Commentary

Collins won't rein in Reyes on basepaths

A questionable out at third killed a rally, but the Mets need Jose to stay aggressive

Updated: July 2, 2011, 1:24 AM ET
By Adam Rubin | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Mets manager Terry Collins had no problem with Jose Reyes trying to take third base in the seventh inning Friday. His problem was with the out call, which thwarted a Mets comeback bid.

Reyes had tagged to second on Justin Turner's long flyout to center field, and when the inbound throw bounced away from relay man Eduardo Nunez, Reyes took off for third. He was ruled out by umpire Jerry Layne, although replays suggested third baseman Alex Rodriguez had missed the tag.

[+] EnlargeJose Reyes
AP Photo/Paul J. BereswillReplays showed Reyes was likely safe on the close play at third.

Collins acknowledged most players should not risk getting erased on that type of play with Carlos Beltran due up and the Mets trailing by two runs. But the manager said he has no intention of trying to clamp down on Reyes in such situations, since that is the type of energy display that fuels the Mets. Besides, it's not like the Mets can sit back and wait for a homer -- or an extra-base hit -- on most occasions anyway.

"His instincts said he should go to third," Collins said. "Sometimes you can't corral a guy who plays like that. I have no problem with it. None whatsoever. He's done that all year for us and, nine out of 10, he's safe and created runs. And that energy picks the club up. It probably would have been a little different situation if it had been somebody else."

Bottom line: Reyes ought to have been ruled safe anyway.

Layne, the plate umpire, was rotating to third for the call and was still moving when A-Rod made the motion to tag Reyes.

"I don't know if he got a very good view of the play," Reyes said.

Layne did not recant afterward, though.

"I called what I saw," he told a pool reporter.

Said A-Rod: "You never get surprised with Reyes. He's a very explosive player and he's always looking to do that. You always expect the unexpected. I think I just touched a little bit of his sleeve. I saw the replay three or four times and I couldn't even tell then. I wasn't sure. I thought I got a little bit of the sleeve. Whether or not I did, you guys had a better view than I did. It's a huge out. It's a big momentum changer for us. It's a big play."

Collins, who was ejected for the second time this season, did not put up a major stink after the game. The reality is Angel Pagan's lack of plate discipline and strikeout in the fifth inning, which stranded the bases loaded, proved far more costly.

"It's a tough call for an umpire. It really is," Collins said. "You've got to come from home plate due to the rotation. A tough angle."

Before the game, Collins was voicing disapproval of another injustice -- the one involving Major League Baseball's scheduling of interleague play. Collins objected to the Amazin's being subjected to the Yankees six times a year, while NL East rivals see different opponents. (The Wilpons probably did not mind, though, with a Citi Field-record crowd of 42,020 filling the coffers.)

"Everybody should play the Yankees twice," Collins suggested about division opponents.

While the Mets lost to the Yankees on Friday night, Philadelphia was beating Toronto, Atlanta was beating Baltimore, Washington was beating Pittsburgh and Florida. ... Well, never mind the Marlins.

The Mets now trail the division-leading Phillies by 10.5 games, and the wild-card-leading Braves by 6.5 games. The Amazin's drifted back to .500.

And as solid as the Mets played in June, going 16-11, they actually had the fourth-best record in the National League East for the month. Atlanta went 17-9, while Philadelphia and Washington went 17-10.

"Why they made interleague play is the rivalry stuff," Collins said. "But interleague play, for me, everybody in our division should play the Yankees twice if that's the way it's going to be. That's a tough go for anybody, and a big challenge for any team to play these guys twice. It's fun. Make no mistake about it. It's exciting. It's fun. But it's not an exhibition. These stinkin' games count. So when they change the rules so that everybody plays everybody else the same amount of times, then I'll buy into interleague play."

Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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