Oct 30 Terry Collins pregame interview
Q. How do you gauge the confidence level of your team, the pulse of your team coming into tonight?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, we're still excited. We still have a lot of confidence. After the game you could hear the conversation; we've been in tough holes before. We're used to it. We're used to playing with adversity, like a lot of Big League clubs. And I thought Michael put it pretty good yesterday when he said, "You've got to win four anyway. Start now." So we're not down, we're positive. We certainly like Noah going tonight. We think he'll pitch well. We have to start swinging the bats and getting some runs to work.
Q. What do you see in Cespedes? And how much do you think the shoulder affecting him?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, he tells me even though it's not a hundred percent, he said it doesn't hurt to swing at all. He said he's fine. He's a big part of our order, but I always look at the other team once in a while and again they pitch pretty good. So we've got to get everybody going in our lineup.
Q. You had Chris Young in 2011, 2012. Could you talk a little bit about your impressions of him then and how he has evolved to what he is now.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, if you know Chris Young, you root for him. Unfortunately I'm on the other side of the field, so I don't want to root hard for him. He's one of the best people you'll ever meet. He's worked very, very hard to come off the different injuries he's had, his shoulder, his back, but you cheer for him. He's a tremendous guy, a great family man. I'm not surprised. This guy is extremely intelligent when he pitches. He knows what he wants to do. He writes up his own game plan how he's going to attack the hitters, and everybody is excited that knows him that he's had success. I hope tomorrow night he makes a few mistakes, but you've got to be on his side.
Q. We've watched Noah all year not only mature as a pitcher, but his intensity and his preparation. When you see what he did in LA, Game 5, does that make you not worry at all about tonight?
TERRY COLLINS: I'm not worried at all about tonight, about his emotions. One of the things that we thought was going to help a lot of our guys, Matt, Jacob, Matz, Conforto, is to play in this kind of a scenario where you find out it's still a game. The noise is a little louder, a lot more people, but it's still the game. You've still got to go out and execute. I think what Noah did early in the postseason set that up. Hey, look, I belong here, I can pitch here, and even though it's a bigger, brighter stage I'm good enough. And I think that's helped him a lot. That confidence, when you have that kind of stuff, really makes a difference.
Q. If you could think back to when the Mets hired you in 2010, did you have any expectations for how long it might take to get to this point? And if so, what were those expectations? Did you have a timeline?
TERRY COLLINS: I'll tell you, when I got the job, again, I didn't look down the road. I looked at the team we had coming up, and we had a pretty good team. And again one of the things -- when you're in the wintertime you're looking at your lineup saying, Well, if these guys all do what the back of the baseball card says, we have a chance to be pretty good. All of a sudden injuries are involved and you make a couple of trades. But to watch Jose win the batting title. We had some good players. So when you started seeing us move some guys to build for the future, you couldn't put a timetable on it, because you know it doesn't happen overnight. Last fall when I knew David was coming back healthy and I knew Matt was coming back healthy, and obviously the job Jake did last year, we had Zack Wheeler coming back, I said, Wow, our pitching staff is pretty good. You look at our bullpen with Bobby Parnell was going to be healthy, and we had Mejia and we had Familia and we had Vic Black. We said, Wow, we're legit there. If we get a bat, we're gonna be pretty good. And sure enough we get Michael Cuddyer. So going into Spring Training, we said we should be in the hunt here. But certainly in 2010 you had no idea how long it was going to take.
Q. Sticking with Conforto, is that because you've seen something in his at-bats that's better than the numbers are? He hasn't had a hit since the Division Series but you've praised his at-bats all year.
TERRY COLLINS: Yeah, that's exactly -- we met today, coaches got together today and we talked about tonight and Ventura and what we've got to do. I'll tell you what, it was 100 percent, listen, this is the team we won with. This is the team that's had most success against right-handed pitching; this is the team we should go with. This guy has had very, very good at-bats, and has nothing to show for it. But certainly we can't put what we're doing offensively on the shoulders of Michael Conforto. He goes up there and every time he gets in the batter's box, you think he's going to hit one in the seats. The confidence is there from the coaches, and I totally agree with it. Again, if you show panic now, it could spread in the clubhouse, and I'm not going to do that. I like our lineup. I like what they've done all year long. You go through ups and downs, but as we've seen, when they break out, they're good. And tonight they need to break out.
Q. With Cespedes you talked about him earlier, what have you seen in his at-bats? As hot as he was when you first got him for a while, did that create unrealistic expectations?
TERRY COLLINS: Even Murph, not just Cespedes. They get hot and you hope it lasts forever and you know it's not. That's the game, the game is going to humble you sometimes. They're making good pitches on him. They're not giving him much to hit. They've got good scouts, too. So when you execute the game plan against certain guys, it's tough to get hits against good pitching. It's the same thing I told you about Michael, I'll tell you what, we're sitting on the bench and people say, Geez, are they pitching around Murph to get to Cespedes? I'm thinking, I like that, get him up there with guys on. You know with one swing of the bat he can change the game. And I hope tonight is the night.
Q. Are you seeing anything with Travis in his swing? Six strikeouts in his last 20 and only three hits.
TERRY COLLINS: I see a couple of things, yeah. Again, but he's an aggressive guy, when he's swinging good, he stays aggressive. He does a lot of damage early in the counts because he's looking for something early, and right now he's missing them. He's fouling them off. Last couple of games he's got behind in the count. He does a lot more damage when he can get it earlier, gets ahead in the count. So, again, you're naming another guy in our lineup that's struggling. So we can sit here and talk all nine of them right now, but we've just got to put it together and we've done that. We've bounced back when times were tough. And it's never -- seems like it's one or two guys, someone else steps up. And right now we need everybody to step up.
Q. Talking about the lineup, Flores is a guy that hasn't got a lot of hits the first two games, but he's had some good at-bats. Is that something you've noticed that he's a guy that's ready to have some fall-in?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you hope so, but he's the shortstop. And he's here because he can hit. I'm not surprised that he's had quality at-bats. We're facing again a little different animal tonight than we've seen. We've got to make our adjustments. We've got to stay the course, stay with our approach, because we've had success with it. The minute we get away from it is when we struggle. That's what Kevin and Pat are talking about in the cages. Stay with what we've got us here, and it's going to work. Tonight we need to get it going.