WASHINGTON – While the focus has been on the Mets’ injury-prone bullpen or the team’s lack of offensive production, Amed Rosario is quietly putting together impressive hit streaks.
The Mets shortstop entered Wednesday on an eight-game hitting streak, batting .333 (12-for-36) in that span. Rosario has hit safely in 22 of his last 24 games since April 13 and collected 14 RBI over that early-season stretch. The 23-year-old’s career-best hitting streak is nine games — achieved in mid-April this season.
Last week, manager Mickey Callaway adjusted the lineup when the team began its six-game road trip on a disappointing 0-4 start. With Noah Syndergaard on the hill against the Padres, Rosario batted second for the first time this season. He connected right away, slicing an RBI single to score the game’s first run in the opening frame.
Besides one game last season batting in the two-hole, Rosario saw most of his at-bats leading off for the Mets in 2018. The shortstop said he feels very comfortable digging into the box early.
Rosario is at his best in the first inning, where he entered Wednesday hitting .636 (7-for-11) with a home run and eight RBI this year. Since Callaway made the lineup adjustment, the 23-year-old finds himself batting behind Jeff McNeil, the scrappy outfielder who is seemingly always on base. (McNeil’s .439 OBP is 4th in MLB this year, and his .381 OBP last year would’ve been 14th in baseball if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.)
Rosario said he enjoys batting behind McNeil and picks up tips from the Mets leadoff man.
“I love when McNeil bats first, because he’s always trying to put the ball in play or he always gets on base,” Rosario said. “And he always hustles to get in scoring position so he gives me the opportunity to drive in runs.”
The Dominican Republic native thrives on the road, too, where he entered Wednesday on a 14-game road hitting streak since April 13. The last Met to record a longer hitting streak on the road was Daniel Murphy (15 games) from July 18-August 24, 2015.
While Rosario’s offensive production has been consistent, his glove work has been under a harsh spotlight. He’s committed 10 errors in 37 games at shortstop this season. The mishaps are particularly confounding when Rosario makes an impressive grab, then bobbles a routine grounder on his next play.
After making 10 errors in 17 games, Rosario has been error-free in his last four games in the hole.
“I’ve been getting a little lower defensively now, I’ve been working on that pregame,” Rosario said. “I’ve also been slowing the game down because I was getting to the ball too quickly and I was moving too quickly. But now I’m a little bit more calm there on the field.”
Rosario has received support from teammate and friend Jeurys Familia, who knows all too well what it’s like to face adversity with the Mets.
“The only thing we can tell him is he’s young in the league,” Familia said. “He’s in his second year, so he has to have confidence to go out there and enjoy it. Sometimes he puts too much pressure to go out there and do everything perfectly, so he messes up.”
Rosario said he’s been able to get over the defensive struggles by remaining positive every day. He said he knows there are good days and bad days, but he tries to take them in stride by trusting his ability.
Although Rosario got results batting second, Callaway slotted the shortstop in the six-hole behind Michael Conforto for the Mets’ second game against the Nationals on Wednesday. Callaway said Rosario was moved back to make room for J.D. Davis, who started at third base for the Mets.