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October 30, 2015

Terry Collins

Flushing, New York - Mets postgame three

New York Mets - 9 Kansas City Royals - 3

Q. I know you needed a big game out of Syndergaard and you basically got it. What happened between the first two innings and the rest of the game as he settled down? I think he had 12 in a row and four strikeouts in a row.
TERRY COLLINS: I think he started to make better pitches. You look at the first two innings and they were getting balls that were on the plate, a lot on the plate. They were all up here. He started using his breaking ball, throwing it for strikes, getting ahead of the count with his off-speed stuff. I don't think they could just sit on one pitch in the third inning on. He really settled down. But that's where I think he made a huge advancement since he got here, his ability to adjust and make pitches and settle into the game a little bit better.

Q. Was he one batter away in the second from getting lifted? Can you take us through the thoughts once the bases are loaded in the 6th sticking with him.
TERRY COLLINS: After they got the three straight hits in the second inning, those lefties were coming up, Hosmer and Moustakas were coming back up. And I knew he'd have been in big trouble right then. We got out of the inning. I said, okay, let's see if he can get us through a couple more innings. I know if he goes out that early, we're in trouble.

Q. If Zobrist gets on base, is he out of the game at that point?
TERRY COLLINS: No, I'd have let him face Cain, but the lefty would have been Niese after Cain.

And in the sixth inning I just said we had -- he was throwing so well, and I just kind of liked his power stuff against Rios. And was going to give him one more guy, and see if he could get him out and he did it. I just thought that was a situation where, listen, we needed that third out and I thought he was the guy to do it, because again I liked the way he was throwing, even though he walked a couple of guys. But he's pitched so good lately that I wanted to stick with him.

Q. Obviously this wasn't a mathematically elimination game, but how did you view it going in with the history of teams falling behind?
TERRY COLLINS: Sure, when you get down 3-0 it's really difficult. I just thought it was a real big game for us. When we set up the rotation, the way Noah had been pitching, you kind of look at that Game 3 as a pivotal game, anyway. You're 1-1 or down two, and he delivered. He came through exactly how we expected him to. And we really believe Steven Matz will go out tomorrow night and do the same job.

Q. That first pitch, do you think he was just overamped, or he didn't want to send any kind of message that he wasn't intimidated?
TERRY COLLINS: (Laughing) You'd have to ask him. He was probably overamped. That's the first time I've ever seen him. Throw the ball over the catcher's head, I'd never seen that before.

He might have been a little amped up. I know that one of the things we try to do with leadoff hitters is try to get the ball in on him a little bit better, and I think Noah wanted to get it in but I think he just overthrew it.

Q. How big were Granderson's contributions offensively and defensively today?
TERRY COLLINS: They're huge. Both he and David. We're down, they put us ahead. A tremendous catch in right-centerfield. That was a great catch in right centerfield. But he's just had a phenomenal year for us. He picks us up when we needed to be picked up. And sometimes he does it with base on balls.

A big hit tonight and a good catch.

Q. With the trouble that David has been having hitting and everything, to get the home run at that moment, what does that do for him and the team?
TERRY COLLINS: It did a lot for both of us. Certainly David has been struggling, he never makes an excuse. He's got to swing better; he knows that. Big hit for him, big hit for us. Got him going. A big hit later in the game off Herrera.

I said before the game, we get our offense going a little bit, we play better baseball, like everybody does. I've had a lot of questions about, why are you playing this guy right, playing that guy. I've only got 13 guys and eight of them got to play. So you kind of stick with them and we got some big hits tonight from some of the guys that haven't been swinging very well.

Q. (No microphone).
TERRY COLLINS: No, no, but I had that suggested to me -- oh, yeah, I get a lot of suggestions, believe me (laughter).

Q. If you can take me through the decision to use Juan Uribe at that point in the game. You spoke with having him as a weapon with an opportunity in these games. But just how rare it is to see someone do that off the bench after a month-plus of not having a Major League at-bat.
TERRY COLLINS: Well, Big League players are pretty talented guys. They do amazing things. And when you've had the career like Juan has had, he's done amazing things.

