Oct. 29 Terry Collins workout day interview
Q. I'm told that in hockey there's a saying that the series doesn't begin until the home team losses. Have you ever heard that? And even if you haven't would you please talk about it.
TERRY COLLINS: I've never heard that. I don't play hockey. That's a great statement. We're glad to be home. We've got our fan base behind us now, and that brings out a lot of energy in our guys. There's a lot of confidence in the clubhouse. I talked to them when we got back off the field last night. It was a similar refrain from the night before, that is, we're down, but we're not out. We fought back so many times this year, that this is just another challenge that we have to meet and so far we've met them all.
Q. When it comes to the offensive struggles right now, is it just what Kansas City is doing or are you seeing certain things with the at-bats that you'd like to get better?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, again, in postseason you face good pitching. That's how the other team gets here. With that good pitching comes some rough at-bats at times. And they have pitched us very, very well. So I see both. The other day I thought in Game 1 we had some very, very good at-bats early and then later on in the game in the extra innings we weren't quite as patient at times. So yesterday Johnny was, as we know Johnny can be, he was on and he was making pitches and keeping us off balance and changing speeds and doing all the things that he's very, very good at. One thing about him and we talked to Jake about it when the game is over. He's not afraid to throw a ball, because he can come back and throw a strike with the same pitch. What he does is he tries to pitch to the edges and if he misses he can repeat. So he pitched an outstanding game. So we've got to swing better. We know we're better offensively; we've got to certainly get it going.
Q. When you joined the organization in 2010 they weren't too far removed from the bad September and some of the losses down the stretch and some well-documented financial problems. What was the outside perception when you came here? And how would you describe the franchise's journey to this point?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, when I came to the Mets obviously I tried to do some background. Omar Minaya is a very, very good friend of mine. And when I got back from Japan he asked me to do the field coordinating thing in the Minor Leagues, which I did in Los Angeles and loved the job. And I was ready to retire anyway. So I said, yeah, it was such a good job, I loved it. And until I got here to New York I wasn't really worried about the perception outside of what we were doing in the Minor Leagues. When I got to New York you talk to people and you felt the frustration in the fan base after they lost and then the collapse of whatever year it was, I don't remember, but towards the end of the season, huge frustration. Of course it's always easy to point fingers and blame certain people, but it was a process. And that's the one thing Sandy and I continue to talk about when we got together, was hey, it's going to be a process to rebuild this, to put it all back together. I think he's done a remarkable job doing it. We've traded very, very good players, but here's the result. The end result is we've got young players that are going to make this organization strong for a long time. As I've said many times, I understand the frustration, especially after being in New York for as long as I have. I see it every day. I see it on the streets every day. It's competitive. It's dog eat dog. It's win, not lose, and so now when we ask for patience, and I've told you, that's not a word used in New York very much is patience. But you have to have it in our game, in our particular sport. It's easy to go out and spend millions and millions and millions, that's not necessarily the way to fix things. And I think we've done it the right way. That's why I tell them, look, we said last year there's a light at the end of the tunnel and it's bright. And you're seeing it right now. Next year, with this young pitching and some of the young pieces coming up, this team has got a chance to be strong for a long time.
Q. Even though Ventura doesn't have the reverse splits like Cueto, is there a chance because Juan Lagares looked pretty good, that he could be the center fielder with Cespedes in left field?
TERRY COLLINS: There's a chance.
Q. Secondly, I know you said Juan Uribe may not be that sharp at this point. Is there really no vehicle to get him in the games here other than as a pinch-hitter because you're not going to sit David, you're not going to move Murphy over to first base and sit Duda?
TERRY COLLINS: You know, you like to tinker with my lineup every day, I know you do. Right now we're glad to have Juan on the bench, and he poses a nice problem for the opposition manager because he is a guy that we're going to use off the bench at the moment, barring any other physical problems with the other guys. I like him in that role, I really do. That's where I think he's the most dangerous. So right now I have not written the lineup for tomorrow. I know you think I have. I have not written the lineup for tomorrow. When I do, again, it will be the contingency of who we're facing, how does he pitch, what's our best options, and as we get together as a coaching staff if the vote is that Juan should be a guy in there someplace, we're going to try to get him in. And if not, we'll go with the other guys.
Q. Your cap today, could you tell us why you chose that.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, our organization supports the NYPD, as strong as anyplace I've been around. I have some very, very close friends where I live in Long Island City, that are New York Police Department, so I'm honoring Police Officer Holder, and again, the job they do to keep our family safe and myself safe, we need to honor them some more. This is something the organization said we should do today, and I certainly believe in it.
Q. The Royals, second straight World Series. They've had a lot of visiting crowds. Do you think they can be impacted by your fans?
TERRY COLLINS: Our fans are pretty tough. They're tough. They're strong and they're tough. But I think the impact is going to be on us more than anything. I think that's where our fan base is so good is that it inspires our guys. So I'm looking at that. I've been on the other side of the field, not in the World Series, but I've been on the other side of the field in New York City in a big series and it's hard. It's tough. We're glad to be back here.
