Sunday, August 24, 2014
Dodgers walk Murphy to face Wright
By Anthony Witrado | Special to ESPNNewYork.com
LOS ANGELES -- Strategy isn’t supposed to happen this way for David Wright.
He's supposed to be the hitter opposing teams avoid, not one they invite. Wright is supposed to be walked. He isn’t supposed to stand on deck and watch the other manager decide to walk the guy at the plate.
David Wright went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts Saturday against the Dodgers.
But this is a new time in Wright’s career, and with little hesitation the Los Angeles Dodgers walked Daniel Murphy intentionally to face Wright with men on base and the game in the balance. Four Zack Greinke sliders later, Wright was a strikeout victim and the threat was averted.
The outcome of that at-bat was a turning point and helped the Dodgers to a 7-4 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium. Wright left six men on base.
“When you go up there and you have a chance to impact the game in a positive way and you don’t get it done, it’s tough,” Wright said. “As I’ve said before, it’s a grind. The good at-bats I have I hit balls right at people, and the bad at-bats, they are there right now, too.
“I have to find a way to get it done. No sense in hanging your head.”
Injuries have played a role in this down year, and a nagging shoulder isn’t helping matters, but Wright won’t use it as an excuse.
“If I’m in the lineup I expect to perform at a certain level,” Wright said.
Wright is now 2-for-his-last-29 and his 100 OPS-plus this season means he is an average baseball player right now.
The intentional walk to Murphy put runners on first and second bases in a one-run game. Greinke was struggling and on the verge of leaving the game after Dodgers manager Don Mattingly went out and had to be convinced to keep him in the game.
Greinke fed Wright four sliders and the at-bat was over. In Wright’s previous at-bat, he hit into a double play with men on the corners. Then, in the ninth, facing Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Wright had no chance. He struck out on three fastballs to end the game.
“This is no fun. I’m not having any fun. The team isn’t having any fun,” Wright said. “I want to get back to consistently feeling comfortable and feeling dangerous at the plate. Right now that’s not there.
“The other team can probably see that I don’t feel very good at the plate.”
Mets manager Terry Collins was asked if giving Wright a day off Sunday followed by a team off day Monday would help, but Collins said he doesn’t treat Wright like he would another struggling player because of Wright’s track record for producing.
“In my time here, I’ve never seen him scuffle like he has this year,” Collins said. “He’s not hurt, he’s healthy. I don’t have an answer for why he’s going through what he’s going through.
“I don’t think the stars need days off. I think the stars realize they have to figure it out on the field and gotta get it done. He is the leader on this team. We need him out there.”