Terry Collins appreciates the consistently strong outings authored by the Mets' starters. The manager appreciates what Saturday night's starter, Chris Young, brings to the team.
Especially when he wasn't supposed to be here after missing most of last season after having surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his right (throwing) shoulder.
It is the same surgery that cost Johan Santana all of the 2011 season.
Young entered the second of three Subway Series games at Citi Field with a 1-1 record and 3.06 ERA in three starts this season.
"What kind of guy he is, how hard he works," Collins said when asked what stands out about Young. "It's truly remarkable he's here."
No Jose Reyes. No Carlos Beltran. No end to the Wilpon family's Bernie Madoff-created financial issues that had hamstrung the franchise for two year.
The Mets were supposed to have no chance. That was where the smart money was.
Except Collins never bought into the cynicism. He sold his optimism to the team, which began play with a 39-32 record, 2 1/2 games out of first in the National League East.
"Gosh, what's wong with this team?" was Collins' initial thought when he reviewed the roster of athletes who were going to compete for jobs in Port St. Lucie prior to the start of spring training.
"We don't have [Reyes]; we don't have [Beltran]. We may have to have a young guy in there, but there's nothing wrong with that. They bring energy to the club," Collins said. "You sit there and say, 'Someone's got to be Rookie of the Year. Why not one of our guys?'
"So I thought, going into spring training, if we could keep our lineup healthy, we would be fine," Collins said.
Nova battling bad memory
Forgive Ivan Nova if he wasn't exactly overjoyed to be at Citi Field this weekend.
See, the right-handed starter was sent down to Triple-A Scranton two days after recording win over the Mets last July 1, despite limiting the Yankees' in-city rival to one run because there was not going to be enough opportunities for Nova to start in a crowded rotation.
When Nova was promoted back to the big league club on July 30, 2011, manager Joe Girardi saw a pitcher that had improved his arsenal.
Much to the dismay of opposing batters.
Nova is 9-2 with a 4.32 ERA in 11 starts this season, and had won five straight. His 22-8 record is the Yankees' best for a pitcher with 30 decisions since David Cone in 1995-97.
Only Whitey Ford (.839) and Russ Ford (.821) have a higher winning percentage than Nova over the course of their first 40 games.
"I think he is pitching better at times than he did last year," Girardi said.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.