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Could Duda and Granderson Be Closer to Breaking Through?

by Guy Kipp | Posted on Monday, June 16th, 2014
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

Installed in the ever-revolving leadoff spot in the Mets batting order on Sunday, Curtis Granderson hit a home run into the second deck.

In the same game, Lucas Duda hit a pair of doubles, drilling them into the gap with authority in the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Padres to cap a series victory over San Diego, the worst offensive team in the National League.

Granderson, whose average was floundering as low as .122 at one point after a dreadful April, had started to come around prior to a quad injury that kept him out of the lineup for a few days. It must have been a relief for the classy veteran to realize the few days out of the lineup didn’t rob him of his newfound batting stroke.

Duda looked poised to break out when he crushed a two-run homer to left-center field in the 11th inning to beat the Phillies in that marathon series on June 1. But Duda, who forever tantalizes without ever seeming to achieve real consistency, has now gone two weeks since without another home run. However, the 6-4, 255-pound lefty first baseman pounded four doubles in three games against the Padres.

After Duda’s game-winning homer against the Phillies at the beginning of the month, Mets manager Terry Collins commented that it was that kind of gap power to the opposite field that enabled Duda to reach the major leagues four years ago. But, after a .292 season in 2011, Duda has bounced between .220 and .240 most of the time, raising eyebrows with an occasional long home run, but showing a frustrating passive streak in RBI situations.

Say this for Lucas Duda. He’s not a batter prone to chasing bad pitched. No, quite the contrary. Lucas’ biggest problem has been watching too many good pitches go by. His career numbers with the bases loaded (.125, 3-for-24) are staggeringly poor for a power hitter (or for any hitter other than a pitcher). But he has improved markedly with runners in scoring position overall (at least when the bases aren’t loaded), batting .283 in those situations in 2014.

Duda has hit six of his eight home runs this season at Citi Field, but other than launching a half dozen bombs, Duda has been the poster boy for the Mets’ offensive struggles in their home park, where he has batted just .183 in 2014 compared to a .302 batting average on the road.

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