What’s Going on with Daniel Murphy?

Daniel Murphy has become the forgotten man on the Mets roster. Did he do something to offend Terry Collins?

Daniel Murphy hasn't seen much action lately
Daniel Murphy hasn't seen much action lately

There’s no denying that Murphy is in a  slump — he is hitting just .187 this month as his average has dropped from a high of .308 on June 2 to a current .269.

But what’s still a bit puzzling is that Murphy has started just two of the past seven games. All but one of the games was started by a lefty, so perhaps Collins wanted to give Murphy “a better chance to succeed,” as he is doing with Ike Davis.

But here’s the thing — Murphy fares decently against left handed pitching. He is not one of these lefty hitters who is incompetent against fellow lefties.

This season Murphy is hitting .253 against lefties as opposed to .277 against righties; not a big difference. Plus, exactly half of Murphy’s 28 RBIs have come against lefties despite having far fewer at bats against them.

For his career Murphy is hitting .262 against lefties and .294 against righties.

Obviously he is better against lefties than righties, but the spread is not enough to warrant benching him against lefty starters.

Perhaps Collins is frustrated by Murphy’s stunning lack of power this season — he has exactly zero home runs. Murphy is not a home run hitter but he did hit 12 in 2009, which somehow led the team that awful year. He’s a big strong guy; he should have at least a few homers.

But Murphy does have 18 doubles, which is tied for 10th best in the NL and projects to 39 for a full season. That’s not bad at all.

Given everything, I just wonder if there is something else at play here. Perhaps the Mets are preparing to trade Muprhy and don’t want a prolonged slump to hurt his value.

Or maybe it is just Collins protecting his player from pitchers whom he does not think Murphy can handle right now. Collins has pulled all the right strings thus far this season, so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Still though, it’s odd.


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