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Terry Collins’ relationship with the Mets’ front office has been dysfunctional as all get-out

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It’s not a secret that Terry Collins is going to be out as Mets manager when his contract is up after Sunday’s game. But we learned yesterday that he might’ve been fired any number of times before now, but wasn’t because Mets owner Fred Wilpon personally stuck up for him in defense of his son’s and his general manager’s efforts to oust him.

That comes in this fascinating Marc Carig story at Newsday, which describes the years of dysfunction in the Mets’ front office. The short version: team president Jeff Wilpon and general manager Sandy Alderson have almost no relationship with Collins, who they feel stopped carrying out their vision and stopped listening to them some time ago. On multiple occasions, Carig reports, they wanted to fire Collins, but the elder Wilpon has stepped in to protect Collins, who he likes.

As with most cases of office politics, this one is likely complicated, and as with most Mets stories, the unpopular Jeff Wilpon plays a key role. No matter what you think of him, however, Carig’s reporting suggests pretty strongly that Collins has not listened to the team’s baseball operations people.

No matter where you come down on all of that, it’s hard to deny that Collins’ time in Queens should probably be over. But, as this is the Mets, it’s not at all surprising that his tenure is ending with public sniping and drama. That’s just what the Mets do.

The Astros gave the Yankees an opening. Keuchel and Verlander will try to close the door.

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If Game 4 of the ALCS had been even remotely conventional, it’d stand at 3-1 in favor of Houston right now. The Yankees’ starter pitched well but got no run support. A mighty Astros team with an ordinarily good closer in Ken Giles had a 4-0 lead in the late innings. As the Yankees set out to mount a comeback, a base runner fell down in between first and second and should’ve been dead to rights. This is playoff baseball, however, so stuff, as they say, happens. The runner was safe, the closer struggled, the Yankees rallied and now we’re tied 2-2.

But are we even at 2-2?

On paper, no, because the Astros now will send Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander out in Games 5 and 6, and that gives them a clear advantage. Keuchel dominated the Yankees in Game 1, tossing seven scoreless innings and striking out ten batters. Verlander struck out 13 batters in a 124-pitch complete game in which he allowed only a single run. Beyond the mere facts of the box scores, however, the Yankees have looked profoundly overmatched by both of the Astros’ aces, in this postseason and on other occasions on which they’ve faced off against them. Most notably in the 2015 wild-card game at Yankee Stadium when Keuchel pitched six scoreless innings in the 3-0 victory.

But remember: stuff happens.

Stuff like Aaron Judge‘s and Gary Sanchez‘s bats waking up. The two most important sluggers in the Bombers lineup combined to go 3-for-6 with two doubles, a homer, a walk and five RBI in last night’s victory. Each of them had been silent for the first three games of the series but if they’re heating up, the Yankees will be a lot harder to pitch to.

Stuff like Masahiro Tanaka showing that he can tame the Astros’ lineup. Which he did pretty well in Game 1, giving up only two runs on four hits in six innings. He was overshadowed by Keuchel in that game, but it was a good performance against a strong lineup in a hostile environment. Tanaka pitches much better at Yankee Stadium than he does on the road, so don’t for a second think that the Astros bats will have an easy time of it today.

Stuff like the Yankees bullpen still being the Yankees bullpen. Yes, the Astros got to David Robertson yesterday, but it’s still a strong, strong group that gives the Yankees a clear advantage if the game is close late or if they hold a lead.

All of which is to say that we have ourselves a series, friends. While, 48 hours ago, it seemed like we were on our way to an Astros coronation, the Yankees have shown up in a major way in Games 3 and 4. If you’re an Astros fan you should feel pretty confident with Keuchel and Verlander heading into action over the next two games, but we have learned that absolutely nothing is guaranteed in the postseason.