Terry Collins hints that big changes coming to Mets

NEW YORK -- For three straight days against the worst team in the National League, the New York Mets looked helpless at the plate. For 2 1/2 months in a season that began with the highest of expectations, the Mets have been one of the lowest-scoring teams in baseball.

Terry Collins has seen enough.

After a 6-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves in which the Mets had just a single baserunner, Collins suggested he's ready to make significant changes that would involve more than just switching the order of the lineup or sending a player to the bench for a few days.

"You don't want to panic early, but right now with what's going on, we may shake some things up," the Mets manager said Sunday after New York lost for the sixth time in eight games and fell into third place in the NL East for the first time this month.

Collins refused to get specific, but he admitted there will be discussions about left fielder Michael Conforto. Conforto had the Mets' only hit Sunday against Braves right-hander Julio Teheran, but he has been in an extended slump that has seen his batting average fall to .231.

Conforto sparked the Mets early this season after moving to the third spot in the lineup, but he has just seven hits in 56 at-bats (.125) since May 29. Collins sent light-hitting Matt Reynolds up to pinch hit for Conforto against a left-handed pitcher Saturday night, and on Sunday he dropped the 23-year-old outfielder to seventh in the batting order.

Collins said benching Conforto is not an option, but he admitted the team could consider sending him to the minor leagues.

"We're going to look at every angle," he said.

The Mets expect catcher Travis d'Arnaud to come off the disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Kansas City Royals, but Collins downplayed the idea that adding d'Arnaud would be enough of a spark for a team that scored just four runs in three straight losses to the Braves.

"We don't know [if he can help]," Collins said. "He hasn't played in the big leagues in a long time."

The Mets are limited in their options, with neither first baseman Lucas Duda nor third baseman David Wright expected back from the DL anytime soon. The team could consider calling up second baseman Dilson Herrera and shifting Neil Walker to third base, but the more likely move would be to call up an outfielder such as Brandon Nimmo to take Conforto's spot.

Nimmo, a former first-round draft pick, entered play Sunday with a .327 batting average at Triple-A Las Vegas.

"We've got to get better," Collins said. "We've got to start playing better."

The Mets had hoped they were doing just that when they won back-to-back games against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Conforto contributing two hits in the first of those wins. But they hit just .156 as a team in the three losses to the Braves, dropping their team batting average for the season to .234.

Only the Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have scored fewer runs than the Mets, and Sunday's game was the 17th time in 68 games this season that the Mets have been held to one run or none.

"We're going to go through these rough times," Conforto said. "It's part of the sport."

He's hoping this rough stretch doesn't cost him his job.

"I want to be here," Conforto said. "I want to help the team win. I want to help us get out of this."

The Mets want to get out of it, too. After what they saw this weekend, they're ready to make changes to see it happen.