Duda breaks through Cardinals' defensive shift
NEW YORK -- Teams everywhere may think twice before continuing to shift on Lucas Duda.
Coaching staffs have spent the past two years concocting all manner of shifts against Duda, a left-handed hitter who routinely pulls ground balls to the right side. But Duda, who has worked hard to shorten up his swing against left-handed pitchers this season, thereby significantly improving his average against them, has begun to do the same against shifts.
The evidence was plain to see in the fourth inning of Monday's eventual 2-1 win in 14 innings against Cardinals, when Duda poked an RBI single past a shift to give Mets starter Matt Harvey his only run of support.
With one out and a runner on third base, the Cardinals moved shortstop Jhonny Peralta to the right of second base, creating a wall of infielders on that side of the diamond. Matt Carpenter stood alone at third base, holding Curtis Granderson close.
Duda fell into a quick two-strike hole and fouled off an inside cutter, before reaching well off the plate to redirect a John Lackey fastball back up the middle, within range of where most shortstops normally set up camp. The hit scored Granderson, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead that they would hold onto until closer Jeurys Familia blew his first save in the ninth.