Conforto produced RBI doubles against 2014 American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber in each of his first two at-bats Sunday to help fuel the Mets' 6-0 victory against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday at Progressive Field.
Manager Terry Collins installed Conforto as the third hitter this weekend to try to awaken the Mets’ struggling offense. Conforto went 5-for-12 with three doubles, one homer and three RBIs during the three-game series.
Asked if it was at all intimidating going into that slot in the order at age 23 after previously batting sixth, Conforto said: “I wouldn’t say intimidating. I would say exciting. Anytime you’re in the heart of the lineup, in a spot where you can do some damage and drive in some runs, that’s really exciting. For me, it’s been that way. I never had any nervousness about it. It just kind of felt natural -- kind of where I’ve been in college and through the minor leagues. I feel pretty good there.”
Said Collins: “He’s got enough support in the clubhouse with those veteran guys. He knows that they’re behind him. I think that makes it easier.”
After Conforto's big weekend, Collins noted that the former first-round pick is going to bat third “for a while, except when we face lefties.”
The Mets are not quite resolved yet to regularly have Conforto in the lineup against southpaws. Of course, the Mets have only faced one left-handed starter this season anyway.
“I think that’s where he’s going to end up hitting one of these days full time -- against everybody,” Collins said about Conforto as the No. 3 hitter. “We thought he was swinging the bat good. He’s been getting on base. So we just said, ‘Hey, look, maybe it’s time to put him there and maybe he can springboard the offense a little bit.’
"It paid off in this series.”