Lucas Duda was not in the lineup on Wednesday night, which wasn’t entirely surprising since Brian Matusz, a southpaw starter, was on the mound yesterday for the Orioles. However, Terry Collins said that Duda was not in the lineup due to a tight hamstring. The Mets skipper said that the injury is very minor and their starting left fielder will not have to miss time, but last night was the right time to sit him, and it certainly was.
With Duda being the most threatening power bat in the Mets lineup this season, it’s tough to sit him, especially since he’s registered at least one hit in all but three of his last 19 games and has reached base in 22 straight (a career-high). The coaches didn’t want to take a chance on that hamstring cramping up in the heat, and this was the perfect time to sit Duda anyways. With Matusz on the mound last night, it enabled Terry Collins to throw every right-handed hitter on the field that the team has to offer.
So, in Duda’s place, Scott Hairston took right field and rewarded Collins for his decision, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. Hairston is making it very easy for Collins to put him in against any left-hander, as he continues to punish them at a .351/.383/.714 clip. However, keeping Duda fresh for the start of summer will be vital towards the Mets success.
Keeping him on the bench and out of the heat was a great move, especially since he will have an extra day to rest that tight hammy today before the Yankees roll into town for the weekend. Outside of David Wright (8 HR/39 RBI) Duda has been the only real consistent power source in the Mets lineup, leading the team with 11 home runs and 42 RBI. Ike Davis appears to be back to his old self in the middle of the order, but keeping those that are consistently producing fresh for some of the tougher stretches of the year should be on the top of every manager’s priority list.
Duda did play 138 games between Triple-A and the Major Leagues with the Mets in 2011, but called up later in the season last year, not feeling the effect of being a starting position player in the MLB just yet. So, it behooves Terry Collins to be sensitive to that, even if he doesn’t let Lucas know. Especially with the Yankees coming in this weekend, it is important for the Mets to have as many power threats in the lineup as possible, since the Bronx Bombers lead the league with 105 home runs this season.
Thankfully, this injury doesn’t look to be serious, and Collins is once again making the strategic moves to ensure that this tight hamstring doesn’t turn into a trip to the disabled list. Once again, bravo to the Mets skipper keeping a close eye on his players and making sure they’re getting the rest and attention they need to be at their best.