The Mets’ stated goal heading into the season was to be a team that could compete with the National League’s best.
Sixty-eight games into the 2013 season, and the Mets find themselves with the third-fewest wins in the majors and appear earmarked for a seventh straight non-playoff year.
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Manager Terry Collins was asked how he balances the short-term importance of winning games while evaluating which players will be contributors in the future.
“My concern is, ‘How are we getting [the players] better? Are they buying into the program?’ Look at anybody in that lineup. Are they performing up to their capabilities? I’m not sure they are. We all think they could do better. That’s what we’ve got to concern ourselves with,” Collins said prior to last night’s series opener against the Cardinals.
“When the faces change, that doesn’t change how you go about your job for us, as coaches. I told the coaches today, ‘You have to continue to push; you have to continue to say the same thing you told the guy six years ago in A-ball.’
“Once in a while, you have to let them figure it out for themselves. When they can’t, then it becomes our decision as a coaching staff. I told the coaches today, ‘At no time in the years we’ve been here [have] we faced a bigger challenge than we are right now.’ Because we have a lot of season left. We have a hundred games to play. That’s a lot of games. All we have to do is win 60 of them and see where we are, take our chances.”
Prior to last night’s game, MLB announced Mets third baseman David Wright and Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano were named captains for the NL and AL 2013 Home Run Derby squads.
Wright and Cano will select three players from their respective league to round out the respective squads. This year will mark the second time Wright will participate in the derby. He was the runner-up in 2006. Cano, who will be the AL captain for the second straight year, will be in his third derby.
The Mets announced Dillon Gee will start Wednesday and Matt Harvey will pitch the series finale.
Harvey, 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA, left last Saturday’s game against the Marlins with lower back tightness. Harvey told reporters before Sunday’s loss to the Marlins that he was “fine” after his back was “realigned.”
Shaun Marcum, Jonathon Niese and Jeremy Hefner will start this weekend’s series against the Cubs.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.