They are hot, so as Crash Davis said you don’t mess with a streak. This is not a time for the Mets to be making wholesale changes, but there are things they could consider.
The Mets don’t have the multitude of power options that say, Ben & Jerry’s has ice cream choices, but Daniel Murphy appears to becoming one.
Lately, he has been driving the ball for power; something I always thought he was capable of doing. Through seven games he has eight hits, with five going for extra bases – two homers, two doubles and a triple. He encored his five RBI weekend against the Marlins with two doubles last night in Philadelphia.
Apparently, his strained intercostal muscle isn’t an issue, or is it?
Terry Collins suggested in trying to protect his injury Murphy has fallen into the good habit of staying within himself. He’s focusing on the pitch with the intent of driving it up the middle and going to the opposite field.
Consequently, his swing is shorter and compact. He’s not overthinking to the point of trying to pull the ball or guessing pitches.
“It’s made me do is focus on work I was able to put in during the off-season, and even the work that I’ve done in past years,’’ Murphy told reporters in Philadelphia, “I get a little bit older in this game, it doesn’t have to be perfect.’’
Power comes from strength and bat speed. Murphy is strong, and coupling that with sound fundamentals quickens his bat.
Wade Boggs, Tony Gwynn and Ichiro Suzuki aren’t power hitters, but fundamentally strong. I’ve seen Boggs drive ball after ball into the seats during batting practice. He always said he could hit for power if he wanted to.
I believe Murphy can be the same way. He’s the most patient of the Mets’ hitters. For whatever reason why Murphy is driving the ball, it makes one wonder about his optimum place is in the batting order.
His patience and on-base percentage suggests he could be a leadoff hitter. For those saying he’s not fast, you’d be right, but he’s fast enough. Remember, Pete Rose wasn’t fast, but simply one of the best leadoff hitters in history.
He’s currently second for the purpose of working the count to enable the leadoff hitter a chance to run. Only trouble is the Mets have used four leadoff hitters already. Who is running?
“I continue to think [Murphy] is going to be a very, very good offensive force,’’ Collins told reporters in Philadelphia, “to the point where it’s going to be a question whether he has to continue hitting second or you’ve got to put him in the middle of the lineup someplace.’’
Ideally, a team’s best hitter – defined as the combination of power and average – bats third, but that’s David Wright’s spot. However, should Murphy continue to stroke the ball while Ike Davis keeps struggling, why not move him to third and drop Wright and Davis one slot into the order?
This lengthens the order to the point where Lucas Duda could be batting seventh, which doesn’t make the bottom third a black hole.
They are winning so keep a pat hand. This is just a suggestion to tuck away for later.