The Mets lost again on Friday night, this time to the San Diego Padres in a game that saw New York fall behind by five runs in the first inning and by six runs after three. Our boys didn’t give up, though, battling to the very end of the 8-6 defeat.
One of the keys to the offense finally putting up some runs was Padres starting pitcher Paul Clemens. He probably isn’t good enough to be starting in the majors right now and only has a roster spot because San Diego traded away all of its halfway decent pitchers.
A more positive factor in the Mets’ comeback attempt was Travis d’Arnaud, the catcher who has drawn boos from the Citi Field faithful as of late and is batting just .241/.282/.343 for the season.
On Friday night, d’Arnaud opened the scoring for New York with a two-run home run in the second inning and later singled to help spark a three-run rally in the sixth. He finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.
With the shoulder injury that knocked him out for two months earlier this year and the slumping that has him losing playing time to Rene Rivera, it’s been a frustrating campaign for d’Arnaud, but he’s someone who can get the Mets sailing in the right direction if he plays up to his still large potential.
In 2015, d’Arnaud hit .268/.340/.485 in 67 games and looked like a key part of New York’s future. This year, he was almost part of a trade that brought veteran backstop Jonathan Lucroy to Queens. Although his batting average has been lower in 2016, d’Arnaud is striking out less this year. However, he’s had trouble finding his power stroke, as evidenced by his .102 isolated power, which is less than half of his 2015 mark.
Perhaps the reason for that is the catcher struggling to find consistency in his swing. Hitting coach Kevin Long explained what d’Arnaud had been working on following Friday’s game.
“Until he’s able to really stick to one thing, we’ve located what we feel is his best swing and have talked about it. He’s got to start with his bat pointing toward the pitcher because if he starts flat, it’s going to go there anyway.”
d’Arnaud chimed in as well with a Bruce Lee quote.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
There are other concerns regarding d’Arnaud’s future with the Mets besides his swing. If he can never put a complete season together, the 27-year-old’s value is going to be limited. However, he’s healthy now, and if he can find more consistency with his swing, the Mets might finally find some with their offense.