05/03/2013 7:30 PM ET
Collins hopes to capitalize on Braves' offensive slump
By Anthony DiComo / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- A more pessimistic manager might view a three-game series against one of the National League's titans as a daunting task.
Mets manager Terry Collins sees an opportunity.
"They're a very good offensive club, but they're not swinging very good right now either," Collins said Friday, before the Mets played the first of three games against the Braves at Turner Field. "We've got to capitalize maybe on the fact that they've had some struggles, because they're going to break out of it."
The Braves entered Friday's play with one run over their last 21 innings -- hardly the type of extended offensive funk that sidetracked the Mets during their six-game losing streak last week, but still a noticeable bump in the road.
Collins believes it is the perfect opportunity for his team to take advantage against a club widely considered one of the best in baseball.
"You'd better keep the ball in the ballpark," he said. "When they start hitting homers -- because their pitching's so good -- they're going to beat you. So what we've got to do is keep the ball inside the ballpark and make them earn it a little bit."
Mets option struggling Cowgill, bring up Brown
ATLANTA -- Seeking to shake up their stagnant offense, the Mets on Friday optioned struggling outfielder Collin Cowgill to Triple-A Las Vegas, promoting Andrew Brown to take his place.
Cowgill had given the Mets virtually no production since hitting a grand slam on Opening Day, batting .130 in 18 games since that time. He had not recorded an extra-base hit since April 6 and made a game-changing mistake on defense that led to an extra-innings loss Monday in Miami.
"Maybe one of the worst things that could have happened was to have him walk right out and hit a homer on Opening Day," manager Terry Collins said. "As I told him, I just thought he was over-swinging. When he got on base, he was dangerous. He just wasn't getting on."
Cowgill had not started a game in more than a week, losing playing time to fellow right-handed-hitting outfielder Juan Lagares.
Brown, by contrast, was thriving at Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .367 with two home runs in 25 games, with an .882 OPS against left-handed pitchers. He never received serious consideration to make the Opening Day roster due to his Grapefruit League struggles and Cowgill's strong spring, but Brown has been on fire ever since.
"The report was he's really hitting lefties exceptionally well," Collins said. "We're trying to find some offense in our outfield, so I thought it might be time."
Currently in his seventh professional season, Brown cracked the Majors each of the past two summers with the Cardinals and Rockies, respectively, appearing in a total of 57 games.
"You're getting to go play in the big leagues -- there's nothing better than being here," Brown said. "You don't want to be in Triple-A. You want to be here helping the big club out."
A corner outfielder by trade, Brown also has plenty of history at first base, where he could see playing time for the Mets. He started in right field Friday, batting eighth against Braves left-hander Mike Minor.
"Obviously, I'd probably prefer to take some ground balls here and there ... so I could get used to being in the infield compared to being in the outfield," Brown said. "But I feel like I can do a pretty good job doing it if I'm needed to."
• Collins stopped short of characterizing first base as a platoon situation for the Mets, despite Ike Davis' season-long struggles and Justin Turner's presence in Friday's starting lineup. "It's just a matter of time for Ike," Collins said. "I know if we keep getting him out there, he's going to eventually find it."
• The Mets and Major League Baseball announced Friday that they will host private screenings of the movie "42" for New York City teenagers involved in YMCA programs. Screenings will take place May 6 at UA Kaufman Astoria Cinemas in Queens and May 13 at BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn, with each showing accommodating 300 teens.