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Baseball gods abusing Mets manager Terry Collins this season

Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets

Terry Collins #10 of the New York Mets looks on against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field in Flushing, New York on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

Maybe Terry Collins does not survive the summer, or at the very least, maybe he and the Mets part ways after the season.

That would be fair. The Mets are a mess, and the manager has done his part in that, notably in the form of dubious bullpen management.

It’s a tough business and a tough town, and Collins already has been around longer than any other Mets manager in history and does not have a World Series ring to show for it. Plus, he turns 68 Saturday.

Still, it is impossible not to feel a little sorry for a guy who in March was handed the keys to a Jaguar and has seen it turn into a jalopy.

Consider Thursday night’s dreary series finale against the dreary Padres on a dreary night at Citi Field, a 4-3 defeat that might have been over three hours before game time.

That was when Collins announced that Jacob deGrom’s scheduled start would be moved to Friday night to avoid the risk of rain delays or a postponement causing the Mets to lose deGrom’s full services.

This was a reasonable decision. There was one problem: It left Rafael Montero as the emergency starter — a guy who entered the night with one more career victory than his Padres counterpart, Dinelson Lamet, who was making his major-league debut.

Alas, Montero also had eight more career losses, as he was 1-8.

Things went predictably wrong from the start. Collins had said Montero would be limited to 75 pitches or so. He threw 45 in the first inning and left after throwing 87 in three innings, allowing three runs.

“We don’t have a lot of options,” Collins said after the Mets’ 10th loss in the last 13 games left them at 19-26. “We have to do a better job of getting him to certainly buy into the fact that he’s got to throw strikes.”

The third Padres run was made possible when Michael Conforto lost a fly ball in the mist and/or lights in leftfield and Hunter Renfroe ended up on second base.

“I just completely lost it,” Conforto said. “I just couldn’t see it . . . It’s just a helpless feeling.”

Conforto has been the Mets’ best player of late, which made the sight of him putting his arms over his head in a defensive, sky-is-falling pose a little too metaphorical for comfort. Oh, and he struck out four times, too.

Lamet pitched five innings and allowed one run. He appears to be the sort of talented young hurler the Mets were supposed to have in abundance but now, not so much.

The Yoenis Cespedes-free Mets offense was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

“Maybe a tough night to hit because of the weather with all that rain in your face and things,” Collins said before seeming to realize how silly that sounded and adding that it was no excuse.

Collins is as shell-shocked as anyone over this, even as an old-school, seen-it-all baseball man. But give the guy credit for plugging away.

Before Wednesday night’s loss to the Padres, during which he gave us too little Robert Gsellman and too much Neil Ramirez, Collins got a tad testy during his daily, injury-centric pregame chat with reporters. But by Thursday he was back in cooperative Collins mode, calmly explaining the rationale behind the team’s new policy of declining to guesstimate when injured players will return.

“I get in trouble because I try to be as honest as I can with you and give you an honest look at things,” he said, “and then if it doesn’t happen, we look like an idiot when we’re not, because there’s no guarantees.

“So we’re going to try to stay away from trying to predict anything except the fact that hey, look, there is a process involved in trying to get these injured players back on the field, and it changes every day.”

Soon thereafter, he handed the ball to Montero, and the day began to look like too many others this season.

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