ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Former Met Travis d’Arnaud continues to be in the middle of everything for the Rays.

The Mets jettisoned d’Arnaud after just 15 at-bats this season as he was coming back from Tommy John surgery, but the Rays had the inside advantage of hitting coach Chad Mottola, who had the same job with Toronto when a young d’Arnaud was there.

Mottola simplified things and has daily conversations with d’Arnaud about staying on the path to success — and that has made all the difference.

D’Arnaud kept the Rays’ first inning rally alive Tuesday night with a two-out RBI-single against Justin Verlander as Tampa Bay put three runs on the board in a 4-1 victory over the Astros at Tropicana Field to even the ALDS at 2-2. Verlander had allowed just one hit and no runs over seven innings in the Astros’ 6-2 win in Game 1.

D’Arnaud also got on base via a hit by pitch and made a beautiful sweep tag in the fourth inning to nail Jose Altuve at home on a perfect relay throw from shortstop Willy Adames, who gathered in Kevin Kiermaier’s throw from center field.

“It’s awesome,’’ d’Arnaud said of life with the Rays. “It was something I thought about right away when I got hurt. ‘All right, 2019 playoffs, let’s go.’ ’’

Yes, d’Arnaud thought he would be in the postseason, he just thought it would be with the Mets.

“I didn’t think I would be on a different team, but I was thinking playoffs for sure,’’ he said. “Coming over here, I knew all the players had those ambitions as well. There were 25-30 people here every day saying, ‘We want to make the playoffs,’ and I think that helped me play better. It’s been crazy.’’

“It’s about us understanding each other, having that daily conversation,’’ Mottola said of his work with d’Arnaud and the way the coaches collaborate with the players. “It’s about him recognizing that some days he doesn’t feel it, and we have to discover things. When it works, it’s very simple. Some days he can get very long and recruit the wrong muscles so then we have to go back and simplify it. But it’s the understanding and acceptance it’s going to be a little bit of maintenance daily.’’

D’Arnaud was acquired by the Rays from the Dodgers on May 10. Between the three teams, he tied a career high with 16 home runs (all with Tamp Bay) and set a career high with 69 RBI. The homers are a club record for a catcher, passing Wilson Ramos (14 in 2018) and John Flaherty (14 in 1999).

His 67 RBI from May 11 on were second on the team to Austin Meadows. He led the team in hitting with runners in scoring position, producing a .348 average.

He also did a strong job behind the plate, catching an exhausting bullpen game.

“It’s so much fun to catch all these guys,’’ d’Arnaud said. “We can mix and match, Nothing better than to work with a great staff and especially when they all believe in each other.’’

The Rays believe.