PHOENIX — Wilson Ramos was surprised and disappointed to be out of the lineup again Saturday, he said, but he is working with Jacob deGrom between the ace’s starts to try to build that relationship.
Tomas Nido caught deGrom against the Diamondbacks, their third consecutive turn through the rotation together. Manager Mickey Callaway stressed that that is a temporary arrangement and not a personal catcher situation. It was also Nido’s third game out of the Mets’ six this week.
“I was surprised because I’m not in there,” Ramos said. “I was ready to catch him, but it happens … We want to give a little more time for us to get better communication. Happy for him because we’ve been having more communication, so hopefully next time I’ll be behind the plate with him.”
And then there is the matter of Ramos’ offense. He was hitting .339 with a 1.002 OPS in his past 18 games entering Saturday.
“I don’t feel happy, because I want to be behind the plate,” Ramos said. “Especially [being off Thursday in addition to Saturday]. I want to play. I feel better at the plate hitting, too, so I don’t want to lose my timing.”
Callaway explained the repeated Nido-deGrom pairing by saying the Mets are “trying to get Jacob on a roll right now,” and Nido gives them the best chance to do that/win a deGrom start. “We feel there’s some value to it at this point,” Callaway said. “They both are aware that this probably can’t continue to happen.”
In notoriously fickle sample sizes, deGrom has a 1.12 ERA (four earned runs in 32 innings) with Nido and a 5.33 ERA (16 earned runs in 27 innings) with Ramos. Neither catcher had caught deGrom before this season.
DeGrom worked mostly with Devin Mesoraco last year, when he won the NL Cy Young Award. But with an eye toward October, the Mets want him to be able to pitch to Ramos, whose bat is important to the lineup.
“We could [continue to use deGrom and Nido together], but then in the playoffs we’d be running into a sticky situation,” Callaway said, adding again that Ramos and deGrom will soon be matched up. “So, look, it’s not something that we’re debating. It’s something that’s going to happen.”
Ramos didn’t offer much of an explanation for why he and deGrom haven’t clicked.
“Sometimes guys feel more comfortable with other guys,” Ramos said. “That’s happening in this case. Nothing bad. Still have good communication, we’re together on this team. But sometimes it feels better with other guys. They give him the [catcher] that feels more comfortable.”
Ramos, in an attempt to improve their communication and rapport, has been trying to spend more time with deGrom in non-game situations. That includes watching Nido’s non-deGrom starts together, during which they can talk through hitters and how deGrom likes to approach certain situations.
“I will be ready for the next time he pitches,” Ramos said. “And I have to respect the decisions they make. It’s not me. We don’t make lineups here. We have to respect the decisions they make.”
Justin Wilson (sore left elbow) threw off a mound for the first time Friday, Callaway said … Among the pregame entertainment in the Mets’ clubhouse Saturday afternoon: the Women’s College World Series on TV. Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Robinson Cano were among those watching intently.