While Terry Collins used one of the few options he had to get his club on track on Thursday, his reconfigured lineup was unable to awaken the slumping Mets offense.
"There wasn't a lot of movement we could make, except to try to get some guys at the top of the order," the manager said before a 6-1 loss to the Cubs.
Collins, who was without Michael Cuddyer, moved Darrell Ceciliani to the two spot in the order and batted Ruben Tejada ninth. He also switched Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, hitting Murphy third and Duda cleanup, and started Eric Campbell in leftfield in place of John Mayberry Jr.
The change in the order did not yield a change in results, though. Although the Mets snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak in the third inning, they struck out more times (eight) than they reached base (five) and have totaled one run in their past 29 innings. Ceciliani went 0-for-4, Murphy went 1-for-4 and Duda, Campbell and Tejada each went 0-for-3.
"I thought the idea of getting Ceciliani at the top of the order, which is where he's always hit in his [minor-league] career, was something that could help," Collins said. "I got Murph to where Murph's up in the first inning, trying to get him as many at-bats as we can."
Ceciliani said of his spot in the order, "I try to say the same no matter what, just trying to put up good [at-bats]. Unfortunately, today was a tough one, but that's baseball. You're not going to go out and have a good day every day. I just try to keep the same approach."
Regardless of who is hitting where, the Mets' offense has struggled this year, ranking 28th in runs per game (3.5) and team on-base plus slugging percentage (.654). This is not merely the product of playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, either. The Mets came into Sunday with the second-worst park-adjusted OPS in the majors, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Collins said the lineup's ineffectiveness is disheartening and added that he believes his team is pressing.
"Not only do I feel it, I know it," he said. "I talk to them. I know exactly what they're doing."
Collins said his players are putting pressure on themselves "instead of just saying 'get a good pitch here and put a good swing on it.' ''
He added, "The job's hard, so let's just go up there and do the best we can, and if you don't get a hit, it's not the last at-bat you're ever going to get."