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Mickey opts to sit Rosario vs. Scherzer

Skipper feels facing Nats ace could slow shortstop's momentum
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Mets know Amed Rosario is making strides in the right direction. In his past 11 games, Rosario had an on-base percentage of .429, and on Tuesday against the Phillies, the 22-year-old tied his career high with three hits, two of them being triples.

That is exactly why manager Mickey Callaway made the decision to keep him out of the starting lineup before Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Nationals, though Rosario pinch-hit in the ninth inning against Ryan Madson and grounded into a double play to end the game.

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NEW YORK -- The Mets know Amed Rosario is making strides in the right direction. In his past 11 games, Rosario had an on-base percentage of .429, and on Tuesday against the Phillies, the 22-year-old tied his career high with three hits, two of them being triples.

That is exactly why manager Mickey Callaway made the decision to keep him out of the starting lineup before Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Nationals, though Rosario pinch-hit in the ninth inning against Ryan Madson and grounded into a double play to end the game.

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Callaway said the reasoning was in large part due to "who is pitching on the mound." By that, he was of course referring to Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the league. Heading into Thursday, opponents were batting just .179 against him, which was the best in the Majors, and he'd been especially challenging to face for right-handed batters (.159).

Scherzer allowed three runs on five hits, two of them home runs, while striking out five to earn his 12th victory Thursday.

So does Callaway not think the young hitter has what it takes to go up against one of the best pitchers in the game?

"I think Rosario is in a really good spot," Callaway said. "But Max Scherzer is one of the toughest guys in the big leagues against righties, and that's just a fact. So rather than make it a little harder on him today, I figured [he] might as well get some good work in before the game, keep on focusing on the things he needs to do to continue to get better and give him a day off, and then let him play the next three and finish the first half strong."

Video: PHI@NYM: Rosario swipes second in the 8th

The Mets' plan to rest the shortstop is a bit unorthodox, but Callaway seems to think it will help Rosario uphold the progress he has made, and it will allow him to keep building his confidence into the final three games of the four-game series against the Nationals.

"He's making some significant adjustments at the plate," Callaway said. "And to do those and maintain those against Max Scherzer is going to be super challenging."

Jose Reyes started at shortstop and batted eighth in the lineup in Rosario's place. Reyes went 0-for-3 and is batting .164 with one home run and four RBIs on the season.

Erin Fish is a reporter for MLB.com.

New York Mets, Amed Rosario