Where would the Mets be without Lucas Duda? The Mets defeated the Brewers on Sunday thanks to the first baseman’s 18th home run of the season and 4th in the past six games. With the score knotted at 0-0 in the sixth inning, Duda smoked an 0-2 slider into the second deck in right field, providing all of the run support that the Mets would need.
While the Mets offense has continued to struggle since the All-Star break, Lucas Duda and the Mets pitching staff turned a potentially disastrous 10 game road trip into an even one. Duda’s two-run homer on Sunday was his third blast of the series in Milwaukee and second game-winning shot. Just two days earlier, Duda bested former teammate Francisco Rodriguez in the top of the 9th, dealing the All-Star his 4th blown save of the year.
"He's had a tremendous road trip," manager Terry Collins said. "Let's hope he remains hot." (ESPN)
“Lucas looks unbelievable at the plate,” Daniel Murphy told SNY after the game. “He’s taking the discipline we always knew he had at the plate and when he swings, man, he’s making some loud noises. He’s just been fun to watch.” (Metsblog)
It certainly appears that Sandy Alderson made the right decision when he dealt struggling 1B Ike Davis to the Pirates in favor of Duda. Entering today Lucas ranks 6th in the NL in home runs, 15th in RBIs and 11th in OPS. Only Anthony Rizzo (CHC) has more home runs among NL 1B and Duda’s 2.3 WAR is 4th in the NL at his position, putting him ahead of all-stars like Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Justin Morneau and Adrian Gonzalez. (NL 1B Sortable Statistics)
From the mound, Mets hurler Jacob de Grom (5-5, 2.79 ERA) was stellar once again. Pitching well into the 7th inning, de Grom, with his lanky legs and flowing hair, struck out 4 and did not allow a single run. Mets fans are growing accustomed to such strong performances from the rookie. In the month of July, de Grom is 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA and 38 Ks. With no standout performers to name so far this season, de Grom has asserted himself as an intriguing candidate for National League rookie of the year.
"He's been very good. I guess he has to go out each time and prove it," Collins said. "He was very good today." (ESPN)
While the Mets were able to salvage the road trip at 5-5, their bats will need to wake up if they intend to cut into the 7 game wild card deficit that they currently face. Aside from Lucas Duda’s 4 road-trip homers, Curtis Granderson has the only other round-tripper for the Mets since the break. Since their first game back in San Diego, the Mets are hitting only .186 as a team and have scored only 22 runs (both figures rank 29th in the MLB over that span).
The Mets will begin an incredibly important home stand on Monday night when the Phillies head to town. Bartolo Colon (9-8, 4.03 ERA) will be taking on AJ Burnett (6-9, 3.86 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET.