NEW YORK — Although the Mets’ offense has ranked among the game’s best since the second half of the season began, Michael Conforto has not joined the party. Arguably the Mets’ most-feared hitter heading into a contract year, Conforto has been unable to roll his success from the pandemic-shortened 2020 season into 2021.
Conforto’s hitless performance was hardly unique in the Mets’ 2-0 loss to the Braves in Game 1 of a doubleheader Monday at Citi Field. But it was part of a larger trend for the outfielder, whose 1-for-19 stretch has dragged his average down to .201. Conforto stranded three men on base in the seven-inning game, including two when he struck out to end a 10-pitch at-bat against Braves starter Kyle Muller in the third.
That was the Mets’ best threat against Muller, who held them scoreless over five innings. New York starter Marcus Stroman was less effective, giving up eight hits and two runs in five innings of his own, but he kept the Mets within striking distance. They simply never struck.
“Today, I don’t think he took his ‘A’ swing,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of Conforto.
From a personal perspective, this has always been an important season for Conforto, who can become a free agent at season’s end at age 28. Entering the year, Conforto was the clear head of a free-agent outfield class that may also include Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Mark Canha, Starling…