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The Mets have gotten off to a slow start at the plate this season, ranking last among all 30 MLB teams in runs scored and RBI despite having the No. 10 ranked batting average in the league at .241.
Hitting coach Chili Davis spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of the team's game with the Chicago Cubs to discuss the hitting struggles the team's been having of late.
"It's not as much excuses, I think it's more reality," Davis said. "I just left early BP, we haven't had the chance to do a lot of things that we normally would do on the field. We've been caged up, we missed a lot of ball games. I was looking at the number of at-bats that the Cubs had, at least their hitters, and they're double the at-bats my hitters have had. I think we need to get out on the field and be more baseball-like. Hitting in the cage is one thing, but kind of getting out there and seeing balls flight, really working your swing. I'm not overly concerned."
In six seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Francisco Lindor had a career batting average of .285, including two seasons hitting over .300. However, in just 41 at-bats over 12 games with the Mets this season, Lindor is batting .171 with only seven hits. Davis spoke about what he's doing to help Lindor get back on track.
"I just spent two hours last night, went back to 2017 all the way to here with Lindor, I know he's trying to feel something. I know that for him, and guys like him, [Jeff] McNeil, once they get that feeling and lock it in, they're just gonna roll with it for a long time."
Davis compared Lindor to one of the Mets' leaders in batting average last season, McNeil, who owns a .313 lifetime average but is hitting .162 so far this year.
"I've been around McNeil since 2019, so I know a lot more about Mac than I do with Francisco," Davis said. "I kind of look at treating him like I would a David Ortiz. I said this before, he's had so much success in his past, and he's so young, he's been a great hitter, he's still a great hitter. I think I got to listen to him because he's the guy that's feeling what's going on. But if I think I can help him, and show him maybe some videos or maybe saying 'remember when you used to feel this, or you felt that?' Just little suggestions with them. But you don't want to be in his face everyday, you just don't want to do that. You want him to feel it out and find it.
"I think for him, he's not a guy that takes a lot of swings in the cage, he probably takes the least amount of swings - him and Mac, in the cage of all hitters. He needs to get outside, he needs to take BP. He needs to be out there moving around, swinging, seeing his ball flight, I need to learn him, and he's such a great kid. He listens. But more importantly, I think I need to listen to him as well."
Davis was then asked if Lindor's bat speed could be an issue for his early struggles this season. The switch-hitting shortstop has just one extra base hit this season, after having three seasons of at least 40 doubles under his belt.
"There's always going to be rumblings," Davis said. "I played this game for nineteen years, and when I was thirty years old, I was told I was done. There's no possible way his bat speed is an issue. I think just a feel. Like I said, we haven't played consistently enough games. He left spring training feeling really good, you all saw him perform in spring training. We go to Washington and we don't play a game. We had simulated BP, take BP, it helps, but it's not like competing against another team. It affects your timing, it affects a lot of things.
"Plus, for me, he's in a different league this year and a lot of the pitchers he doesn't know right now. He's probably faced them a few times, it's not like facing them over and over again. He's a kind of guy, and McNeil, that once they get going, then you don't have anything to say to them because they're gonna roll, as far as I'm concerned."
Lindor may just be getting used to National League pitching as he's facing many pitchers that he has never played against in his career. Davis believes once he gets over that hump, he will start to feel himself better at the plate.
"It's just a bat path issue right now," Davis said. "Like I said, not knowing pitching. I mean as a hitter when I think I got a guy set up and I think he's coming in, and then all of a sudden he goes away with a changeup and I'm geared up for him. I think once he figures out who these guys are and how they pitch, and he starts feeling his rhythm and feeling his swing path, it won't matter. It won't matter as much as not knowing the guy, because you'll react to pitches right away."
"The biggest thing that I see, is I don't see anyone hanging their heads right now," Davis said. "We haven't been hitting the way we can, we've been pitching very well. Stroman's been throwing the ball well, deGrom's been throwing the ball well. I even think that Walk's been throwing the ball well, Petey's been throwing the ball well. We haven't jelled yet as a club, and I go back to the lack of consistent playing. And the fact that they're very optimistic coming out from a ball game, I don't see anyone hanging their heads. They know how good they are and it's just a matter of time before we break out and start winning some ball games."