By Ed Coleman
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The Mets are now seven games under .500. They are eight games out in the wild-card race. They are nine games behind Washington — where they just dropped two out of three — in the NL East race.
You get the picture.
Double-digits are likely around the corner for the 2014 squad. Despite the pitching prowess, you do need to score some runs occasionally. And when you look at the Mets’ lineup these days, you wonder sometimes how they score at all.
The Mets have just three spots at the moment that are giving them anything resembling decent offense: the right side of their infield and center field. And Thursday in their 13-inning loss, Lucas Duda and Juan Lagares combined to go 1-for-9 with four strikeouts and a walk.
But in fairness, Duda has been a revelation thus far, coming off a breakout July even though he needs to hit lefties better. Lagares has revived himself lately, and continues to amaze defensively on a daily basis in center. And Daniel Murphy does lead the NL in hits, with three more on the ledger Thursday.
But the rest of the lineup can’t get out of their own way right now. And you can start with the captain, David Wright, who continues to insist that his sore shoulder is not a problem. But his hitting is. The Mets have played 20 games since the All-Star break and Wright is now batting .192 (15-78) with zero home runs and just six RBIs during that span. He avoided an 0-for-6 yesterday with a double in his final at-bat.
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Curtis Granderson did have the game-tying RBI that sent Thursday’s game to extras, but it was just his second hit in his last 26 at-bats. He’s hitting .133 (8-for-60) over his last 16 games with 19 strikeouts.
Yes, Travis d’Arnaud has improved, but he’s also slumping. Over his last 15 games, he’s batting .196 (10-for-51).
Ruben Tejada has been more than adequate defensively, but is hitting a paltry .150 (9-for-60) over his last 20 games.
And then there’s the black hole that is left field. Manager Terry Collins goes through his daily brain-tease as to who to put out there to give him a semblance of something.
Chris Young? Need we say more?
The other Young, Eric Jr.? He almost got one into the gap yesterday, but a great Jayson Werth catch turned it into a sacrifice fly. Nonetheless, EY is batting .167 (7-for-42) since July 1.
Eric Campbell? He’s slowed down as well, just .136 (3-for-22) over his last 10 games.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis? Newie has done a terrific job as a pinch-hitter, going 7-for-17 (.412) in that role, further reinforcing his value as a fourth outfielder. But he’s hitting only .196 (9-for-46) otherwise.
So you can see why it sometimes takes Collins hours to figure out what his lineup will be that day. He constantly has to wipe the tears from his eyes.
Maybe a four-game wraparound series against the Phillies in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park over the weekend will cure some ills.
And don’t forget, the run differential is only -1 at the moment.
C U soon
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