0

Francoeur on upswing

A month ago, Jeff Francoeur was one of the coldest hitters in the majors. Now he is one of the hottest.

It has been that kind of wildly fluctuating season for the Parkview graduate, who had hoped that his first full season with the New York Mets would be a consistent one.

Francoeur is 18-for-36 during a 10-game hitting streak and had a three-run homer as the Mets rallied to complete a home sweep of Florida on Sunday.

The turnaround started May 25 after the former Atlanta outfielder's average had fallen to a season-worst .211. He had two hits in the opener of a series against Philadelphia and his only hitless game since was the next night.

Francoeur really turned it up in Milwaukee, capping a 7-for-11 series against the Brewers with a four-hit game that featured two doubles and a pair of RBIs.

Over the weekend against the Marlins, the 26-year-old had two hits in each came, driving in five runs.

At .268, Francoeur's average has jumped almost 50 points in about two weeks. He has 10 doubles, a triple, six homers and 33 RBIs, with six steals in seven attempts.

The right-handed hitter started the season almost as hot as he is now, batting .457 in his first 10 games. But then he went into a major swoon that dragged on and on.

By the time the Mets came to Atlanta on May 17, Francoeur's average was down to .212 and he found himself on the bench amid a slump that reached 0-for-20.

Francoeur did hit a homer in the finale of the two-game series at Turner Field, but it took another week to get out of his funk.

"I'm so much better than what I'm doing and that's what's frustrating," Francoeur, who hit .303 during after his trade to the Mets last season, said then.

The resurgence came after he was told by the Mets to limit the number of people he was getting advice from. Now it's down to manager Jerry Manuel and hitting coach Howard Johnson.

As always with Francoeur, the key is making consistent contact. He has four strikeouts and three walks during his hitting streak.

With Francoeur's resurgence has come one by the Mets, who are chasing the Braves and Philadelphia in the National League East. The Mets are 22-9 at Citi Field and 30-27 overall going into a three-game series with San Diego beginning tonight.