Duda NieuwenhuisThere are six players for the Mets who have started the four previous NLDS games. As you would expect from a small sample, their stats are all over the place. But five of the six have come up big in at least one game and have something to hang their hat on, regardless of how they’ve hit otherwise.

Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy each have two homers. Travis d’Arnaud had the big Game 3, including a homer. David Wright only has one hit in the series, but it was a two-run single to extend the team’s lead to 3-0 in the seventh inning of Game 1. Curtis Granderson has been the team’s most consistent hitter, leading the team in hits (6), doubles (2) and RBIs (5). And then there’s Lucas Duda.

In the four games so far, Duda has two hits and a walk. Wright may not be hitting but at least he’s still getting on base, thanks to five walks. Not only is Duda not getting on base, he’s not even making contact. In this series where strikeouts have reigned supreme, Duda leads everyone with nine whiffs. There’s no shame in struggling against the likes of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. But in the one game where neither of the Dodgers’ aces pitched, Duda was 1-for-5 with four strikeouts.

Coming into the NLDS, Duda was 3-15 with a homer and two walks in 17 PA against Greinke, with five whiffs. In Game 2, he was 0-for-3 with a K against the guy who will take the mound for the Dodgers in Game 5. That’s not a lot of history in a batter-pitcher matchup but what’s there is not particularly good. Then again it’s not like the list of batters who’ve had great success against Greinke is a lengthy one, either.

The Mets’ offense is built on homers and not making outs, walks if you prefer, and Duda hasn’t done well in either facet this postseason. In the three games against the Dodgers’ big two pitchers, the Mets have scored six runs. Four of those came on solo homers and the other two came after they loaded the bases on walks and Wright delivered a single off a reliever.

During the regular season, Duda led the Mets with 27 HR and he was second on the club with 66 BB. The Mets need that guy to make an appearance here in the NLDS.

The fact that Duda is struggling so much is not a big surprise. In addition to the quality of pitching the Mets have faced in this series, Duda was a very streaky player during the year. He was great in April and May, struggled mightily the next seven weeks, was on another tear for 19 games before ending up on the DL and ended the season 0-for-10.

If Greinke pitches a gem and the Dodgers advance, everyone will point to the controversial play in Game 2 as the defining moment of the series. And while we shouldn’t look to minimize that play, we should also look to see how the team’s big bats did. Right now Duda has nothing to put in his column on the plus side. One clutch hit tonight can change all of that.

8 comments on “Mets need Lucas Duda to join the playoff party

  • Metsense

    Lucas has had an inconsistant year but in the end he had very similar results to 2014. I think he is playing a little hurt. I agree he needs to do something but Michael Conforto will be the offensive difference maker tonight and start his legacy in the Met record books. Lets Go Mets!

  • Aging Bull

    How about putting Murph at 1st and KJ at second?

    • Brian Joura

      I’m not ready to do that. I would have been okay sitting him against Kershaw but I want him in the lineup for the deciding game.

      • James Preller

        I agree, Brian, and Johnson’s 0-9 record vs. Grienke doesn’t add to his case.

  • Charlie Hangley

    They need big nights from Duda — in relative terms “big” could mean an RBI single — deGrom and Cepspedes.

  • James Preller

    Grienke is a deceptive, brilliant pitcher who thrives on getting batters to swing at pitches out of the zone. That’s his art in a nutshell.

    We’ll know soon enough how the Mets will fare. If they get chase-happy — Wright (against that RH slider, Duda, d’Araud especially — it could be a rough night.

    I believe they will prevail, but it will take more than Jake deGrom. Somebody’s got to step up tonight and deliver.

    It was very telling that Bautista got the huge hit for the Jays last night. Tonight, I nominate Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto for the tasks. Big guys come up big in big games.

    BTW, five walks by David Wright, that’s nice, I suppose. But part of it is because the guy simply can’t square up a baseball. Nothing but fouls and weak dribblers. He’s extending the ABs, making the pitchers work, but at some point — real, real soon — I’d like to see him crash a double against the wall when it matters.

    Foul, foul, foul, walk. It’s better than an out. But it’s not enough to earn the win.

  • Rob Rogan

    Sounds like tonight is the perfect night for him to break out. Here’s to hoping.

  • EddieMetz

    Hate to say it, but agree with James Preller.
    The Captain needs to get straight and start hitting. His bat is still a bit off since his return and even moreso with the likes of Kershaw and Greinke (whose isn’t ?). Another big hit or two tonight and someone waking up a snoozing Duda will really, really help.
    If the Mets can get to 3-4 runs, I believe the game is theirs, and ours…
    long suffering Met’s fans that we are.
    Prayers go out to that Met’s fan that was critically injured by idiot LA-la fans.
    Maybe Mets should have visited this fan at the hospital for xtra piss and vinegar tonight . Let’s go Mets, punch LA in the teeth tonight, make them and Magic “just go away” !

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