Q. What have you seen out of Conforto's at-bats this month? We haven't seen him slump at all until the postseason.
TERRY COLLINS: I'll tell you, look at him, I know he's got one hit, but he's got two or three sacrifice flies, he's hit the ball hard. In Chicago he hit the ball very hard. And he didn't have anything to show for it. As we sat down and we looked at the lineup, you've got to kind of block out the batting average and take into consideration the quality of at-bats, how they are, and they've been pretty good, and that's why we've kept him in there. But we've got to start getting some production somewhere, so we're going to take all those things into consideration.
Q. Do you pay attention to the radar gun? And do you think players on both sides pay attention to both sides' radar gun readings, and what do they get out of it?
TERRY COLLINS: Both sides do, believe me. You go to any park nowadays, any park and every team is looking to see how hard the guy is throwing. Because nowadays there are so many hard throwers that you kind of have a gauge, I have to start earlier, or, This guy, he's average, I can do this, or I can -- so, yeah, I think it's become a huge part of the game to know how hard somebody is throwing. Because, again, you've got to make adjustments at the plate. And all the film that you have on all these guys, you can't get a true feel until you get in the batters box. But the radar helps, because everybody has seen somebody that throws 99 or 100 or 92, and these guys have a feel, okay, yeah, I know what that's like. So I think, yeah, the radar gun has had a huge impact on the game today. And I think the pitchers, too. You see a lot of pitchers when they make a pitch, they turn to see what it is. Seriously. Am I letting it out? Do I need to throw harder? Do I need to take something off? Or whatever it might be.
Q. You talked about overcoming challenges this year. What do you draw from those experiences this year and why is this team so good in the tough spots?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you draw on the fact that you can do it. Again, it all goes back to confidence. Hey, look, we can do this. We've done it. We continue to do it. If you haven't overachieved at times and come from behind late in the game and against good pitching, sometimes you don't think you can do it. Oh, this game is over after six innings. But when you know you've done it and you've done it against good pitching, you stay confident, and that confidence can be dangerous. Now it's a matter of translating it into -- going to the plate and getting some good balls to hit, which sometimes against good pitches you don't get them. But I think if you believe you can win, I think it helps out.
Q. What was the first time that you saw Noah Syndergaard? And how different is the kid that you see now as opposed to what you saw for the first time?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I went over to Minor League camp when we got him because we heard so much about him, just to see him throw. I saw him throw a bullpen session the first time I saw him and you saw the real good arm. When he first got here, we saw 96. What he's doing now, I have never seen that. I've never seen 98, 99 and 100. I've seen good, good power stuff. But I've seen a guy grow and learn how to pitch here, where he will go to his secondary stuff in certain counts. I go back to the game in Los Angeles that he pitched, and everybody was talking about how his struggles on the road were an issue. And he had the bases loaded with two guys on with Puig at the plate, 3-2 count, in a count where you have to throw a breaking ball. Otherwise you're taking a chance, even though he was throwing hard. He threw the slider that struck him out. That was a Major League pitch made in a Major League situation by a 22-year-old kid who was learning how to pitch here, and had enough confidence in his own ability to say, I've got to make this pitch here and I'm going to do it, and he made it. And that's where I've seen him grow right now. That's why, I'm telling you, the discussion -- when we won in Chicago, we sat on the plane and his name was mentioned to open up the World Series. That's how well we think he's pitching. We've got great confidence in him tomorrow night.
Q. There's a lot of conversation about the importance of postseason experience in terms of individual pitchers, and you guys didn't have that going in. What have you seen that's different about Noah's pitching now as opposed to at the start of the postseason? And if you put much stock into it generally?
TERRY COLLINS: I put a lot of stock in it because when you're playing for championships, you raise your game, and we've seen that. It's like I just said, what this guy did when he pitched in Los Angeles, and what he did when he pitched in Chicago, we didn't see that during the season. This guys threw six innings at a hundred miles an hour in Los Angeles. Please show me anybody that's done that, outside of Nolan, maybe. And that's where this guy for me has risen to the occasion. Then I asked a 22-year-old to come back in Game 5 and pitch an inning out of the bullpen, which he's never done in his life, and truly confident that he can do it and he did it. I think he's come a long way. I think as much as you'd like to go to that crusty, veteran guy who's been here, who's done it, to help bail you out of the hole you're in, we're not asking that. We're asking this kid to go out and pitch his game, and his stuff should play.
