Russell: Mets Offense Steps Up Without Cespedes

The Mets have moved from last place to second in a matter of days because of an offensive resurgence.

When Yoenis Cespedes was put on the DL with a hamstring injury, it remained to be seen if the offense could carry the load without him. Especially with the pitching performing below expectations. The team has responded by scoring at least five runs in all eight games since Cespedes was placed on the DL. They scored five in the first inning alone of Saturday’s 11-3 win over the Marlins. And they’ve scored at least seven in each of the last five games.

“You talk about different guys coming through,” Terry Collins said. “T.J. Rivera’s had big hit after big hit the last few games. Jay continues to swing good. Jose’s starting to get going. And that’s how we’re going to have to do it with Ces out and now with Cabby out, we’ve gotta spread the wealth around.”

Everybody got in on the fun on Saturday night. Jay Bruce had two doubles and three RBI. Asdrubal Cabrera had an RBI double before leaving with an injury. Michael Conforto drew a pair of bases loaded walks.

High expectations were supposed to depend upon the arms of their young starters but instead it’s been the offense carrying the team. There were questions about if Jay Bruce could handle New York, and if Michael Conforto would get enough at-bats this season with a crowded outfield. They’ve been the two most effective bats for the Mets in the first weeks of the season.

Conforto is looking more like the hitter that burst on the scene late in 2015 and less like the one that scuffled for a lot of 2016. In 2016, Conforto would not have had the patience or the eye to take two bases loaded walks.

“Last year, he was really geared up to do some damage,” Collins said. “And what you’re seeing right now, I think he’s seeing the ball very, very well but he’s laying off those off speed pitches that last year he didn’t.”

In addition to Conforto and Bruce being far and away the two best hitters, another surprise has been the way the offense has produced. The Mets had a 16-run outburst in Atlanta without hitting a home run and they added 11 more tonight without a longball.

They’ve been stringing hits together and the manager also pointed to bases on balls.

“We talk about it and talk about it and how important they are, and that’s when guys are swinging and they’re a lot more disciplined at the plate, they’re getting on base,” Collins said. “And right now, guys are driving them in.”

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