PHILADELPHIA — During the first 11 days of the season, the Mets took batting practice on the field just three times. In their eight games during that span, they totaled two home runs.
But lately, the fits and starts of the schedule have disappeared. The weather has warmed. The Mets have gotten their reps in batting practice. And on this road trip, their games have seemed like nothing more than BP sessions, too.
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The Mets made the Phillies feel the full force of their suddenly supercharged offense on Tuesday night, slamming a season-high six homers on the way to an 11-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
Bullpen-bound righthander Logan Verrett (1-0) shined in his second spot start in place of Jacob deGrom, tossing six shutout innings to lower his ERA to 0.69. Juan Lagares made the catch of the season, a leaping grab to take away a home run. And the offense has continued its revival on the road.
“It sounds like it shouldn’t make a difference,” Mets manager Terry Collins said about taking batting practice. “But it does.”
Switch-hitting second baseman Neil Walker hit a pair of homers, giving him a team-high six. Both of his home runs came from the right side, supposedly his weaker side. He had entered play with only six homers against lefties in his career.
“It’s exactly what I came in wanting to do,” said Walker, who has benefitted from ditching his toe-tap from the right side.
Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes each delivered two-run blasts, punishing Phillies righty Vince Velasquez for hanging a pair of 0-and-2 curveballs. Velasquez was coming off a 16-strikeout shutout of the Padres in his last start. He had not been scored upon in his first two starts this season, including one against the Mets.
Lucas Duda hit a mammoth two-run shot into the Phillies’ bullpen for his second homer in as many days. And Curtis Granderson capped the fireworks show with a towering two-run shot that crashed off the video board suspended over rightfield.
The Mets scored all of their season-high 11 runs on homers.
“It’s kind of the way our club’s been built,” Collins said.
After stumbling out of the gates with a 3-5 record, Collins hoped that the Mets would find their footing on their current three-city road trip. So far, they’ve looked every bit like the favorites to win the NL East.
With Tuesday’s blowout, the Mets ensured their second consecutive series victory. They have won five of their last six games. And for the first time since April 8, the Mets (7-6) own a winning record.
The turnaround has been stunning. Through their first eight games, the Mets averaged 2.5 runs per game.
But in the first five games of their road trip, they’re averaging 6.6 runs. Of the 33 runs they’ve plated on the trip, 26 have scored via the long ball.
The Mets hit four homers on Monday before adding six on Tuesday. It was just the fifth time in franchise history that the Mets hit at least four homers in consecutive games, and the first such streak since Sept. 28-29, 2005.
Walker’s unexpected power surge has been a factor. He did not homer as a righthanded hitter all last season with the Pirates. He’s done so three times just on this road trip, equaling his career high for a season.
Meanwhile, Conforto is 7-for-18 with a pair of homers since he was moved into the third spot.
Said Conforto: “We’re all just getting into a rhythm.”