MIAMI -- No matter how early it is in a season, any big-league batter would love to know what it feels like to be hitting .402. David Wright, who found out Saturday, is the first to say the number just doesn't matter now. And when he is asked how it does feel, he puts it this way: "It feels like it's May."
How it looks, though, is something else altogether.
"It's spectacular, just watching him," catcher Mike Nickeas said of his teammate, who went 4-for-6 Saturday with three runs batted in and helped the Mets achieve numbers that do count: 9-3, the score of their impressive win over the hot Marlins, who had won nine of their previous 10.
"He seems to get a hit every at-bat," Nickeas said. "You're watching it and you're shaking your head, going, 'Wow, that's incredible.' To hit .400 . . . It is very early, but it is so impressive."
Terry Collins, who also appreciated the Gold Glove-caliber play Wright made in going to his right at third base, making a long toss and easily retiring Austin Kearns in the seventh, said: "He is a star, and he's showing you exactly how good he is. He's got me convinced. At the end of the year, it's all going to add up. And at the end of the year, David Wright is going to have some stinking good numbers."
Wright said that as much fun as it might be to see the hitter's holy grail, he does not look at the scoreboard to see his average. "It changes every at-bat," he said. As for whether he can envision this continuing for a whole season, he added: "No. I've got to be honest with you, no.
"We are playing real well," he said, with an emphasis on the "we" part. To be sure, the club's Nos. 4 and 5 hitters, Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy, each had three hits. "It makes my job a lot easier when the guys in front of me are getting on and the guys behind me are swinging the bats the way they are. It's a fun lineup to be in right now. I don't think it's necessarily me."
Maybe it is not all him, but he sure did seem necessary Saturday. His single in the first drove in a run. His home run to right in the third -- the fifth in his career against Ricky Nolasco -- broke a 1-1 tie and put the Mets ahead for good. His single in the ninth was the icing on a cake that tasted all the sweeter because the Mets had endured a rough 6-5 loss in the bottom of the ninth the night before.
"At this level, when you're as young as this team is and you have a tough game like last night, it's very easy to say 'woe is me' and have a letdown," Collins said. "The veterans on this club won't let that happen."
At the moment, none of the veterans is setting a more torrid example than Wright.
"He is on fire," said longtime friend and former teammate Jose Reyes, who had his first four-hit game as a Marlin Saturday. "When he hits, he is one of the best players in the league."
R.A. Dickey (5-1), who went six innings for the win despite getting hit on his right wrist with a pitch, said Mets pitchers love to sit and watch and talk about Wright's start.
"I think a lot of pitching and a lot of hitting share a common denominator in that confidence is a big deal," Dickey said. "He really seems locked in. The balls that are getting in on him, he's strong enough to fist those balls into the outfield and get base hits. All that adds up to .402."
The only other Met this hot on May 12 was Cleon Jones, who was hitting .411 on that date in 1969. He finished with a .340 average -- and he ended that season down on one knee, having caught the final out of the World Series.
Wright loves this Mets team, but he is not thinking further ahead than today. "We have," he said, "a long way to go."