MILWAUKEE - In 1999, the Anaheim Angels entered the season with high expectations, only to watch their season crumble beneath a wave of injuries. The manager of that team eventually resigned before the end of the season.
He had lost the clubhouse.
"You all learn from your experiences good or bad," Terry Collins said Wednesday, when he drew a parallel to the team he oversees now, the Mets. "That was a bad experience and I think I learned from it. So, I'm not going to let the clubhouse get away."
Yet, the Mets inched closer to a collapse Wednesday, taking a 4-1 loss to the last-place Brewers. Once 10 games over .500, the Mets (36-37) dipped below the break-even point for the first time since April 11.
Collins may still have the clubhouse -- he intended to hold a meeting with players before the game -- but his team may soon lose its chance to contend for a playoff spot. They have slipped to 31/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals.
Bartolo Colon got roughed up for four runs on 10 hits in six innings. His night started by allowing four straight hits and two runs.
Scooter Gennett bashed a solo homer and Ryan Braun scored after Colon was slow to cover first on a grounder to Lucas Duda.
And the offense remained just as atrocious as it's been throughout a winless road trip. Despite whatever soothing words they might have heard from their manager, the Mets got nothing more than a solo shot from Curtis Granderson.
After his fourth-inning homer, the Mets didn't get another hit against Jimmy Nelson, who had been struggling until he allowed one run on two hits in eight innings.
The Mets have scored nine runs in seven games. They are one loss away from returning to Citi Field winless on an eight-game road trip.
Before the game, Collins planned to address his team, partly to change the negative energy that has permeated a seven-game losing streak.
"They've got to know I'm behind them still," Collins said. "This isn't the end of the world."
Collins intended to do plenty of talking, though he expected some of the veterans to chime in as well. Michael Cuddyer, who sat out Wednesday night's game, was likely to offer a few words.
Certainly, there was plenty to discuss.
"When you're going through things like this you need to know that every guy is in your corner, the group is still in your corner," Cuddyer said. "That's kind of what can be talked about. We still believe in ourselves, we still believe in the guy next to us, and they believe in us."
The 1999 Angels finished 70-92 with Collins stepping down after going 51-82. He would not manage in the big leagues again until the Mets hired him in 2011.
"Injuries killed us in '99," said Collins, whose job is safe for now. "Expectations were high. There was a lot of guys on that DL and we were filling in with young guys, who by the way became very good players. But it's all part of the game."
During his talk, Collins hoped to alleviate the pressure to perform and push the team from a funk, particularly his veterans. He also wanted to remind the team's younger players that they belong in the major leagues despite a string of rough results.
Mere words, however, did little to help the Mets off the canvas.