Update: Well, the streak is over. Duda hit a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning against lefty reliever Matt Thornton.
Mets first baseman Lucas Duda is on a home run tear. The slugging lefty drilled solo home runs in each of his first two plate appearances on Saturday night against the Nationals, giving him eight since July 25, a span of seven games and 25 plate appearances. What’s more: all eight of those hits have been home runs.
- July 25: Duda hit two solo home runs in a 15-2 rout of the Dodgers.
- July 28: Duda hit a two-run home run off of James Shields in the first inning in an eventual 4-0 win against the Padres.
- July 29: Duda swatted three solo home runs, providing all of the Mets’ offense in a 7-3 loss to the Padres.
- August 1: Duda provides both of the Mets’ runs against Nationals starter Joe Ross with two solo home runs.
The game is tied 2-2 after seven innings at the time of this writing.
Duda’s triple-slash line is up to .244/.345/.476. On the season, he’s slugged 20 home runs and knocked in 47 runs. He hit a career-high 30 home runs last season and could be on his way to equaling or surpassing that by season’s end.
The Nationals are set at closer with Drew Storen having a terrific season, but they’re still searching for late-inning bullpen help, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. Among Nationals relievers who have tossed at least eight innings, only one pitcher — lefty Matt Thornton — has an ERA below 3.70.
Aroldis Chapman is one of the Nationals’ targets, and they’ve reportedly talked to the Reds about a trade, though nothing is close, per Morosi. Chapman has had another terrific year, going 12-for-13 in save situations with a 2.30 ERA and a 45/17 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings. He and Storen would make for a terrifying one-two punch at the back of the bullpen. The Nationals, by the way, finished second in bidding for Chapman back in 2010, as James Wagner of the Washington Post points out.
Nationals manager Matt Williams thought highly enough of reliever Xavier Cedeno to use him in five of the team’s first seven games, but the left-hander struggled and now he’s been designated for assignment.
Cedeno hasn’t logged more than a dozen big-league innings in a season since 2012, but he’s got a 2.83 ERA and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 108 career appearances at Triple-A.
Washington previously traded away left-hander Jerry Blevins to the Mets while keeping Cedeno on the roster, so now the bullpen is down to Matt Thornton as the lone southpaw.