With his no-doubt, game-tying sixth-inning homer Sunday afternoon in Washington, Lucas Duda moved himself into serious contention for quite possibly, maybe, just maybe leading the 2011 Mets in home runs.
Duda is fourth on the team right now with nine. He’s one behind Jason Bay for third. Bay has ten, or two fewer than David Wright, who has twelve.
They all trail a Met who hasn’t been a Met for more than a month.
Carlos Beltran is a San Francisco Giant, which isn’t as great a thing to be as one might have thought on July 27 when our then right fielder and erstwhile center fielder was shipped west to solidify San Fran’s pennant drive. The Jints proceeded to turn the cable car around and drive in the wrong direction from there — or maybe the Diamondbacks flat out flattened them. However their tête-à-tête is resolved (and it appears to be going vastly in Arizona’s favor), the one place where one Giant is surely still in first place is the Mets’ home run list.
Carlos still has the home field advantage here. Never mind that he hasn’t gone deep in our uniform since July 20, when he took the Cardinals’ Kyle McLellean over the SNY crew’s heads and onto the Pepsi Porch. His fifteenth homer of the season would leave him with a lead of eight over Wright, nine over Bay and fourteen over dark horse Duda when it came time for him to leave.
Beltran’s final game as a Met was July 26, the Mets 103rd of the season. The team has since played 35 contests without him, yet still their sluggers chase him…sort of. I doubt “Let’s get Beltran!” has been a clubhouse rallying cry, though now that Lucas is loosening the lid on his power and David’s back isn’t giving him any reported trouble and Bay is, uh….anyway, is anyone gonna catch No. 15 and his 15 big ones?
I really don’t know. There was a time when if you gave David Wright 24 games to hit three home runs, there was no doubt he’d do it. That was before they moved his home games from Shea Stadium to within prison exercise yard-high walls. Bay also used to be quite capable of slugging his way out of a paper bag, and Saturday night in Washington indicated he can still get ahold of one now and then. As for Duda, the kid may be just comfortable enough to blast another half-dozen homers in two-dozen more games.
Working against any Met catching the ex-Met for team leadership when this season goes into the books? Fifteen of our 24 games remaining will be played at Citi Field, where no Met hit a home run during the last homestand. Think about it: six games, zero home runs. The Met total for the year thus far is 43 roundtrippers in 66 Citi dates. Not that home runs are necessary to manufacture wins. Bay and Nick Evans went deep on Saturday and the Mets lost anyway. Willie Harris produced a clutch pinch-single and Mike Nickeas squeezed, of all things, on Sunday, and the Mets won. But Duda’s monumental Washington shot proves how helpful it is to get one run with one swing.
And somebody besides a guy who hasn’t been on the team since July leading the team in home runs would just be better for morale.
Besides, isn’t it enough that Beltran’s 66 RBIs still lead all Mets by fifteen…and that Daniel Murphy, out since August 7, has played in more games than any Met in 2011?