Lucas Duda sure is making the Mets look smart

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At the beginning of the year (and for much of last year) the Mets hemmed and hawed over first base. They seemed to want Ike Davis to fulfill the promise he showed a couple of seasons ago, but Lucas Duda had flashed some nice power potential here and there over the past couple of years too, so at least they had options. Eventually they decided it just wasn’t happening for Davis so they bit the bullet and shipped him to Pittsburgh, going all-in with Duda.

Nice move.

Duda went 3 for 5 with two home runs and five RBI against the Dodgers yesterday, continuing his breakout season. He’s 8 for his last 23 with five home runs, 11 RBI and seven runs scored. For the year he has 26 homes and a nifty line of .260/.355/.507. He’s among the league leaders in most power categories.

Duda is a year older than Davis, so it’s not as if they just stumbled on a future Hall of Famer here, but he’s definitely the sort of power bat that could very well fit with a contending team, and that’s something the Mets haven’t had for a good while.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.