Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Look, if you want Mets hitting Dave Hudgens fired, give it up. It’s not going to happen, nor should it. He’s Sandy Alderson’s guy, and it is Sandy’s hitting philosophy that Hudgens is working to implement through the entire organization.
They’re not going to abandon it because they had a difficult time for three days in Miami, against what is maybe the best pitching staff in baseball.
It has been 23 innings since the Mets last scored a run.
It was just four days ago, leaving Colorado, that they were being praised for scoring the sixth-most runs in the National League. Today, they are ninth, following three straight losses to the Marlins.
“It’s a whole different environment in Colorado than it is (at Marlins Park),” Hudgens said Wednesday (ESPN, May 8). “We hit some balls hard today, squared some balls up. Their pitching is really good.”
The goal isn’t to draw walks, Hudgens once told me. Instead, he said, the goal is to have a very refined strike zone, which will help hitters make better contact, which statistically translates in to more power.
It’s a good approach and one that is wise for an industry tilting toward and overvaluing young, hard-throwing, strikeout pitchers.
That said, MLB scouts have clearly caught on to what Sandy’s guys are doing in the big leagues. Opposing pitchers throw first-pitch strike after first-pitch strike, the Mets take, take and take, and are repeatedly being forced to hit from behind in the count. I understand the idea is to ‘hunt for strikes,’ as they say, but either Sandy needs better hunters or his hunters need better weapons… and they also need hits to start dropping again.
According to ESPN’s Mark Simon, the average major league hitter hits around .700 when hitting a ball categorized as “hard-hit.” However, the Mets as a team are hitting .592 on their hard-hit balls this season (ESPN, May 8).
What’s more, Rockies starting pitchers have a combined 4.16 ERA, which is third-worst in the NL, while the Marlins starting pitchers have a 3.13 ERA, which is fifth-best.
“We knew this would be a tough road trip,” David Wright said Wednesday about traveling through Colorado and Miami. “I’ve been around long enough to know our history at Coors Field and Marlins Park.”