PITTSBURGH -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins approached Yoenis Cespedes between the games of Tuesday's doubleheader to make sure the outfielder was capable of playing the second game. After all, Cespedes had been out of the starting lineup because of a sore right hip in the final two games of the weekend in Miami.
Cespedes told Collins he was capable of playing. The slugger then went out and had another quiet game at the plate, and the Mets were swept in a doubleheader with a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the nightcap.
Cespedes went 0-for-7 with a walk in the doubleheader. He's hitting .086 (3-for-35) in his past 11 games.
"I'm a little bit lost at the plate right now, but my hip is not affecting me," Cespedes said through an interpreter.
He went on to note that even if he were hitting at the moment, it would likely have little impact. The Mets are struggling throughout the lineup. They were shut out Sunday in Miami. They scored one run in each of the two games Tuesday in Pittsburgh while losing by identical 3-1 scores. Leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson is 3-for-24 in his past six games. No. 2 hitter Asdrubal Cabrera is 6-for-40 in his past 10. Michael Conforto, who has been dropped from the No. 3 slot, is 4-for-38 in his past 11 games.
"If the guys ahead of me and the guys behind me can't get on base, it doesn't really do anything for me to just be on there on my own," Cespedes said. "I'd have to hit home runs every time."
Cespedes, of course, helped carry the offense during the final two months of the previous season, after his arrival from the Detroit Tigers on July 31 in a trade for Michael Fulmer. This time, Cespedes noted a specific mechanical issue that is hampering him at the moment.
"I know what I'm doing wrong," he said. "I'm jumping ahead a little bit before my swing. I know that I need to slow myself down. I'm having trouble doing that. I think I need to just get back in the cage and work on that."
Although it might agonize Mets fans to hear, Cespedes suggested that it's part of the normal ebb and flow of a season.
"I think that's just a part of baseball," he said. "Everyone has some highs and some lows. And clearly, I'm going through a little bit of a slump right now."
Said Collins: "We've tried to mix the lineup up a little bit. We've moved some guys around. It's not necessarily working."