In the biggest moment, Lucas Duda came up short for the New York Mets. Unfortunately, he’s best remembered for this and not the production he had at the plate for several seasons.
New York Mets fans remember Lucas Duda best for one infamous play. In the 2015 World Series, the first baseman with a powerful bat suffered from brain freeze on defense. With an opportunity to prevent the Kansas City Royals from tying things up, Duda threw the ball away and allowed Eric Hosmer to score.
We all know the play. Many suffer from nightmares thinking about it.
Maybe the worst thing of all, this lone error took away all of the good Duda gave the Mets in 2015. The season was one of his better years, a fact that even includes the playoffs aside from this bad throw.
Duda took over as the full-time first baseman for the Mets in 2015. No longer a corner outfielder, first base became his to protect. Often, the Mets could excuse his bad defense for good offense. In the latter department, he did deliver regularly.
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The 2015 season included 27 home runs, 73 RBI, a .838 OPS. Duda didn’t hit for a very good average, but once again struck baseballs with nice power and managed to find ways to reach base regardless of his heavy stick. Getting hit by 14 pitches was one way he managed to create traffic on the base paths. Whatever he could do to help this team, the Duda would abide.
The postseason is where we really needed to see what Duda was made of. The Los Angeles Dodgers held him at bay, limiting him to two singles in 20 plate appearances. In the Chicago Cubs series, Duda made up for it with a .400/.455/.900 slash line over four games. Right beside Daniel Murphy and others who caught fire, it made for an easy sweep.
Unlike the NLCS, the World Series wasn’t as easy on the Mets bats. Murphy cooled down. Yoenis Cespedes disappeared. And the Royals’ pitching staff held their opponent to a .193 batting average.
Duda was one of the few players on the Mets who actually did hit in the series. While Michael Conforto blasted a pair of home runs and finished the series batting .333, Duda was helpful as well with his .263/.318/.263 batting line. There’s nothing amazing about it. However, only Conforto and Juan Lagares hit for a higher average in this series.
Any of the good Duda accomplished in this series washed away on that one play.
We forgot about his team-leading 27 home runs. The 73 RBI (tied for the team lead with Murphy) also got stuck somewhere behind the nightstand.
I’m not saying we should forgive Duda for “losing the World Series.” His throw belongs right up there with Bill Buckner.
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All I would like to see is some acknowledgment that Duda was an important part of the 2015 Mets. I think much of what he did that year dissolved on one bad play.