Mets’ former batting champ uneasy over recent benching

jeff mcneil, mets

The New York Mets haven’t had the greatest start to the season as despite having expectations of a team that could be competing until the end of the year for a playoff spot, a shaky start and struggles to perform have led to the blue and orange to sit at nine games under .500 (28-37) albeit just 3.5 games out of the final wild-card spot.

Despite the struggles, the Mets have not waved the white flag, and if a player has underperformed, they have lost their opportunity. Despite being in the second season of a two-year $15 million contract, Omar Narváez was designated for an assignment in favor of Tomás Nido, who then got DFA’d in favor of Luis Torrens.

Adrian Houser, who was brought in this past offseason to be a key member of the rotation, has been demoted to the bullpen when the 31-year-old has struggled. One Met has felt unaccustomed with consistently being kept out of the lineup while he has underperformed.

Jeff McNeil has felt unaccustomed to being consistently benched

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

For the fifth time in six games, Jeff McNeil found his name kept out of the lineup card when the Mets squared off against the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

“It’s something I’m not really used to,” McNeil said following the 4-2 loss. “But the team has been playing well this last week. Working on some things, had a good game the other day, and be back at it tomorrow.”

Jeff McNeil via The New York Post

The California native has struggled this season, slashing .208/.298/.322 across 59 games with three home runs and 14 RBIs.

The common thread to the 32-year-old’s recent string of benchings has been the Mets facing off against left-handed starting pitchers, with McNeil’s lone start in the last six games coming on Sunday with right-hander Taijuan Walker on the bump for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Mets could be moving on from McNeil

jeff mcneil, new york mets

Despite the trend, Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said it is not strictly a lefty-righty platoon with Jose Iglesias.

“Actually, no,” Mendoza said before Tuesday’s game. “I’ve spoken to him knowing we’d be facing two left-handers in the first two games of this series. I told him, ‘You’ll play against one.’ Today, because Iglesias has been performing well against lefties, he’s playing, and it’s very likely that Jeff will play [Wednesday] against a lefty.”

Time will tell if McNeil returns to being the Mets’ full-time second baseman, but with the trade deadline approaching and Iglesias’ impressive performance, that ship may have sailed.

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