. 2010 Angel Pagan had a .607 OPS from August 1st to the end of the year while 2011 Pagan has a .997 mark. 2010 Josh Thole had a .688 OPS the final two months of the year while this year’s version of Thole has a 1.054 OPS in August.

Which brings us to pitching. Last year R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese and Mike Pelfrey combined to go 35-28 with a 3.57 ERA. So far this year, that trio is 22-31 with a 4.14 ERA. And the raw numbers do not tell the whole story. This year, offense is down compared to a season ago. In 2010, the NL ERA was 4.02 for the season. So far it’s 3.84 this year. So in a year where the average ERA is about a fifth of a run lower than it was last year, these Mets pitchers are over a half run per game worse than they were a season ago.

We know that the Mets’ offense is better than it was in 2010. We think the manager and general manager are both better than a season ago. So if the Mets finish the same (or worse) than they did in the second half of last year what conclusion can we draw?

My belief is that we need to re-think our opinion of the manager. And after that, we need to give a long and hard look at the pitching coach. If our reevaluation of Collins determines that he’s not to blame for the poor play, than the blame has to land at the feet of Dan Warthen.

If the Mets continue their poor play for the remainder of the season, then either Collins or Warthen should not be here for Opening Day 2012.

12 comments on “Has Terry Collins been any better than Jerry Manuel?

  • Dan Stack

    Too much credit goes to coaches when they win, and way to much criticism when they lose. Your right, on the surface it doesn’t seem to be that much different. However, the club just needed a new voice and an a change in culture.

  • Metsense

    Jerry had an ace for 29 starts. This staff desperately needs one. TC lost his closer earlier and never had a LF. TC motivates, Jerry had some unusual ideas on game management. Both seem old school at a time this organization needs a more progressive thinking manager in the mold of Valentine and Johnson but a younger version. Last year’s Mets were an unacceptable 79-83 and this team appears to be on track for a slightly worse record. From this fan’s perspective they are a grittier team this year and more entertaining. In the end, your record is the gauge of your success. (This also applies to the pitching coach).

    • Brian Joura

      Hey Metsense – thanks as always for reading and commenting!

      One thing I would say is that while Manuel did have Santana for 29 starts, he won 11 games last year. Dillon Gee has won 11 games. Now, I’m not saying Gee=Santana and I’m not discounting that there is an advantage when the other team sees Santana’s pitching. But from a purely bottom line POV the 11 wins that Santana gave the 2010 Mets have been matched by a pitcher not on the major league roster through a similar time period a year ago.

      The last thing I want this article to be about is a “Wow, we never should have fired Jerry Manuel!” We should have never hired him in the first place but given that we did, we should have fired him a lot sooner.

      It’s just that this team will win somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 games and I don’t think the coaching staff should get a free pass for that.

      • Chris

        Pitcher wins is an awful measuring stick. First off, you have 2 completely different pitchers whose numbers beyond wins couldn’t be any different. Johan in 29 starts had a 3.5 WAR, while Gee in 8 less starts is barely above average at 0.3. Plus he’s tailed off tremendously in the past 3 weeks. You also have a team that is at the top of the league in runs scored, so even though the guy gives up a shit ton of hits on a very low BABIP his offense bails him out, unlike Johan whose team had zero offense all year. Lets talk about the pen. Even though Jerry managed the pen horrendously, at least he had better options. Taka, Feliciano, hell even K-Rod were much better options than what we have now. Jerry had a very similar team to what we are trotting out there now 2 yrs ago and he won 70 games. He also had Johan for most of that year as well. There is no way you can possibly try to pin this on Terry.

        • Brian Joura

          Hi Chris – thanks for reading and commenting.

          If you are comparing the *quality* of pitchers, then Wins are *not* what you would use. But when you are comparing the impact that pitchers had, then wins is perfectly acceptable. We count wins in the final analysis, not WAR or FIP or any other stat. Santana is a better pitcher than Gee and it’s not particularly close. However, Santana contributed 11 wins to the bottom line of the 2010 Mets, just like Gee has done for the 2011 squad.

