NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is a traditionalist, but that doesn't mean he's married to the way he thinks about the game. Collins spoke briefly about his team's reliance on relief roles on Tuesday, and he admitted that his thinking has evolved over the past few decades.
"Twenty-five years ago, I didn't think pitchers needed roles," said Collins. "The object is to get the guy out who's standing in the batter's box with the bat. That's your role. When you come in the game, get him out and let the manager worry about the other stuff. The game has evolved to be different."
Collins has seen his bullpen work to a 5.00 ERA this season, 27th in the Majors, but he doesn't want to do anything rash to make the pitchers even more uncomfortable. In short, Collins hopes that closer Frank Francisco will find his comfort zone and that all the relievers around him will follow suit.
"The game evolved to where you have the left-handed specialist," Collins said. "You have the eighth-inning guy, that bridge to the closer. You have the closer. That's what these guys are here for. That's what they get paid for. ... You have to adjust to that. You don't have to like it, but you have to accept it.
"I accept it. And that's why the one thing I don't want to do is turn our bullpen inside out even though we've had a few blown saves. Everybody has. The minute you start changing everybody's roles, it's very uncomfortable for some of the pitchers in that bullpen."