Eight games out of a wild-card berth and nine games back in the National League East, calling the New York Mets a contender at this point in the season is a bit of a stretch. But if the Mets hope to play the role of spoiler, derailing contenders trying to make a late push for a spot in the postseason, they're going to need Captain America, David Wright, to make an appearance.
Wright finds himself in the midst of his worst season in 11 years as the face of the franchise. Owner of a career .301/.382/.506 slash line heading into the season, his current marks—.269/.326/.384—leave much to be desired.
As he recently told John Harper of the New York Daily News, the only person to blame for his lack of production is himself:
I've made some mistakes this year, revamping some things with my swing that I probably shouldn't mess with. Especially after the All-Star break I started trying to change things when I didn't get the results I wanted. Pretty soon you’re trying something new every at-bat and thinking about all the wrong things.
Instead of realizing there are going to be times during the season when you’re going to have a hiccup and you need to ride it out, I was too quick to make adjustments, and you get to the point where you can’t remember what it felt like when you were going good.
Those changes haven't helped, and opposing teams are exploiting the new holes in his swing.
“He’s more vulnerable on pitches away this year,” an NL scout told Harper. “He used to let the ball get deep and drive it to right. This year he’s pulling off fastballs away and he’s chasing sliders off the plate.''
Perhaps there's an underlying injury that has caused Wright to be so uncomfortable and unproductive at the plate. Or perhaps it's just one of those years where nothing is going to go right for Wright. Even the most talented player has a bad season once in a while.
For a team as offensively challenged as the Mets are—their 441 runs scored rank 11th in the National League, 25th in all of baseball—climbing back to .500 is a reasonable goal to set for the rest of the season.
Without a productive Wright in the middle of the lineup, though, it's a goal that the Mets will fall short of.