Asdrubal Cabrera didn’t know why a crowd had gathered around his locker last weekend. Earlier, he had fallen to hitless in his last 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position, though he was unaware of the streak.
Only when he was asked had it dawned upon him, proof that his struggles had been a fluke, rather than the product of pressing at the plate.
“When you don’t get hits with runners in scoring position, people are going to talk about it,” hitting coach Kevin Long said, just hours before Cabrera finally came through.
The streak ended in the nightcap of Tuesday night’s doubleheader against the Cardinals. It came on a third-inning double to the gap in left-center, scoring Alejandro De Aza. Not since May 27 against the Nationals had Cabrera collected a hit with a runner in scoring position.
Cabrera has personified the Mets’ continued struggles in those situations. He began the day hitting .169 with runners in scoring position, well off his overall average of .260.
That phenomenon has cursed the Mets as a whole. They began the day hitting a league-worst .210 with runners in scoring position, well below their overall average of .237. The 27-point difference is the largest of any team in the NL.
Josh Smoker was added to the roster for the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, helping the lefty to complete a long journey to the major leagues.
Smoker, 27, was chosen in the first round by the Nationals in 2007 before shoulder injuries forced him into independent baseball. But he endured, rediscovering the life on his fastball before catching on with the Mets.
Smoker posted a 4.73 ERA in 43 appearances for Triple-A Las Vegas.