Well, after going just 8-58 in his last 16 games, Terry Collins is starting to use the hot hand by inserting Jordany Valdespin and Justin Turner into the lineup more often. Now, the last two games the Mets were opposed by a couple of lefties, so naturally this gave Collins a good reason to sit Murphy down, as to clear his head. But you have to wonder if Murphy will be caught in a platoon or if this is just a slump he can fight through.
With his defense under constant scrutiny, it has been the prevailing thought around these parts that as long as Murphy hits, we’ll let his defense slide. What happens when he doesn’t hit though?
Look, we all know that Murphy is a great contact hitter who has great plate discipline and is likely to bust out of the slump sooner or later, but when you’re sporting a .270/.313/.342 slash line with no power you justifiably have reason for concern. After all, Murphy’s .655 OPS only ranks 18th in the league.
While the home runs would be nice (as everyone should know he has to go yard this season), Mets’ fans would at least like to see a couple of more doubles from Murphy. Murphy does have good gap power and has a more than-respectable 17 doubles on the year. However, only three of them have been hit in June.
Many Mets’ fans are saying they want to see Valdespin get a shot at second, given his power/speed potential. Heck, I was even part of that bandwagon, but this rush to dismiss Murphy as the Mets’ starting second baseman because of one prolonged slump is just too hasty.
Murphy is a gamer, who will go the extra mile to help the club win games. Believe it or not, Murphy is the second most-tenured Mets’ hitter on the club. Murphy has been through the thick and the thin and has experience on his side. You can’t just dismiss Murphy’s value to this club, shrug it off and pin him as the current scapegoat.
Now is he better suited for the American League? Perhaps (and I guess this is why the Mets should explore all possible trade options when it comes to Murphy), but the Mets have stuck with Murphy for a long time, so they sure as heck won’t give up on him after a protracted slump.
Murphy will likely be inserted into tomorrow’s lineup when he and the Mets face off against the Yankee’s righty Ivan Nova. And depending on how he does against Nova, Collins may opt to sit Murphy down again on Sunday when the Mets are slated to take on the always-tough CC Sabathia, who as you all should know is one of the game’s best lefties.
Once Murphy starts gaining back his confidence and swinging the bat like we all know he can, then this is all going to become a moot point. Eventually Murphy will become the hitter we expect him to be.
Hopefully that starts on Saturday against Nova and the Yankees.
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