What outfield? I’ll tell you what outfield. It’s May 3, and Marlon Byrd is already close to setting a team record.
Byrd, thanks to his strikeout on Wednesday, has now struck out in 12 straight appearances. This has mostly come in starts, but he’s also come off the bench for clutch strikeouts in a pair of games during the streak.
No, he isn’t atop the team leaderboard just yet. In fact, if we include pitchers, he has a good distance to cover to match Gary Gentry’s 21 straight games with a strikeout, from May through September, 1969. The Mets won the World Series that year, you know. Coincidence?
But let’s limit things to hitters. Where does Byrd’s streak rate?
Just ahead of him, with 13 straight, are Ed Charles, 1967, Tommie Agee, 1970, Dave Kingman 1976, David Wright, in 2010 during his 161-strikeout year, and Lucas Duda, in the last 12 games he played in 2012 before getting sent down to Triple-A. Of that group, only Kingman walked less than Byrd over a similar span, and Kingman hit four home runs.
If Byrd can strike out Friday, Jeff Kent’s 1995 streak of 14 is in reach on Saturday. Should he reach that, he’ll be trying to strike out Sunday to tie David Wright’s 15 straight in May 2010 (what an odd 2010 Wright had!), along with the 15 straight strikeout games for Kirk Nieuwenhuis had from April 24 through May 9, 2012, as major league pitchers began to find the holes in his swing.
If he can strike out through the weekend, tying the team record for non-pitchers will be a single K away. It is held by: Todd Hundley, during his difficult 1998 comeback while simultaneously learning left field, Ryan Thompson in 1995, Dave Kingman from September 1975 through April 1976 (32 strikeouts in 16 games! Kingman always went big), and Donn Clendenon in September 1969.
A month later, Clendenon was the MVP of the World Series. Will the same be true for Byrd? Hard to imagine, since the World Series isn’t played in June. But no one thought the 1969 Mets would win it all, either.