MIAMI – The Mets have seen their lead in the National League East dwindle to 1 1/2 games, and manager Luis Rojas is doing everything he knows to stop the skid and put the team back on the right path.
Prior to Wednesday’s game with the Marlins, Rojas had an extended meeting with the team. As the media waited its turn to speak with the Mets’ manager, Rojas spoke to the club about getting back to its winning ways and how that could be accomplished.
“I had a little talk with the team,” Rojas said. “Nothing like a rah-rah meeting or anything, it’s just getting connected.”
Rojas said he just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page and to instill the idea of keep trusting in your teammates and having fun.
“It’s all good,” he said.
One of the topics that came up for discussion was to take a more aggressive approach, especially the second and third times through the lineup.
“Just for the guys to be aggressive out there and have no hesitation in what they’re doing,” Rojas said. “Impact the ball hard. I think that’s what’s going to give us those runs that we haven’t had lately.”
You can’t, however, lump Jeff McNeil into that group. Since the start of July he’s hitting .330 (29-for-88) with three homers, six doubles, 15 RBIs and 14 runs. Also posting a .404 OBP in that span, McNeil slugged .500 through those 26 games -- all this after batting just .196 over 19 games in the first month of the season.
McNeil has played a key role in helping the Mets meet their crucial number for scoring runs in a game, which appears to be four. The Mets are 43-10 when scoring four or more runs so far. Conversely, they are 12-41 when scoring three or fewer runs.
Playing smart and staying hungry -- all the time and not just in front of the home crowd -- is also something the Mets must do down the stretch. They came into Wednesday’s game with a 22-31 road record.
But it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of effort.
“They’re playing hard,” Rojas said. “Everyone’s giving 100 percent. A lack of energy, I haven’t seen.”
Rojas talked to the team about the need to utilize more than just its talent.
“To me, it’s just going back to the things that made us successful,” he said. “Just keep it simple, not try to overdo things. We’re a talented team. We talked about being talented, but we have to create an identity. [Talent] is not going to do it all.”