What’s wrong with David Wright?
If you haven’t asked already, you had to ask after tonight’s debacle. Our captain grounded into a double play in the first, grounded out to open the fourth, grounded into a double play in the fifth, and struck out to end the game.
And that sad chronicle skipped over the seventh and what happened with two outs and the tying run at second. The Dodgers walked Daniel Murphy to get to Wright — and Zack Greinke fanned him.
Murph’s a terrific hitter, but he isn’t David Wright. That moment was embarrassing, and emblematic of just how woeful Wright’s year has become.
So what’s wrong with the captain?
I don’t know. Terry Collins doesn’t know. You don’t know either.
Does Wright himself know?
One desperately hopes he does. Because if so, the most likely answer is that Wright is hurt, and — in very David Wright fashion — isn’t telling anybody. Recall this is a guy who played an absurdly long time with a broken back because he thought it was his job.
It would be bad news if Wright is hurt. But it could be worse news if he isn’t.
If Wright isn’t hurt, what’s wrong? Take your pick of potential maladies.
Maybe it’s just a bad year. Let’s hope so. But there sure have been a number of underwhelming years, haven’t there?
Maybe it’s the after-effects of being beaned by Matt Cain — not every player who’s hit in the head suffers obviously, a la the tragic case of Tony Conigliaro. Baseball demands fearlessness and exquisite timing; the least hesitation in either case can undo a career a piece at a time.
Maybe it’s the effects of Citi Field, seemingly built to work against Wright’s strengths as a hitter. (Let’s blame Dave Howard.) The Wright we saw at Shea was the second coming of Edgardo Alfonzo, a shrewd hitter who was just getting started if the count got to 0-2 — he’d ignore balls and foul off strikes until he wrested control of the count back from the pitcher. That Wright hasn’t existed for years — the one we have now expands the zone when he’s in trouble and often looks frantic when behind in the count.
Maybe Wright’s just getting old. It happens to everybody, but it happens to baseball players early, and in a pitilessly public way. The eyes and hands aren’t as quick, the swing isn’t as powerful, the body is beaten down by so many seasons. There’s no specified age or date when a player begins to decline, and no blueprint for how steep the downward slope will be. Wright will be 32 this year, which is about when a player’s skills start to slip.
Assessing what’s wrong with Wright is a cottage industry these days. I’ve read pretty much every attempt to figure it out, hoping each new one will have the right diagnosis and suggest a cure. None of them does. Because none of us knows.
All I do know is this: Wright is the Mets, the one player a financially wounded team was willing to spend to keep. If his glory days are gone, our dreams of renewed glory will likely disappear with him.