There is nothing subtle about what's ailing the 22-27 Mets: A glaring lack of timely hitting. And two of the guiltiest suspects lately have been Chris Young and Lucas Duda.
They were a combined 0-for-7 in the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader and 0-for-1 in the 4-2 nightcap victory.
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Hitting fifth and sixth in the opener, each failed to get a hit with two men aboard in the first inning. Young hit into a double play with two on in the third and did so again with two on in the sixth, just before Duda flew out with one man on. In the eighth, after Young was removed for pinch hitter Bobby Abreu, who walked to load the bases, Duda bounced into a double play.
"We've got to get him somehow to start hitting,'' manager Terry Collins said. "The one thing he doesn't do is swing at bad pitches. But we've got to get him going for sure.
"Same thing with Chris Young. No doubt. We've given him every opportunity to come through and right now we're just not doing it.''
In the second game, Duda did not start in favor of rookie Eric Campbell (1-for-4), then pinch hit and flew out with two men on to end the eighth. Young drew a pinch-hit walk in the second game and scored an insurance run on Daniel Murphy's single.
Among the dispirited themes to this Mets season, the Young-Duda slumps have had Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson begging for patience and understanding.
"Cripes,'' Collins said, "those guys are big-leaguers, too. It's a hard game to play.''
Duda (.228) is 0-for-his-last-13 (and Ike Davis, traded to Pittsburgh last month to make Duda the everyday first baseman, comes to town Monday with the Pirates).
"I don't think having Ike in the other dugout is going to change things for Lucas,'' Collins said. "A couple of hits will change the way he goes about things.''
Young (. 204) has seven hits in his last 53 at-bats over 17 games. "With Chris,'' Alderson said, "we're looking for something in the .240 to .250 range, with power'' -- he has three home runs -- "and a guy who will take a walk occasionally. So in a couple of weeks, he could be right there.''
Meanwhile, bemoaning the Young-Duda failures is "beating a dead horse,'' Collins said. "And the only way to get players going is to play them. Especially if they're guys who are supposed to get the job done for you. They can't help you if they're not in the lineup.''
And, lately, even if they are.