ATLANTA -- Minutes after arriving in the Turner Field clubhouse on Saturday, dropping his bags and huddling for a brief conference with manager Terry Collins, Mets rookie Brandon Nimmo cautioned, "I'm not the savior of the team." Nor do the Mets expect him to be. Nimmo is here in part because he proved everything he needed to at Triple-A Las Vegas, and in part because of underperformance up and down the lineup.
Nimmo alone cannot save the Mets, who dropped a 5-2 game to the Braves on Sunday in his Major League debut. Finishing 0-for-4, the club's No. 4 prospect was far from the only non-contributor. The Mets as a team went 7-for-33, including 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position -- the bulk of that scant production coming with the game all but out of reach in the ninth. And none of it seemed out of place for an offense ranked last in the Majors in runs and batting average since May 1.
Right now, regardless of opponent, the Mets are struggling to score. Even with Jose Reyes potentially joining Nimmo on the active roster as soon as next weekend, things are not prime to change anytime soon.
Kelly Johnson, who won Saturday's 1-0 game with a pinch-hit 11th-inning homer, arrived last year around the time the Mets made a dramatic midsummer reversal on offense. Asked how they can engineer a repeat performance, Johnson started ticking off a half-joking list: "[Yoenis] Cespedes has got to hit at least 20 homers, Nimmo's got to do whatever [Michael] Conforto did.
"... I don't know," Johnson said, growing serious. "We've just got to really be as a team, through the lineup, scrappy. I think that's a good word. Fighting off pitches and finding a way to get on."
To be certain, injuries have played a role in the Mets' struggles, but neither Lucas Duda nor David Wright is returning anytime soon. Barring a Yulieski Gurriel signing or similar trade, Reyes may be the Mets' last addition for the foreseeable future. So it is critical for Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and the Mets' other central bats to ignite -- and quickly. A three-game series looms against the first-place Nationals.
"We're very fortunate to be in it," Collins said. "That's why we keep telling these guys as we try to get better, as we try to get our health better and get some guys going who aren't hitting right now."
If Nimmo adds contributions for the Mets, it will be a bonus. The rookie spent much of Sunday soaking in the atmosphere of his big league debut, with his parents, fiancée and sister in the stands.
Now with the pomp and circumstance of his debut in the past, Nimmo also knows it's time for business.
"To be able to get out there, be able to look around and enjoy being in a triple-deck stadium, playing against the Braves for the Mets, it was a very surreal feeling," Nimmo said. "So I had fun, but I wish that it would have ended up differently. I could have come through a couple times for us. But it's the first game out of the way, and hopefully I can help out a little bit better down the road."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.