Mets try for more offense vs. Cardinals after firing hitting coaches

MLB Baseball

The visiting New York Mets will try to generate more offense when they face the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday after shaking up their coaching staff.

Early season struggles prompted the Mets to fire hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater after the team’s 6-5 loss to the Cardinals Monday night.

Hugh Quattlebaum will be the new hitting coach and Kevin Howard will assist him.

“The reason we felt like it was the right decision, it’s based more on a vision for what we want our major league hitting program to be,” Mets general manager Zack Scott said. “It’s not about 23 games of results.”

Prior to the game, Mets manager Luis Rojas assessed his team’s early offensive funk.

“We weren’t being aggressive,” he said. “Where were just getting off our approach, whatever plan we’re bringing to the plate, too easily. It’s almost that we were too result-oriented. We weren’t consistent with what we wanted to do. We’re going to feel good as hitters and we’re going strike out. We’re going to square a ball and it will get caught. We have to be consistent throughout.”

The Mets hope to give starting pitcher Jacob deGrom more run support as this four-game series at Busch Stadium continues. They have lost three of the five games he’s started while scoring a total of 13 runs in those starts.

In 35 innings, deGrom (2-2, 0.51 ERA) has struck out 59 batters and walked only four. He has struck out 14 or more batters three times while earning the National League Pitcher of the Month honors for April.

In deGrom’s last outing, the Mets fell 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox. Afterward he declined to comment on his lack of run support.

“I try not to think too much about it,” deGrom said. “I’m more disappointed that I wasn’t able to make pitches there in the second inning. I was trying to battle through but just left some balls over the middle of the plate that got hit. That comes down to be controlling what I can control, and I didn’t do a good job of that.”

Against the Cardinals deGrom is 4-2 with a 3.95 ERA in seven starts. Nolan Arenado (2-for-20, five strikeouts) and Paul Goldschmidt (1-for-8, three strikeouts) have struggled against him while Paul DeJong (4-for-11, double, two homers) has fared well.

The Cardinals will bring a five-game winning streak into Tuesday. They have hit a three-run homer in each of those games.

They will counter deGrom with Johan Oviedo (0-0, 2.79 ERA), who arrived from the team’s alternate site Monday. Oviedo started April 28 against the Philadelphia Phillies and allowed three runs in five innings with seven strikeouts.

“He got ahead in counts and was able to make a lot of good pitches,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “Stuff was really good. This guy is going to be a real beast in this league.”

In his only other appearance this season Oviedo threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings of long relief.

This will be Oviedo’s first career appearance against the Mets. To make room for him on the roster — and to promote him within 10 days of his previous demotion — the Cardinals are expected to put reliever Jordan Hicks (elbow soreness) on the injured list.

The Mets put infielder J.D. Davis (hand) on the injured list. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo (finger injury) remained on the active roster, but he wasn’t in Monday’s starting lineup.

–Field Level Media

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