Struggling Mets looking for answers

Struggling Mets looking for answers

NEW YORK -- Sunday may have been the final straw. 
 
Mets manager Terry Collins tipped his hat to Julio Teheran, but admitted after New York mustered only one hit against the Braves' ace that some things may have to change.
 
"You don't want to panic early, but right now with what is going on we may shake some things up," Collins said. "… We have to start playing better, so we'll see what we can do."
 
After being swept by the last-place Braves on Sunday, the Mets have lost six of their last eight. Entering Monday, New York sits third in the National League East, half a game behind the Marlins and six behind the Nationals.
 
The cause for concern stems from the Mets' inability to adjust offensively and snap out of a slump they have been mired in for nearly two months.
 
This season, New York has been a team predicated on power with 53 percent of their runs coming via the long ball and 38.7 percent of their hits going for extra bases -- the sixth highest percentage in the Major Leagues.
 
In April, that style of offense worked as the Mets averaged 4.81 runs per game, but May and June have told a different story as the Mets have averaged 3.09 runs per game over the last two months, which ranks second to last in the big leagues behind the Phillies (3.04). 
 
Since May 1, New York has tallied the second fewest hits in the Majors with 336 and has not capitalized when runners do reach, hitting a league-worst .210 with runners in scoring position on the year.
 
"We just have to keep grinding," second baseman Neil Walker said. "We know what we are capable of in here. We know we have a good team and what makes us a good team. We feel confident in what we are doing here. You're going to go through ups and downs over the course of the season. There are all kinds of variables to it."
 
Injuries have been part of the problem. The Mets lost third baseman David Wright to a herniated disk in his neck that required surgery to repair, first baseman Lucas Duda to a stress fracture in his lower back and catcher Travis d'Arnaud to a right rotator cuff strain.

Duquette on Wright's surgery

d'Arnaud, who has hit .317 (13-for-41) in 11 games in the Minor Leagues, is expected to be back at Citi Field on Tuesday when they Mets host the Royals, but Duda may not be back until the second half of the season and there is no guarantee Wright returns.
 
"(d'Arnaud) hasn't been in the Major Leagues in a long time," Collins said. "We're hoping his bat adds something to us, but we have nothing to go on right now."
 
The Mets acquired James Loney from the Padres and Kelly Johnson from the Braves to help alleviate their depth issues, but there are still problems the club has to address.
 
Michael Conforto picked up New York's only hit Sunday, but the outfielder has hit .157 (21-for-134) since batting .365 (27-for-74) in April, and he's regressed even more as of late, compiling a .119 average (8-for-67) since May 24. 
 
Given the recent lack of production, the whispers of sending Conforto down to Triple-A Las Vegas to reboot have grown louder.
 
"I haven't had any conversations yet, but obviously I hope that I don't have to go that route," Conforto said. "I want to be here and I want to help the team win, and help us get out of this tough time we are having, but that is out of my control. All I can do is go out there and produce as much as I can."
 
Four days ago, the Mets' offensive struggles seemed to dissipate after they scored a combined 17 runs on 30 hits to take the final two games of a three-game series against the Pirates.
 
Then the Braves paid a visit to Flushing and limited the Mets to four runs and 14 hits in three games, once again leaving the Mets to search for answers at the plate.
 
New York could seek out those answers from some of its top prospects like Brandon Nimmo, who is hitting .325 with five home runs and 33 RBIs at Triple-A Las Vegas, or they could replicate last season and make a splash via trades.
 
"Will we be as aggressive? I don't know the answer to that at this point," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "Are we able to be as aggressive? I still think we have the prospects, if necessary, in our system to move and from a financial standpoint, I also think we have the means necessary, but we'll have to see what happens late in July."
 
Until then, though, the current roster will try and get the Mets back on track, and they are optimistic they can accomplish that task.
 
"We should all be looking for opportunities to provide that spark and the way to do that is just to be confident," Walker said. "Keep going out there, keep taking your hacks and weather the storm until we right the ship."

Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.