Amed Rosario is not a finished product, not even close. But his continued development — and improvement, the Mets hope — will be among the primary story lines of their second half.
Consider Tuesday night’s 7-3 loss to the Phillies a win for Rosario.
The 22-year-old shortstop finished 3-for-4 with two triples, and he had a hand in all of the Mets’ runs, scoring two and driving in the other. During a stretch in which individual Mets have taken turns providing the offense — nobody over the weekend, Wilmer Flores on Monday — this was Rosario’s turn.
It was Rosario’s best game in the two weeks since returning from a three-day benching to focus on his behind-the-scenes work with hitting coaches Pat Roessler and Tom Slater and infield coach Gary DiSarcina. If you tilt your head and squint a little, you can see progress.
Not with the batted balls yet; three hits Tuesday matched Rosario’s total in his previous 10 games. But in a small sample size since June 27, his first start back, Rosario has walked in 20 percent and struck out in 14.3 percent of his plate appearances.
Before his benching, Rosario had a 3.2-percent walk rate and 21.4-percent strikeout rate.
“His hitting has progressed a little bit,” Mickey Callaway said. “Probably not to the same level as his defense, but it’s definitely improved. His chase rate has gone down a little bit. The hitting coaches really feel like he’s making some improvements from day to day, week to week. I think since those last three days we gave him off, we’ve quite a bit of improvement.”
Said Rosario through an interpreter: “I have a couple of improvements. Obviously the strike zone I’m seeing different, and my right leg I’m using more to take the approach to the ball. That helps me a lot.”
Rosario was about it on Mets highlights for the Mets, who are up to 15 consecutive series without a series win.
In a battle between pitchers making their major-league debut, the Phillies’ Enyel De Los Santos (6 1⁄3 innings, three runs) beat the Mets’ Drew Gagnon (4 2⁄3 innings, six runs). Most of the damage against Gagnon was on a pair of long balls, Maikel Franco’s three-run homer off a hanging curve in the second and Odubel Herrera’s solo shot in the fifth.
The Mets looked to two more rookies to finish it off: Tyler Bashlor (2 1⁄3 innings, one run) and P.J. Conlon (two scoreless).
Second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera exited after six innings. The Mets did not say during the game whether it was because of a physical issue.
“He plays through everything, all the time,” Callaway said. “It really bothers him if he’s swinging righthanded. As long as we’ve got righties out there, he’s kind of OK.”