By: Stache Staff

Terry Collins’ Lineup Conundrum

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No one wants to be in Terry Collins’ shoes today. Having more decent players than places in the lineup is a problem that many baseball teams would love to have. Not the Mets. It is easy to loudly contemplate online MLB odds and criticize Terry Collins’ decisions until you actually take the time to understand his situation.

Collins has been heard complaining on a number of occasions about his crowded outfield. Even before the Mets took that thorough 5-1 pounding at Wrigley Field on Monday, Collins couldn’t help but envy American League Managers who have the designated hitter at their disposal every day.

The Mets have reached a point in the season where they have to start stringing wins together. The chances of this happening now, though, especially with the Mets’ offense repeatedly stumbling into the freezer, are unlikely.

Jon Lester should be applauded for his performance on Monday, even though the Mets did pound him for nearly 30 minutes when they last faced him weeks ago. This was when Wilmer Flores cracked two home runs, hitting another one off Lester on Monday.

Of course, anyone who thinks that the Mets’ return to form comes down to Collins adding Flores’ name to the lineup card every day isn’t giving the situation enough thought. For all his talent, Flores has had a number of less than stellar moments in the last couple of years.

Logically speaking, though, Collins’ decisions are a little easier to predict this time around. Obviously, the hot guys are going to play while the cold guys will be asked to sit down, that is until they heat up again, in which case they will play. And Flores is definitely heating up at the moment.

Of course, while this is the obvious approach, there is nothing to suggest that this is the strategy Collins will deploy. After all, he has thrown Reyes into every game, even though Reyes is hardly the player he was in 2006.

Neil Walker’s average has also dipped noticeably in the last few years, and Asdrubal Cabrera’s performance has been hardly noteworthy these past few games. No one is saying that any of these players should be benched.

They are hardly the worst of the worst. However, considering their relatively lackluster performance, it is difficult to understand why Flores, who is clearly hot at the moment, doesn’t have a more consistent position in the lineup.

Collins situation hasn’t been made easier by Yoenis Cespedes’ decision to escape center field in favor of playing left. Filling out his outfield will cause Collins many a sleepless night.

Impressive as he has shown to be, Juan Lagares, probably the best option open to Collins, is too inconsistent a hitter. That leaves Curtis Granderson, a gamer and team leader with 16 homers and 28 RBIs.

People complaining that Collins isn’t going with the seemingly obvious answers do not understand the complex position within which he finds himself. He has a lot of questions to contemplate.

Miami’s comeback Win in Philly on Monday might prove to be a distraction, though it is hardly devastating news. But Collins presently holds the future of the Mets in his hands, Collins’ decisions determining the upcoming success or failure of the team. The best he can do at this point is to follow his instincts and hope for the best.

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