So he told me the other day he was ready. We were looking for the situation to get him in. And we thought tonight was the example. When Morales came in the game, we needed somebody to hit fourth, which meant somebody was going to be on base when he got up, and fortunately we had two guys on.

Big contribution from him. He's such a good guy to have on your club and be in the clubhouse, it's nice that he had a chance to contribute.

Q. Is one of the things you really liked about the offense is that got the long ball but that you had that inning where you kind of just really had a Royals type of inning, for lack of a better term. Is that the diversity -- does that really please you about the offense tonight?
TERRY COLLINS: You know, we live and die with home runs, for sure, no question. But when you string hits together, as they did in both games against us, you can score runs. In the World Series you're going to keep it close or hopefully break it open with some of those singles. I thought there were some big hits in the game throughout and hopefully this is -- in our park, that our offense gets it going the next two nights.

Q. After the first two games there's a lot of talk about Matt and Jacob maybe not being as aggressive with the fastball against these guys. Was tonight the absolute game plan going forward to be more aggressive or was that Thor being Thor?
TERRY COLLINS: You look in the first inning, they were hitting fastballs. They hit fastballs. I understand everybody's thoughts, you've got to be yourself, and I totally agree with that, but you've got to make adjustments. And throughout the game all of a sudden Noah started making some adjustments, throwing strikes with his off-speed stuff, where he could get strike one, or get them in counts where they're not sure, and making pitches with your fastball.

Like Matt said to me the other day, it wasn't he didn't want to use the fastball, he just didn't have good stuff. So he couldn't rely on it like he normally does. Again, these guys are power pitchers, but when you're not hitting your spots, and you're throwing it over the plate, good teams like Kansas City they're going to beat you. So you have to mix them up a little bit better, and that's what we've been trying to do and tonight it worked out for us.

Q. Regarding David, how much pain is he enduring? How much extra work is he doing? And how much does his presence mean right now?
TERRY COLLINS: I don't know how much pain he's in. He's the only one that can answer that. I don't think he's in any.

Just like today, the game is at 8:00 tonight and I'm here at 11:15, 11:45, David walks in, just to get himself ready. And it's stretching and part of the rehab that they loosen up his back. But he just knows he's got to do it, so he's in here and he does it. He doesn't complain about it. He knows what he has to do to keep himself ready. And these cold nights can be tough on anybody. When your back is bothering you, it can be very tough.

But he hasn't said a word. And the one thing we talked about when he came back is that he would be honest. One of things Don Mattingly told him is you've gotta be honest with not only yourself but everybody around you, that hey, tonight may not be a night that you can play, and he's been fine.

Q. That sports maxim is true, being in tough spots reveals your character. What aspect of your team's character was revealed today, down 2-0 and battling back?
TERRY COLLINS: There's some pretty good conversations going on this afternoon in the clubhouse with some guys. To where this is when we rise up and we've got our backs to the wall. And I heard by two or three guys, Michael Cuddyer said to one of the guys, he said, We're going to raise that belt tonight, so we've got to get after it. And they just got done doing that inside. So they were ready.

Q. In the age of innings limits what do you make of a 23-year-old, a career high in innings, throwing his best it seems like late in October?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, I think that he's learned so much during the year that he now knows that he doesn't have to strike guys out, he can pitch to more contact to keep him fresher during games. He doesn't have to work so hard. I think that's part of it.

And I think he takes so good care of himself, that this time it of year when guys are wearing down, he doesn't. He's pretty big and strong. There's a lot left in that body. It's been very, very impressive to watch him the last two months when you would think the one guy that would really suffer from it would be him because he's never pitched in September, and nobody has in October on this team. But he's just gotten better and better. And tonight he's showed you what he's learned. He had a rough couple of innings and settled down, and got us deep in the game which is what we needed.

Q. You referred to the conversations going on in the clubhouse this afternoon and yesterday you spoke about the importance of coming home. In the first two innings it didn't look like the Royals were intimidated by playing here. Were you concerned after the second inning that it was going to be a rough night?
TERRY COLLINS: Well, they played in the World Series. So they've been in hostile parks. It's nothing new for them. I'm not surprised they were not affected by it, no. They're a good club. They're a seasoned club. And as I said before, if you do something the second time, you should be better at it, and this is their second trip in a row, so they know what they're doing.

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