Mets’ David Stearns credits Carlos Mendoza’s ‘steady’ approach

Carlos Mendoza has been himself throughout the Mets’ first spring training, 0-5 start to the year and a strong bounce back since the club’s season got back on track.

Team president David Stearns has only had one camp and only 2¹/₂ weeks of regular season games to analyze, but he’s happy with his job as manager.

“From the first day of spring training until today, I think he’s been very consistent,” Stearns, speaking publicly for the first time this season, said before Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the Pirates at Citi Field. “And that’s very important throughout a major league season. You go through ups and downs, you go through losing streaks, you go through winning streaks. You understand that it’s a long season and there’s going to be tough times… I think he did a great job.”

Mets president David Stearns said he appreciated Carlos Mendoza’s “steady” approach early in the season. Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

Mendoza, who is in his first year as a major league manager after serving as the Yankees’ bench coach, did not call a closed-door meeting when everything went wrong in Week 1 of the season.

There were no conspicuous military rally-like speeches held in the clubhouse. Instead, Mendoza continued to publicly preach his faith in the team, which subsequently turned around and hit over .500.

“I think in times like that, there’s a lot of things you don’t do,” Stearns said. “I think in those moments it’s about being yourself, being consistent and not deviating. I think Mendy was and has been very good at her ability to do that and demonstrate that.”

Stearns cited “consistency and aggressiveness” as Mendoza’s distinguishing qualities.

The Mets didn’t budge.

They have climbed out of an early-season hole and have played like a dynamic group over the past week.

Mets President David Stearns met with manager Carlos Mendoza during spring training. Corey Shipkin of the New York Post

“I think the last few nights and last week more than anything the energy from the team has been great for all of us,” Stearns said. “From a front office standpoint, this is very difficult to manufacture. It just has to happen.

“It’s a result of the coaches and coaching staff working hard to create an atmosphere. I think it’s a result of the players believing in each other and really enjoying the time they spend together.” It was great for me to see it over several nights.”

Jose Quintana pitched five innings, allowed one run on four hits and three walks, and was unable to strike out any batters, but he showed pitching that got him out of a pinch.

The left-hander has allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of the 17 games he started for the Mets.

Jose Quintana pitches in the Mets’ victory. Jason Suzens, New York Post

“A game like tonight is not the best for me,” Quintana said. “Keep fighting to put yourself in a position to win the game.”

Jeff McNeil hit an RBI double in the seventh inning and has an on-base percentage of .438 over his past eight games.

“I mean, he’s a good hitter,” Mendoza said.

Although he still can’t hit often, Edwin Diaz still hasn’t pitched as fast as he did in 2022. The closer is averaging 96.6 mph on his four-seam fastball, and averaged 95.8 mph on Monday. In 2022, Diaz’s fastball averaged 99.1 mph.

Stearns said Monday’s slump, especially at the end of Diaz’s back-to-back games, was “within normal limits.”

“I’m not worried,” Stearns said.

Tyler Megill (right shoulder strain) was scheduled to throw from 120 feet Tuesday, Mendoza said. Megill, who has been sidelined since March 31, began pitching practice last week.

Sean Reed-Foley (right shoulder impingement) is scheduled to pitch in back-to-back games at Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday and Thursday.

This will be the last box checked off for Reid Foley, who struck out his team against High-A Brooklyn on Sunday.

The Mets have no choice but to make a decision with Reed-Foley. The only pitchers available in their bullpen are Reed Garrett and Grant Hartwig.

Kodai Senga (right shoulder capsule pain) will be sidelined until at least May 27, at which point he will be eligible to return from the 60-day IL.

Stearns said he doesn’t know if Chiga, who throws from 120 feet, will be able to return after qualifying.

“I don’t think it’s that far off,” Stearns said.