Mets ‘chasing a lot’ during early 2024 offensive struggles

Francisco Lindor Mets
Francisco Lindor (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

QUEENS, N.Y. — The Mets’ bats did not make the initial trip up from spring training to Queens to start the season.

Across its first four games of the season, New York had been held to one run or fewer three times — the eight runs scored tied for the fewest in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox entering Tuesday’s slate of play.

“I just feel like we haven’t found our footing,” star shortstop Francisco Lindor, who started the season 1-for-16, said. “Everybody shows up early, has batting practice, studies, are well-prepared… we know what we have to do. We just haven’t executed.”

The majority of the Mets’ at-bats have been non-competitive. Only two teams in the majors had fewer than their 25 hits and .188 team average. They are even worse with runners on base, starting the season 7-for-45 — a paltry .156 batting average with 11 strikeouts.

“We’re chasing a lot, expanding,” manager Carlos Mendoza said. “Especially when we’re passing early in the counts and then chasing out of the strike zone. A lot of empty at-bats. We’re not creating a lot of traffic there. We gotta get better.”

Carlos Mendoza Mets
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

During Monday night’s 5-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Mets got the lead-off man on base in the seventh and eighth innings in what was a scoreless game, but neither man got to second base. The lack of production was especially egregious in the eighth inning when Brandon Nimmo walked at the top of the order but Lindor and Pete Alonso struck out on four pitches each.

“[Guys are trying to do too much], especially when you’re trying to get that W,” Mendoza said. “Offensively, you’re trying to do too much as opposed to just taking your walks, creating traffic. That’s what happens when you chase and you expand. There’s a lot of weak contact and early outs… We just have to try to limit the damage.”

“We’re always going to press,” Lindor added. “As the game gets harder, the pitcher gets better when there are people on base, we’re always going to press. But pressure isn’t a bad thing. Pressure is an opportunity to be successful.”

Success, though, has been elusive in 2024. This is the first time since 2005 that the Mets have started at least 0-5 and with seemingly no answers offensively during that stretch, there is the prospect that things can get out of hand quickly even before veteran slugger JD Martinez is introduced to the lineup as he continues to ramp up in an abbreviated spring training.

“It’s not about trying to do too much,” Mendoza said. “At some point throughout the course of the year, you’re going to go through stretches like this, and for us, it happens to be the first four games of the season. It’s one of those things where we’re trying to keep things simple, control the things you can control, and try to compete.”

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