Collins stresses need for better situational hitting

Collins stresses need for better situational hitting

WASHINGTON -- Two of the more troubling snapshots of the Mets' six-game losing streak have come out of promising situations.

Trailing by a run in the seventh inning Tuesday, the Mets put a runner on third base with no outs but could not score him. The next day, this time in a tie game, the Mets put their leadoff man on second but could not send him home.

"We've got to do a better job," manager Terry Collins said. "That's the age-old problem that every team in baseball has, and that's situational hitting. It's one of those things that everybody talks about in Spring Training.

"Everybody's got batting practices that are strictly designed to work on situational hitting where there's a thought process involved. Everybody's got it. Everybody has issues with it. And the teams that execute it are the teams that score all those add-on runs that make a big difference."

On the surface, the Mets would not seem to be overly susceptible to such troubles, given their roughly league-average strikeout rate. Rarely relying on home runs, the Mets built much of their early-season offensive success on two-strike, two-out hitting.

Perhaps it is coincidence, or perhaps the rest of the league is adapting. Collins said opposing pitchers have been more aggressive against his hitters in recent games, preventing the Mets from driving up pitch counts.

"We have seen a distinct difference here in the last week or so," Collins said, "where it seems like we're strike one all the time."