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In Wednesday's 7-3 loss to the Phillies, Lucas Duda went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs and two runs scored.

"He’s been swinging okay," Terry Collins explained after the game. "The aggressiveness is getting a little bit better. He’s not falling behind in deep counts. We’ve got to get him some help."

In nine games so far this season, Duda is hitting .308 with a .486 OBP and 1.216 OPS, three home runs and six RBI in 35 plate appearances.

"Sometimes you go through the highs and lows when you don’t the see ball too well and it’s just one of those times for me, I guess," Duda said, according to Jorge Castillo of the Star Ledger.

I don't normally like to find silver linings in losses, but Duda had a tremendous night at the plate last night. Since the start of the season, his pitch selection has been better as well as his pitch recognition. More and more, Duda is laying off pitches outside the strike zone -- especially breaking balls bending in towards him -- and that's resulting more fastball counts, more fastballs for him to hit, and perhaps limiting the number of ground balls he hits as well. That could be attributed to the work he's done with Dave Hudgens, as he's made an effort to get Duda to recognize breaking balls out of the hand, and understand his strong points within the strike zone. Most of all, Duda seems confident in the box, and is grasping the concept of being selectively aggressive so to put him in a position to succeed.

Earlier this week, I wrote, "This is the big argument with Duda: Will he provide enough offense to offset his poor defense in left field, and create more runs with his bat than he takes away with his glove?" So far this season, Duda's defense hasn't been good, but that was expected to be the case even though the move to left field was designed to make him feel more comfortable. But he has definitely progressed offensively so far this season, and produced more with the bat than he's taken away with the glove.

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