Saturday, October 16 2021
Dominic Smith Luis Rojas cropped

Dominic Smith Luis Rojas cropped

Compared to 2020, Mets LF/1B Dominic Smith is having a down season. New York as a whole is slumping at the plate, but Smith’s struggles continued in Friday’s 2-1 loss to the Washington Nationals with an 0-for-3 night that included two strikeouts.

Without a home run since July 21, Smith is slashing .241/.301/.360 with 11 long balls and 53 RBI through 122 games. During the shortened 2020 season, Smith broke out with a slash line of .316/.377/.616 while adding 10 homers and 42 RBI over 50 games.

“Up and down,” Rojas said Friday when asked about Smith. “We saw him swinging good. We were in the Arizona, San Diego trip and it’s been kind of scattered when he shows up. The other day, he swung the bat good, two days ago, when he drove in that run with the double and gave us the lead — he looked really good at the plate. And then he hasn’t for two days. So it’s just been up and down. Not involving his lower half as much.

“We talked a little bit yesterday and today about the lower half and he’s looking for that, he’s looking to have his lower half to be more involved so he can be more balanced. If he’s more balanced, he can probably stay back and make contact with those breaking balls that he got repeatedly from (Kyle) McGowin in the eighth, but he just couldn’t stop, couldn’t stay back, as you guys saw. And that’s when the lower half is just disconnected a little bit, right?

“So it’s been an up and down year. He’s one of those guys that’s working hard just to find a consistency, as a lot of guys in our roster.”

If Smith’s pains at the plate persist, will Rojas make a change in left field? He kept his options open there and at third, noting that the hot hand — if there is one — would get most reps.

“Guys are working — like, (Jeff) McNeil was working on some things today,” Rojas said. “He’s finding his way to swing as well, because he’s had his struggles — and that was some of the things he was doing pregame, he did yesterday, too. He actually got to hit on the field. We didn’t do stuff on the field (due to the rain delay). But there was early work and he hit on the field. He came in, he got a bloop single. It’s always good to get a result, even though he didn’t hit the ball hard — that’s good for him. But that’s what we’re doing — we’re going basically in left with the hot hand right now.

“We’re going to do that at third base maybe. Just watching (Jonathan) Villar, who’s been playing the last couple days, and I know J.D. (Davis) been a good hitter for us throughout the season, just getting on base and putting the ball in play against right-handed pitchers mainly.

“But that’s what we’re playing in those two positions, basically. I know McNeil hasn’t played third, but he may play third one day, too, if he gets going. Let’s say he and Dom are swinging a good bat and Villar and J.D. are not going so well — we may mix them in.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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