PHILADELPHIA -- Lucas Duda passed Saturday’s test against left-handed pitching.
Not only did Duda deliver the decisive RBI single against southpaw Antonio Bastardo in the 11th to lift the Mets to a 2-1 win over the Phillies, Duda also had a fifth-inning single against Cole Hamels that helped create the game’s opening run.
New York Mets
“When you look at left-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers, you watch the swings,” Terry Collins said. “And if they’re swinging at stuff that’s not close, they’re guessing. They’re not seeing the ball. And Lucas didn’t do that. That’s why I was very impressed with his approach.”
Duda now has started twice against southpaws on this trip, as the Mets give him a chance to prove he can be an everyday player. He also faced Gio Gonzalez in Washington.
Duda had started against only six of the first 23 left-handed starting pitchers to oppose the Mets this season.
Still, Duda downplayed any suggestion Saturday felt like a test.
“Not really,” he said. “I really don’t put too much into it. It is what it is.”
Duda hit left-handers early in his major league career, including batting .274 in 2011. That dipped to .239 in 2012, .183 in 2013 and was .149 this season entering Saturday.
Collins has suggested that a general emphasis on pulling the ball in recent years detracted from Duda's success against southpaws.
“I think you just kind of go through ups and downs,” Duda said. “You just continue to work hard every day and see what happens.”