Jon Blau, of www.mlb.com, writes about the Mets’ offense trying to end its malaise.
Offensively, manager Jerry Manuel knows what his Mets are not. They are not a power-hitting bunch who will win games via the crowd-pleasing home run. As much as he would like to see it, the Mets are not grabbing victories with clutch two-out hits. And, of course, the run-happy Manuel can never see enough reckless base stealing in an inning.
During the past four games, the Mets have been outscored, 24-6.
"We just have a lot of work to do offensively, period," Manuel said. "It's just going to take some time for us to start clicking where we understand not only our game as an individual, but our teammates' game as an individual, or what somebody is trying to do to our teammate and what does that do to us and how does that play within the context of winning baseball [games]."
Manuel has started to debrief his players on how to execute his plans, such as pulling aside Jose Reyes in the midst of Monday's 5-2 loss to tell his leadoff man to guard against caution and keep trying to steal bases. In the future, he'd also like Luis Castillo, at No. 2 in the order, to take a few more pitches so Reyes can fly 90 feet.
Another bullet point on Manuel's to-do list: Get the Mets to stop swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. On too many occasions, Manuel said he has seen his hitters turn "mediocre pitching into good pitching" by making would-be balls into outs.
Third baseman David Wright, who got the day off on Tuesday, doesn't have a problem following Manuel's plans for the offense, but he'd be apprehensive about making out-of-the-zone pitches off limits. Chasing away aggressiveness in favor of selectiveness wouldn't necessarily be an even trade.
"It definitely doesn't need a lot of work," Wright said about the offense. "Maybe a few adjustments. Really, it just needs us to get hot.
"[Manuel's] talked to us about it. I want to go up there and swing at strikes, but we are an aggressive team, and I don't think he wants to take our aggressiveness away."
(The Mets should be aggressive if they recognize a fastball in an area, where they think they can hit the ball with power. Otherwise, they should be more patient, make the other pitcher accumulate his pitch count, in the hopes he leaves the game earlier, so that they can feast on typically inferior middle relievers. Also, they’re not drawing enough walks, and being patient to get a “hitter’s count,” 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 3-1, counts in which the pitcher may be more apt to throw a fastball that a hitter could hit, for power.)