When New York Mets manager Terry Collins railed at his listless team for not taking advantage of the opportunity to make an impression toward 2014, he had Lucas Duda in mind.
“This is his chance to play every day at first base. That’s where he likes to play,’’ Collins said last night. “We’re hoping he relaxes at the plate. He doesn’t have to worry about playing defense because he knows he can play first.’’
This is the third year the Mets hoped Duda would emerge as their lefty-hitting slugger, and the third time he has disappointed.
However, in Friday night’s 4-3 victory over Miami, Duda responded with a three-run homer in his chance to play with the injured Ike Davis sidelined. Duda has outperformed Davis statistically this season, hitting .236 with 13 homers, 30 RBI and a much-improved .351 on-base percentage.
Even so, Davis has the 32-homer 2012 season on his resume.
The Mets began the season with the offensive approach of patience, of working the count, waiting for and then drivin