Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud is now 0-for-15 with six strikeouts after failing to record a hit in three at bats in Sunday’s Mets 2-1 loss to the Reds at Citi Field.
Slow starts are nothing new for d’Arnaud, who began his career by going 1-for-15 through his first six games last season and ended up hitting .202 (20 for 99) overall.
“I’ve been through this before,” d’Arnaud said, “so I’m just going to keep my head up and keep moving forward.”
The 25-year old catcher has his manager Terry Collins somewhat worried. “It certainly is a concern if it starts to get in his head that he can’t hit at this level. That’s your biggest fear that all of a sudden someone feels they can’t do something.”
“Are you concerned? I’m worried about his mental approach more than anything.” Collins told reporters before Sunday’s game, “Travis certainly came into the season as an integral part not only of the defense, but the offense — his spot in that lineup, we gotta get some production out of it.”
“We told him he has to battle through this; go up there with a game plan and stick with it.”
D’Arnaud is coming off a spring training that saw him bat .163/.241/.388 in 49 at-bats which led Keith Hernandez to remark that he looks lost at the plate. However, TDA says he’s fine and that eventually the numbers will come.
“I feel good. Just having that short swing and keeping my eye on the ball, and they’ll start falling eventually. I still feel pretty confident, slowing everything down. That’s what I’ve been doing the past couple days. And I’ve hit a few line drives, so it’s been working out.”
Team captain David Wright pointed out that d’Arnaud hasn’t let the slump at the plate affect his defense.
“He’ll be fine,” Wright said. “He can hit. He’s hit at every level. So he’s off to a slow start. He’s caught very well, thrown some runners out, called some good games. We’ve gotten quality starts, and that’s because of Travis. Defensively, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and offensively, he’ll come around, because his track record says he’s going to hit.”
For the Mets to have any shot at playing some meaningful games in September, they’ll need d’Arnaud to breakthrough in a big way this season. So far, they continue to wait for that to happen.