Commentary

Twenty wrongs don't make Wright panic

Mets' star third baseman is on a tear after not overreacting to recent 0-for-20 skid

Updated: April 24, 2011, 8:33 PM ET
By Mike Mazzeo | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- As New York Mets third baseman David Wright pointed out after notching the 16th multi-home run game of his career, "Baseball can be a fickle game."

Sometimes you smash a ball into deep right field and it gets caught. Other times, you barely make contact with the ball off the end of the bat and somehow it drops in for a base knock.

That's why, Wright said after an 8-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Easter Sunday, you can't afford to get frustrated, even when you're going a career-high 20 consecutive at-bats without a hit.

[+] EnlargeDavid Wright
AP Photo/Paul J. BereswillDavid Wright went yard twice on Easter as the Mets swept the Diamondbacks.

"Even though I wasn't getting good results, I thought I was having good at-bats," said Wright, 28, who is batting .429 (6-for-13) with three homers and six RBIs since finally working his way out of that horrid 0-for-20 skid.

"And even when I was striking out a little bit [10 times, to be exact], I thought I was having good at-bats and putting good swings on the ball. A lot of times, with me, striking out is more of a result of missing some pitches early in the count that I should hit."

That was Wright's problem from April 16 to his first at-bat on April 21. And if he wasn't missing his pitch or striking out, he was drilling a ball to the opposite field that wouldn't carry out of spacious Citi Field.

His average plummeted from .308 to under .230, but Wright continued to stay the course. He didn't change his swing. He didn't get out of what has made him the All-Star slugger that he is.

He just continued to work in the batting cage. Tinkering. Fine-tuning. And eventually, it all came back.

"It's what we talked about the other day," manager Terry Collins said. "When you hit the ball hard, good things are gonna happen. He had some frustrating games. But when you're hitting the ball on the barrel, good things are gonna happen for you.

"[While he was struggling] I told him, 'Don't change.' And he never changed. He didn't change his swing or what he was doing, he just worked on some little things."

"He wasn't feeling right at the plate, and these games like this, you're going to have good and bad stretches," right fielder Carlos Beltran said. "You have to understand that the season is a long season and believe in your talent. He's a very talented player. Every year he does his thing. Maybe he was a little frustrated, but today he's fine."

Wright wasn't feeling fine after striking out in his first at-bat on April 21 (that made him 0-for-20, breaking his previous career-high 0-for-19), but he quickly forgot about that, drilling a full-count offering from Houston Astros left-hander J.A. Happ over the left-center-field wall in the fourth for his first homer since April 11.

From then on, he's looked like the David Wright of old, lacing hits all over the yard.

On Sunday, Wright was even the recipient of a little good fortune. After bashing a no-doubt-about-it, two-run shot into the left-center-field seats in the first, Wright failed to get all of one in the fourth, sending it high in the air and down the left-field line.

All signs, Wright thought, had the ball carrying into foul territory. But instead, without even having to Carlton Fisk it, the ball stayed fair. Wright trotted around the bases again, moving into a tie with Beltran for third place on the franchise's all-time multi-homer list. This time, luck was clearly on his side.

"I thought it was foul," Wright admitted. "Off the bat, usually when you pull a ball like that it hooks a lot, but it stayed pretty straight. I was surprised it stayed as straight as it did."

Although it's better than what it was, you can better believe David Wright isn't satisfied with triple-slashing .262/.351/.512. He wants to do better. He knows he can do better.

Five home runs. 14 RBIs. Sounds good. For now.

The 24 strikeouts? Not so much.

"I'm sure he'll tell you he's seeing the ball better," Collins said. "But he's a tireless worker. The other day he told me, 'I spend so much time in this cage. I can't believe it.' And that's his pride and his desire to succeed. Nothing's going to stand in his way of playing better."

Nope. Wright won't allow it to.

Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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