The Mets have been on a roll. First baseman Lucas Duda has not. Duda has struggled mightily since his return from the disabled list on September 8, posting a .136/.321/.182 line with just one double and one RBI as the team has gone undefeated in that span. Manager Terry Collins has even dropped him to the seven spot in the bating order.
The back injury that landed him on the disabled list—diagnosed as a small thoracic disc herniation—first bothered Duda on August 10. After missing four games he returned, but for only four games, as back stiffness again forced him out of the Mets' 14-9 win in Colorado on August 21. His back may be doing much better after the two-week stint on the DL, but the Mets need Duda to shake off the rust and get back in the swing of things.
Much of the pressure that was on Duda to be the center of the Mets' offense early in the season has been removed now that the Mets have the healthy, productive bats of Travis d'Arnaud and David Wright back from injury. The red-hot bat of Yoenis Cespedes, whom the Mets acquired at the July 31 trade deadline, has also shifted the focus away from Duda. His offense, however, can still be a major asset as the Mets close in on a playoff berth.
When healthy, Duda has been a catalyst for the Mets' offense. During their 13-3 stretch to start the season, Duda hit .351/.439/.526 with nine RBIs. He also had a torrid stretch from July 25-August 2 where he launched nine home runs in eight games, and the Mets won six of those eight games.