Lucas Duda might be showing signs of life again at the plate
For the better part of two weeks, the Mets middle of the lineup has been nothing short of a black hole with Lucas Duda planted in the middle while he scraped together a 6-for-49 funk with only three extra-base hits between September 8 and September 22.
And Duda’s slump was further magnified during the team’s recent 3-6 homestand, during which he started just 3-for-21.
This wasn’t a typical slump for a power-hitting first baseman. His swing rates have actually been mostly on par with his season average, and he’s been making slightly better contact during this slump than he has over the course of the year.
As such, his strikeouts have actually come down during this recent slump.
In Duda’s case, the quality of his contact has been poor. He had been hitting a lot of weak pop-ups, was not moving runners along, and just simply feeling his way through the strike zone, unsuccessfully at that.
But over the last two days, there are signs things are starting to change for the Mets first baseman, all of which are both good signs and necessary signs as the team begins planning for a run through October.
Duda has now reached base in six of his last eight plate appearances over his last two games. He’s drawn three walks and gone 3-for-5, his three hits all being doubles.
His seventh inning double on Wednesday plated the sixth and final run for the Mets as they went on their way to a 6-4 win over the Reds.
“He’s worked hard,” Terry Collins explained after the game about Duda. “He’s had a lot of extra days of batting practice. He’s a guy who you’ve got to get a lot of reps for to make him feel comfortable. We are going to need him down the road. I just hope he keeps swinging good.”
It’s been a really strange season for Duda. 15 of his home runs have come in two spurts of seven and eight game stretches. The other eight home runs have come in the other 113 games – there have been a lot of hollow stretches like the one he’s been in throughout the month of September.
But it’s those two stretches which have been able to at least give Duda a respectable line for the year. The fact he has 22 home runs – albeit the bulk of them coming in two very small stretches – shows that the power is in there and he’s capable of being a force once again.
As Collins said, Duda has always been a guy who needs reps and continuous swings in order to feel comfortable and maintain his confidence. All the Mets can do is hope he has shaken off that post-DL skid, and Duda is entering one more unstoppable stretch as the playoffs draw closer.
It certainly would be impeccable timing on his part if that were the case.