          You say that Manuel had better options. Well if we look at quality, we see that Feliciano had a 3.77 xFIP for the 2010 Mets while Byrdak has a 3.27 xFIP. Takahashi had a 3.75 xFIP last year while Parnell has a 3.02 xFIP this year. Both had K-Rod for at least half a season, although Manuel had him for about a month longer.

          I don’t know what to say if you think the team the Mets were trotting out in the end of 2009 is equivalent to what they have now. That team was relying on Omir Santos, Luis Castillo and Alex Cora. On the pitching side, four pitchers in the rotation had ERAs over 5, while Bobby Parnell had a 7.93 ERA in 8 starts. The injuries were somewhat similar (they were worse in ’09) but Alderson gave Collins better players than Minaya gave Manuel for injury replacements.

          I’m not trying to pin anything on Terry Collins. All I want is for everyone ranging from fans to the GM to be consistent in how they evaluate managers

          • Shea Strausman

            I’m sorry, but no. Not just no, but a big, whopping, emphatic no. The kind of no found on billboards and your co-workers face when you ask her if she wants to “see a movie some time.” No, no. No. No. No.

            You can’t use wins to determine the impact a pitcher has on the team because wins does not, as a metric, measure that. What does “wins” measure? It measures whether, on a given day, the offense scored more runs then the pitcher gave up over at least five innings, and the defense/bullpen was able to hold it. In this equation, the pitcher controls only 1/3 of the equation.

            Santana contributed 20 quality starts, Gee has given 9, which is sort of what you’re “getting at,” but you’re using flawed metrics to do so. Looking past that, Santana had an ERA of 2.98 and an ERA+ of 134, whereas gees numbers are 4.37 and an ERA+ of 87. Like, its really no comparison. At all. Saying having Gee is similar to having Santana is just…well…No.

            “You say that Manuel had better options. Well if we look at quality, we see that Feliciano had a 3.77 xFIP for the 2010 Mets while Byrdak has a 3.27 xFIP. Takahashi had a 3.75 xFIP last year while Parnell has a 3.02 xFIP this year. Both had K-Rod for at least half a season, although Manuel had him for about a month longer.”

            You’re picking and choosing data. Isolating 2 random pitchers and comparing them against 2 other random pitchers from this year doesn’t do tell us anything. What does tell us something is that in 2011 the mets bullpen has an era of 4.38. In 2010 it was ALMOST A FULL RUN BETTER at 3.59. The bullpen was clearly better in 2010, to say anything else would be akin to claiming the NO your co-worker said was actually a yes.

      • Gehoff

        Did you just use wins to compare pitchers performance?

  • The Coop

    This team has hovered around .500 this entire season. If they continue that trend finish 81-81, Collins will be a vast improvement over Manuel no question. Collins has kept the team focused in times where there could be distractions (Wilpons comments, Beltran being traded, Reyes’ contract buzz and his injuries). He’s also kept the team playing over their heads when they’ve suffered significant setbacks to their offense (Murphy, Davis, Reyes and Wright, plus the other guys seem to play hard for him). Collins has had to make do with what he has had, not concentrate on who he has lost and whether the team is any good with scrubs (I call this “talking to him about the living.”) Collins may not be the long-term solution but he’s certainly Mr. Right Now.

    • LGM

      But that’s not where they’re at now. Six games under .500 and sinking like a rock. At this rate they’ll be lucky to win 75 games. There’s 36 games left and they have to go 21-15 to finish at .500 for the season. If they are close to .500 then we can say Collins has done a good job. But if they are worse than what Jerry did last year – 79 wins – then TC has been a disappointment.

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  • Gehoff

    This lineup is missing Ike, Murph, and Reyes, and Beltran is gone. Of course it sucks. The pitching has been mediocre all year and since the Krod trade the bullpen has crumbled. This team needs health, a lot of pitching and Jason Bay to not hit cleanup. I don’t think any of these things can be blamed on the coaches, not even Bay because what are the alternatives? Hopefully given time Alderson can remedy all these problems.

  • […] Zone. And yes, I like what Terry Collins is doing in that room. I know the win tally is worse than Jerry Manuel’s final, fitful kicks last season, but Collins is doing what he was brought in here to do: fumigate […]

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