Lucas Duda had his first key moment since being named the everyday starter at first base when he blasted what proved to be the game-winning home run in the Mets 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Wednesday night.
It was his team-leading fourth home run of the year, a solo shot in the sixth inning.
Duda’s four home runs are one shy of his career-high for homers in a month and snapped a six-game homerless drought for the Mets at Citi Field.
Before the game, manager Terry Collins said that he will not bat Duda cleanup and that he could continue to bat sixth for another month.
“We put a lot on Lucas’ plate and I don’t need to pile on.”
Duda has no issue with the decision.
“Whatever Terry decides to do, it’s up to him,” Duda said. “I trust his judgement on everything. I welcome it. It’s up to him.”
Duda has just one start as a cleanup hitter this season, despite leading the team with a .358 on-base, .492 slugging and .850 OPS.
You would thing that with numbers like that and an offense that still struggles to score runs, the natural step would be to give Duda more RBI opportunities while affording David Wright some lineup protection.
Hopefully, Curtis Granderson could finally get going soon, making all of this a moot point. But until that happens, I don’t see the harm in batting Duda cleanup for now.
Collins seems to think it could send the hulking first baseman hiding under the bench in a fetal position. Sorry, I’m not buying that.