Q. Part of the dynamic of the World Series is the DH or no DH. You're not going to have it for the next three days. They've got a decision to make with Morales. From a pitcher's standpoint, having that pitcher spot, is that going to help your pitchers not only conserve pitches maybe get through some of the innings that you guys weren't able to get through with the DH sitting there?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, they've got a pretty good lineup. You're going to ask their pitchers to do something they're not comfortable doing, probably. So that's going to change their lineup. But they're pretty deep one through eight. You're taking one of the guys in the middle of that lineup out, but believe me, when you're facing whoever it is, Rios or anybody, Perez, or anybody else hitting 8 or 9, that's still not a comfortable position. When you're in the National League -- I remember Randy Johnson telling me one time, he thought there were nine outs in the lineup, there were three innings a game that he said, Look, these are easy outs for me. Well, they were for him. But that was a National League lineup at the time. You look at the American League lineups, because even when I was in the American League, my 9th hitter, he's pretty good. You consider him a second leadoff guy, so they're pretty good. Now you just scrunch them all together, they're still pretty good. So we still have a challenge ahead of us. We can't take anything for granted. I only really hope that the pitcher gets up there a couple times a game, because that means we've got the lead and they've got to hit for him. I'm not looking forward to pitching through guys to get to the pitcher. We've got to get some outs.
Q. What kind of differences have you seen lately with Lucas Duda? And what impact does he make when he catches a hot streak for you guys?
TERRY COLLINS: Again, he's in the middle of the lineup and he's a production guy. This guy hit 27 home runs. He showed you in Chicago what he can do. He can put you on his back and carry you. When he gets hot, that's what he did. When we made the big trade and he got hot for those two weeks and put all those home runs together, everybody else just relaxed and said, let's get on because he's hitting home runs right now. And that's what he can do. Even yesterday, one of the things that we talk about when he gets in a little bit of a funk is he kind of gets pull happy. Right now he's just trying to make contact. He's trying to use the field to hit, and it produced a run for us yesterday. He's got enough power that he can hit the ball out of any part of the park. I just hope he stays hot, because we've got to get a couple other guys hot that we can get on ahead of him, so he can start driving in some runs.
Q. Obviously the Royals were the team that struck out the least in baseball this year, but they almost seem to have taken contact to a new level in the postseason. I don't think Jacob had a swing and a miss on a fastball. Have you been surprised that they've been enable to raise that contact level even more here?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, you know, we certainly looked through all the numbers. And we see their approach at home plate, yeah, I can understand why they do that. When they get behind the count, they shorten their swings, they just want to put the ball in play. And it plays in their park, because it is a big park. So I'm very, very impressed by it, how they do it and how they handle it. Certainly when you string four or five singles together and two or three runs with their pitching, that's enough to win. So it's certainly a great trait to have. They're athletic enough to run the bases. I'm very impressed with the job they've done over there, what Ned has done, and they've bought into it. That's one of the keys, to get the players to buy into what you want to do offensively, and those guys have of. They're tough to pitch against. We've got to make better pitches. You can't keep throwing the ball -- there's seven inches on each side of the plate, you've got to get it to the edges or they're going to get good hits.
Q. Why no formal workout today? Is there something that you saw that led you to believe that you would be better off without it? You mentioned that you talked to them yesterday after the game. Did you go around individually? Did you address them as a group? How did that go down?
TERRY COLLINS: I don't give a lot of speeches in baseball. I just went in and said, We've been here before. We can come back. We've done this before. Just remember what we've got to do and let's get after it. And that was about it, end of story. And then I went to a couple of guys individually. When it comes to the workout, I went to bed at 5 a.m. this morning. We've played 23 innings in baseball in 24 hours. I got a third baseman who's got -- we have to worry about his back. The days off help him. I have a centerfielder who has a bad shoulder. I've got a right fielder who has a bad thumb. My second baseman lives and dies with his lower body. So, look, they play hard. So to have them out here today just to run around for ten minutes, to me doesn't make a lot of sense. We've played a lot of baseball in the last three or four days. There are some guys in there, we're going to hit inside. We played games in our park. We worked out here three straight days. We know the infield, the outfield. We don't know the new Commissioner's boxes. So we're familiar here. But to bring them out just so you guys can all go in and get a quote from them, doesn't make much sense to me. So we're going to give them a blow and get them ready for tomorrow. Noah will be here in a second. Some guys are going to hit, but they're going to hit inside. There's no reason for me to go out and spend two hours when they're getting tired.
Q. One of my colleagues was speaking about Harvey and deGrom, and he was saying that he thought they were using more of their plan B stuff, especially early in the game, weren't using their power pitches as much. Any thoughts of that?
TERRY COLLINS: I'll take that into consideration.
Q. You talk about fatigue and giving guys days off. And we've seen with Matt, with Jake, with Jake Arrieta even, at this point in time you get a little bit tired. How unique of a physical specimen is Noah when you're considering right now he's in the same uncharted water that a lot of these guys are, and it doesn't seem like he's tiring at all?
TERRY COLLINS: Take a look when he walks up here. Want me to stand next to him? He'll be the biggest, strongest guy in the room. I'm going to tell you something, this guy works as hard preparing for a start as anybody. He doesn't miss a workout. He keeps his plan. He does his throwing. He's used the rest the way he should to stay strong. And right now I think this guy's came up, and now he's pitching in the World Series. When you're that big and strong that adrenaline is kicking in. Dan says the other guy, of all the guys here, he's the one that's least affected by the long season. That's unique. But that's why he's a unique guy. Tomorrow night we're going to ask him to step up and carry us through seven innings, and I think he can do it.