NEW YORK -- For Mets manager Terry Collins, there's a big difference between Major League experience and winning in the Major Leagues. And for his young roster -- and soon a handful of September callups -- there's only one way to learn the latter -- win.
"When you have players in the Minor Leagues, [they say] 'Get the players ready. Don't worry about your record,'" Collins said. "[But] you've got to teach them how to win. Part of that is learning the game, how to give yourself up and how to make a productive out. Our young players up here, we're still learning how to win here."
This season took a turn for the worse for the Mets following July's All-Star break, but despite dwindling chances of a postseason berth, Collins said every game serves as an opportunity to learn how to win.
Not that the Mets have given up or anything. Josh Thole said prior to Sunday's game that the Mets have their eye on the postseason until the day they are mathematically eliminated -- the 2011 Rays and Cardinals might happily take blame for that. But Collins said every win has a big impact on player development.
"I don't want any of these guys to walk out of here and be satisfied if we finish the year below .500," Collins said. "'Well, I got my chance to play and I proved I could play in the big leagues.' You've got to prove you can win up here, because that ultimately is what it's all about."
The Mets didn't come into 2012 with the pressure of high expectations, but the team's first-half performance added to the disappointment of its recent collapse. And according to Collins, his team upped the bar for what will be expected in 2013.
"We've lost three-fifths of our starting rotation. We lost our closer for 30 days. Two or three of the guys who had tremendous first halves aren't here," Collins said. "Those are big pieces that we've got [who have] to get better. ... It's all about process. We've got some pieces that will work. We've just got to make sure they get better."