SEATTLE — The competitor in Terry Collins is out there battling every day but make no mistake, this is one of the most difficult weeks of the manager’s long career.
In one of the most difficult seasons of his life.
To know that trades will be made, the Mets season is over and his players are being sent to help other teams is tough for Collins to swallow, along with the difficult losses like Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field.
It all comes down to one thing for Collins, and it is the essence of baseball — the health of the Mets’ pitching staff.
When the pitching went south, so did the Mets, and now Collins has to deal with the trade fallout and everything else in this Mets’ mess. What was to be such a special season was derailed early because of so many injuries to the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman and all the rest.
“It all revolves on those boys on that bump,’’ Collins told The Post. “Who they are and are they going to be OK? If they’re OK, I stand by the fact that there is a big light at the end of the tunnel.’’
If they aren’t, that light will be an oncoming train like the one the Mets ran into this season.
Collins then became reflective and offered these words, “God, the only thing I wished I could have done was watch those kids pitch 30 games apiece. Because I would have taken my chances, no matter what else happened, I would have taken my chances.’’
That never happened, and you have to feel for Collins.
Collins, 68, never lives in a world of regret. He is a realist.
He understands what baseball is all about. Baseball lifers know that better than anyone, especially those who spent as much time on the field and in the dugout as Collins — who first walked onto the field at Niagara Falls in 1971 after being drafted in the 19th round by the Pirates.
When the pitching goes south so does the team, and when the pitching gets decimated with injuries in the last year of a manager’s contract, changes are inevitable.
Only Jacob deGrom survived the injury onslaught, and he leads the Mets with 21 starts. He was the loser in the Mets’ 3-2 defeat Saturday, allowing just two earned runs while striking out 10 as the Mets went 1-for-9 with RISP.
“We couldn’t capitalize on anything,’’ Collins said.
Syndergaard (torn lat muscle) made just five starts. Harvey (shoulder) made 13, a most fitting number considering his unlucky injury history. Familia (surgery…