David Wright's lack of power makes him change approach
DENVER - The temptation is natural, even instinctive, and Mets third baseman David Wright admits he has given in.
Wright has gone 27 straight games without a homer. Entering play against the Rockies Saturday night, the drought reached 110 consecutive at-bats, the longest stretch of his career.
Lately, Wright said he's been swinging harder in an attempt to generate power, even though he knows it's a formula that rarely works.
"To me, you expect results when you do things you're supposed to do right," Wright said. "And when you don't get those results, I think it's easy to try to hit the ball extra hard next time. Sometimes you can get yourself into a bit of a hole."
Wright entered play hitting .261 with a slugging percentage of .313, third lowest among qualifying third basemen. He has one homer.
In the first inning, he showed some signs of life, lining his fourth double of the season just inside the leftfield line to knock in a run. In the third, he added a single.
"That can work miracles for you," Wright said before the game. "Even getting a cheap one, your confidence goes up. You just naturally, when you get a good result, you feel better about yourself."
The rest of the Mets have felt the effects of Wright's start, which has been accentuated by the fact that Curtis Granderson has slumped badly to begin the season.
At the start of play Saturday night, the Mets were slugging .322, the second-lowest total in the National League, ahead of only the Padres. They also ranked second to last in doubles (36) and home runs (18) -- an indictment of the middle of the order.
Nevertheless, manager Terry Collins downplayed Wright's power outage, citing a handful of balls that the third baseman has driven at Citi Field. Collins said that includes two balls off the fence and two caught at the base of the wall.
"This guy's hit four balls that should be homers, four or five balls in our park in crappy weather," Collins said. "If he's sitting there with five homers playing in our park, nobody would be saying a word."
Wright also referenced his run of bad luck, though he hasn't found much consolation in making solid contact.
"There were some balls that I hit at Citi Field that quite frankly, I hit very well," he said. "They catch them on the track in right-center. You try to tell yourself to keep with the plan and they'll start falling. But it's only natural in the next at-bat to instinctively try to hit it even more hard."
Hitting coach Dave Hudgens said Wright has fallen into "some mechanical flaws." But like Collins, Hudgens said he isn't overly concerned with Wright's lack of power, especially given that he's been making solid contact.
"He could hit five [homers] in a week," Hudgens said.
In the meantime, Wright said he's trying to stick with his approach while taking something positive out of his at-bats. He figures the hits will start falling.
And Collins has given no indication that he's worried.
"I don't really think about it too much," he said. "You've just got to turn your head and hope he keeps hitting the ball on the barrel."