Brandon Nimmo certainly doesn’t believe that one home run gets him all the way back to being the productive hitter he was for much of last season.
But the slumping Mets leadoff man finally got on the board this season by going deep — and adding a double and a walk in five plate appearances — in Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota at Citi Field.
“It felt good, definitely a relief getting that first one out of the way, but it’s still a process and I still don’t feel like myself up there,” Nimmo said before Wednesday’s series finale against the Twins. “I just feel like I haven’t been making the right decisions up there yet, my decision-making has been a little slow.
“But that’s just part of it; you have to compete when you don’t feel great. The great part about [Tuesday] night is you don’t feel that great, but I was still able to get a double and a home run and a walk. So I know it’s just a matter of time.”
One of Nimmo’s strengths at the plate always has been his keen eye, pitch recognition and ability to put the ball in play, as evidenced by his 80 walks and a .404 on-base percentage over 535 plate appearances in 2018. He entered Wednesday’s game with 19 strikeouts, the most in the National League, in just 33 at-bats this season.
“I’m definitely working on seeing the ball out of the hand and feeling comfortable with letting the ball travel a little bit,” Nimmo said. “For me, my thing has always been that I’ve been able to put the ball in play. But this one, not touching the ball, this has been very weird for me.
“I’ve talked with some prior hitting coaches, and it just seems very much like an anomaly. I don’t quite have an answer for it, but it’s very unusual for me to not be able to put the ball in play the way this has gone. This has been a very weird experience for me.”
Nimmo is taking his third-inning homer Tuesday night off Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson and a double later in the game as “good signs that we’re about to flip the switch,” although he cautioned he’s “still working on a ton of stuff” with new hitting coach Chili Davis.
Mickey Callaway said that he considered dropping Nimmo out of the leadoff spot, but the manager finally was rewarded Tuesday for sticking with him atop the lineup.
“I think in Nim’s case he was just swinging at pitches that he hadn’t swung at last year, because they were elevating up and in against him. It was that one spot that he wasn’t recognizing very good and he wasn’t able to lay off of it,” Callaway said. “Hopefully we can take that burden off the players where they can just go out there and perform and think about maybe one or two little keys to get them going in the right direction.”