Lucas Duda is getting hot at the right time – hopefully it lasts…
It’s hard to conclude a player who has 24 home runs has had a quiet, inconsistent season.
However, Lucas Duda has defined inconsistency for the Mets in 2015. But thanks to two small spurts of dominance, his numbers closely resemble his production from 2014, if only a slight dropoff from that.
But Duda’s 2014 season was a little more fluid from start to finish.
Or, from the moment the Mets decided Duda would be their first baseman, and not Ike Davis.
But it’s those two short stretches of dominant hitting in which he’s carried the Mets offense followed by long stretches of empty at-bats which suggests he’s been inconsistent, but not necessarily quiet.
After all, he has 24 home runs. Only Yoenis Cespedes has more on the team, although Duda’s 24 home runs as a Met lead the club.
And it would appear Duda is emerging from another long and concerning malaise at the plate, as he hit a pair of three-run home runs on Friday night in Cincinnati in a 2-for-4 night, his 12th career multi-home run game.
Duda now has a modest three-game hitting streak, but that’s not the most important thing anyway.
He has eight RBI and five extra-base hits during his three-game streak.
“You know how hard this guy works to get ready to play,” manager Terry Collins said after Friday’s win. “He got real frustrated last week when he wasn’t swinging [well]. He came out for two days early, and took another 40 swings extra, which is something we’re accustomed to him doing.
“It helps him,” Collins continued. “It helps him relax. It helps him feel better. And we’re seeing the results.”
He does work extra hard at his craft, and it’s unfortunate his efforts have resulted in mysterious inconsistency in 2015. He is constantly studying video before and after games, getting long, extra-work in the cage under the stadium, and that doesn’t include his batting practice routine which includes extra fielding drills on the field.
“I always tend to work a lot, I guess,” Duda explained. “I like to. I think the timing is coming back.”
All the Mets can do is hope he’s now in one of those unstoppable grooves the first baseman has had in two other occasions in 2015.
Outside of this three-game stretch, Duda has mostly been a crater in the middle of the Mets lineup since returning from the disabled list, hitting just .154 with a double and a home run in 13 games between September 8 and September 22.
That one home run came on September 18 against the Yankees. Until Friday night against the Reds, that was his only home run since August 2 against the Nationals.
Duda has hit a total of 15 home runs 15 games in two separate stretches. He hit six home runs in a seven game span in late May, and nine home runs in a span of eight games in late July into early August.
The Mets are 10-5 in those 15 games.
He has nine home runs in his other 114 games this season.
But if this is indeed another torrid streak for Duda and it can be extended through the end of the regular season and into the postseason, those inconsistencies might merely be a distant memory for him and the Mets.