But "unprepared" was the word Manuel used to describe his team following Sunday's loss to former teammate Livan Hernandez. And though he scaled back his wording, he continued to describe them in that ilk.
"I was discouraged," Manuel said. "I thought we as a team, against a former teammate, should have been better. Not taking anything away from Livan, but I do think Livan is kind of toward the evening of his career. He's not the Livan that won me a championship ring in '97."
Despite featuring a low-80s fastball and a wide variety of breaking balls, Hernandez held the Mets to just five hits over seven shutout innings on Sunday. Not once did they advance a runner to scoring position against Hernandez with less than two outs.
Clarifying his comments two days later, Manuel said that he was mostly upset about his hitters' inability to apply their extensive preparation to the game.
"It's not instinctive," Manuel said. "We have to get back to players making the adjustments, making the decisions and talking about the strategies."
After the game, Manuel took plenty of heat in the local media for the Mets' inability, with their ace on the mound, to win a rubber game against the lowly Nationals. But Manuel brushed off any thought that his team was simply "going through the motions."
"Ain't nobody going through no motions in New York City," Manuel said. "It's just a matter of a clear understanding of what the opposition is giving you and taking advantage of it. That's as simple as I can say it."