David Wright, Daniel Murphy regret that Dave Hudgens is taking the hit for team's failures
In the aftermath of general manager Sandy Alderson's decision to fire Mets batting coach Dave Hudgens following a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh on Monday afternoon at Citi Field, David Wright and Daniel Murphy, the only regular starters hitting over .300, leaped to Hudgens' defense.
The firing came at a time when the Mets have fallen into a tailspin, losing nine of 12 games, and have failed miserably with runners in scoring position.
"When you struggle the way that we've struggled offensively, a finger obviously gets pointed," Wright said. "A lot of times, that finger gets pointed pretty unfairly.
"We as players are the ones up there not getting the job done. Hudge will be the first one to tell you a lot of that responsibility falls on him when the truth of the matter is that most of it falls on us . . . Obviously, we feel terrible that Hudge lost his job."
Wright said he had no input into a decision that was "made by the front office alone."
Asked what the Mets might do differently under replacement Lamar Johnson, who has been serving as the organization's minor-league batting instructor, Wright said, "That's a good question."
The only answer he could offer was that everyone will be subject to a different set of eyes, but he noted that the organizational philosophy won't change.
Murphy, who leads the Mets with a .309 average and 29 runs and has 20 RBIs and three homers, described Hudgens as "a joy to be around on a daily basis, always professional, always uplifting.''
Said Murphy, "That's one of the biggest things of being a hitting coach is trying to make the guys feel like a 'killer' that day. Even if you, in your heart of hearts, know you're not a 'killer' that day, he always made you feel that way. So it's frustrating. It's never good to see somebody go."
Murphy said he has enjoyed working with Johnson but has had little contact with him outside of spring training.
The solution to the Mets' situational hitting lies in stringing together more hits and walks to produce runs. He blamed himself for hitting into a third-inning double play Monday with runners on first and second and one out.
Describing the mood in the clubhouse after Hudgens was let go, Murphy said, "I can't speak for everybody else. For me, it's frustration. There's frustration with the way we're playing, frustration with the way the offense is going and then that Dave, unfortunately, ends up bearing the brunt of that.
"It's not a good situation. It stinks. I wish we were 15 games over .500, and we wouldn't have to worry about this. But we're not, and that's a decision the management makes."