Mets fans may feel differently, but Terry Collins is excited about the Subway Series against the Yankees. The Mets manager thinks the four-game showdown, which begins at Citi Field tonight, is good for his struggling team.

“When we’ve had to play good teams, we’ve played good,” he said before the Mets salvaged the finale of their weekend series with the NL East-leading Braves, taking a 4-2 triumph last night at Citi Field and ignoring their 7-17 record against .500 teams or better. “The atmosphere in the clubhouse, the energy, rises. We’ve played better.

“It’s an exciting time, great rivalry in a great city. Our guys will be up for it. That’s the stage you want to play on.”

But are the Mets, who snapped a five-game losing streak against Atlanta last night, ready for that stage?

The series could further expose this team to the entire city, which has been pre-occupied with the Knicks’ and Rangers’ playoff runs and the surprising first-place Yankees.

At 18-29, the Mets are closer to the cellar-dwelling Marlins than the front-running Braves, who are 11 games better.

The Mets used the usual cliches in describing the next four days, talking about how much fun the Subway Series will be and the excitement it brings. Many of the players in their clubhouse have never experienced the intra-city rivalry, the packed crowds, dueling chants and high intensity that is part of the annual contests.

“The Subway Series is fun, it’s always fun to play the Yankees each year,” said Jon Niese, tonight’s starting pitcher opposite Phil Hughes. “I wouldn’t say it will be a playoff atmosphere, but it will be very similar. It will be real exciting to get to play in the Subway Series.”