Without help, Mets' Wright in funk at plate
Manuel says star third baseman trying to do too much
NEW YORK -- Over the past 15 games, the Mets haven't received a hit from three of their offensive stars. That's because Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado are all on the disabled list.
But the Mets haven't received much more from their lone star remaining in the lineup, David Wright. Entering Wednesday's game vs. the Dodgers, Wright, who was the leading hitter in the National League for much of June, was 1-for-23 in July without an RBI.
Wright has been a streaky hitter all season, batting better than .500 for stretches while also enduring 5-for-35 and 1-for-17 skids. The good had outweighed the bad, however, as Wright finished June batting .345.
His current valley, though, has dragged his average down to .322. It has also come at the worst time for the Mets, who have managed just one run in their past three games -- and even that one was driven in by pitcher Fernando Nieve.
"This latest streak probably has been an accumulation of things. One of the primary things involved in this is that he's trying to do too much," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "Just watching, you see him trying to do too much, point blank."
Without Reyes, Beltran and Delgado, Wright and Gary Sheffield are the only power threats in the Mets' lineup. And as pitchers potentially work around the unprotected Wright, the third baseman has grown impatient and expanded his strike zone.
"The base on balls are not as high as you'd like it," Manuel said. "Once you lose control of your strike zone, you're really in a tough situation."
Wright has walked just seven times in the 15 games the Mets have played without Beltran. He has struck out 15 times during that stretch and is hitting only .200.
Manuel refused to blame Wright's struggles on fatigue and said he was not considering giving him a day off. The Mets recently completed a span of 21 games in 21 days.
Instead, Manuel thinks Wright may not be trusting the guys behind him in the lineup enough.
"Instead of, for example, moving a runner over, he's trying to drive that run in," Manuel said. "He feels it might not be driven in."
At the same time, Wright may just have run out of the good luck that helped inflate his batting average earlier in the season. Wright had the league's best average in June despite high strikeout totals, in large part because his batting average on balls in play was .460. Since Beltran's injury, that number has dipped to .275, much closer to the accepted norm of .290.
In the meantime, Manuel thinks this could be a significant learning experience for his third baseman.
"Despite the struggles that he's having right now and the frustration that he's having, I think this is going to be a positive thing for him moving forward in the sense that his trying to do too much is not the answer," Manuel said. "It's the doing the little things that's going to be the answer. He'll grow from this experience."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.