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Chili Davis chalks Mets hitting woes up to lack of playing time

Francisco Lindor Mets
Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Chili Davis sounded like a broken record on Wednesday afternoon when he was trying to explain why the Mets’ offense had been sputtering and slumping so noticeably to start the 2021 season. 

At least he was kind enough to warn us.

“I’m going to make a lot of excuses here, but it’s not really as much excuses as it’s more reality,” the Mets’ hitting coach said prior to the Mets’ Wednesday-night meeting with the Chicago Cubs. “We haven’t had a chance to do a lot of things that we would normally do on the field. We’ve been caged up, we’ve missed a lot of ballgames.”

It’s a valid point considering seven of their first 19 originally scheduled games had been either suspended or postponed — throwing a wrench into any sort of continuity the team could have built over a few unaffected games.

“I was looking at the number of at-bats the Cubs had, they’re double the at-bats my hitters have had,” Davis said. “We need to get out on the field and kind of be more baseball-like. Hitting in the cage is one thing, but getting out there and seeing balls fly, that’s another.”

Regardless of the lack of reps, the Mets’ offense is the worst in Major League Baseball (3.17 runs per game), including a combined five runs in their last there games. It makes it all the more surprising that they hold the top spot in the National League East, which is truly a testament to just how good their pitching has been to start the new campaign.

Davis, though, ensured that he was not “overly concerned” with his offense’s slow start, yet again citing their lack of stable time on the field.

“I feel like we haven’t had the consistent playing time for me or for them to start worrying about things,” Davis said. “I know once we get this offense clicking, we’re a force. We’re going to be a good team.”

A potentially good team that is showing the right mindset despite having a hard time at the dish. 

“The biggest thing that I see is that I don’t see anyone hanging their heads,” he said. “We’ve been pitching well… we haven’t jelled yet as a club and I got back to the lack of consistent playing and the fact that they’re very optimistic after a ballgame. They know how good they are and it’s a matter of time before we break out and start winning some ball games.”

Amongst the most notable Mets strugglers is the $341 million man, Francisco Lindor, who was batting just .171 through the first 12 games of the season entering Wednesday night’s play. 

For a player of his stature and with his track record of being one of the best hitters in the American League for five years, there isn’t much Davis wants to do to try and get the 27-year-old back on track. 

“He’s had so much success in his past, and he’s so young, he’s been a great hitter,” Davis said. “I have to listen to him because he’s a guy that’s feeling what’s going on. If I can help him and show him some videos and say ‘remember when you used to feel this or that’, little suggestions with him. But you don’t want to be in his face every day. You want him to feel it out and find it.”

Davis also tried to put to bed the concerns that there was a deeper issue in Lindor’s struggles as questions have risen over the last two seasons about a decrease in bat speed. 

“There’s no possible way his bat speed is an issue,” Davis said before singing that familiar tune. “It’s just the feel. We haven’t played enough games consistently… It affects your timing. Plus, he’s in another league this year and he doesn’t know a lot of the pitchers right now.”

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