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Curtis Granderson doing the job leading off for Mets, even with .063 average

Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets singles

Curtis Granderson of the New York Mets singles in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 9, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Mets won 6-3. Credit: Getty Images

Curtis Granderson entered Monday's home opener hitting .063.

Yet, he arguably has had some of the best at-bats of anyone in the Mets' lineup.

Through the season's first six games, Granderson (1-for-16) has been a constant on basepaths thanks to his seven walks, tied for the league lead. His .348 on-base percentage has given the Mets a solid leadoff option at the start of the season.

"I'm sure he'd like to be hitting .300 but we'll take what he's doing because he's done the job," manager Terry Collins said.

The value of those walks hasn't been lost upon the manager, who has watched Granderson trigger critical rallies by simply grinding out at-bats.

"Well, we won a game in Washington because he walked twice and scored," Collins said on Monday. "Yesterday, we won a game because he walked and scored."

Indeed, it was Granderson who scored the go-ahead run in a 4-3 win over the Braves on Sunday. He triggered the rally by coming off the bench to work a walk.

"He's really got good strike zone discipline," hitting coach Kevin Long said. "You rarely see him expand out of the zone. His ability to make those decisions is exactly why he gets on base. To walk four times against the Nationals' staff is quite a chore. They're some of the best strike throwers in the league."

Perhaps most impressive has been Granderson's ability to remain competitive in at-bats, even when he falls behind in the count.

"You start to trust yourself more than anything else," he said. "Say you swung at a bad pitch and got fooled. Can you reset and get yourself back to a mentality of what you're trying to do an execute? Can you stick with your plan?"

So far, Granderson hasn't deviated.

Six times, he has fallen behind 0-and-2 in the count. Three times, he has reached base, a .500 mark. How good is that? The NL average entering play is .181.

The key, he said, is managing the momentum swings of each individual at-bat.

"It is amazing how all of a sudden you can go to 0-2 and you're in fight mode, then you go to 2-2 and you're back in aggressive mode now," Granderson said. "He's got to come here now. He doesn't want to miss. Now, I'm ready to rock and roll. It's pretty amazing how it changes."

Of course, the Mets will need more than walks from Granderson, whose power potential is what fetched him a four-year, $60-million deal after the 2013 season. But the Mets aren't worried.

Though the hits haven't fallen, Collins said Granderson has made solid contact on seven of the nine balls he's put in play. The Mets hope those liners will translate into results.

"That's all you can do is to put good swings on it," Collins said. "Sometimes, guys catch it. But we're very, very excited about what he's done so far. I think he's accomplished exactly what we want in that leadoff spot."


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