Largely overlooked in the Mets offensive renaissance is that Lucas Duda has not been a part of it. But he really needs to step it up to give the Mets their best chance of advancing in the playoffs.
Duda’s towering home run against the Yankees last Friday was his first one in more than a month. To be fair, he did miss a couple of those weeks with a back injury. But still, he has become a hole in a lineup that suddenly does not really have any.
I was never big on parsing players’ statistics as a way of judging them (if you take away all of his poor outings, Pitcher X has a 1.50 ERA, for example); I feel a player should be evaluated based on all of his numbers. But I will do it here because I think it is justified — take away that smoking hot stretch in which Duda hit nine home runs in eight games, and he only has 13 homers on the season. It means he has been virtually absent all year long. Combined that with his .240 average and only 58 RBIs, and this is a disappointing follow-up to his breakout 2014 season.
How bad has it gotten? With the bases loaded and the Mets down 5-0 Saturday, when a grand slam would have gotten the Mets back in the game, Terry Collins chose to pinch hit Juan Uribe for Duda. Duda is actually hitting reasonably well against lefties this season — .281, as opposed to just 226 against righties. Of course, he has much more power against righties — 17 of his homers have come against them.
The Mets need to fire on all cylinders if they hope to continue playing deep in October and into early November. Lucas Duda is a vital cog in this machine. He just has to do better.