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Daniel Vogelbach’s two walks help spark two rallies in Mets’ win

Daniel Vogelbach has heard the boos and understands them.

He wants to hit even more than Mets fans want him to hit.

Vogelbach had a solid game Wednesday as the designated hitter, receiving another start despite a deep funk that has turned the 2022 cult hero into a 2023 punching bag.

Amid external calls for more at-bats for younger players and his own struggles, Vogelbach has been routinely and loudly jeered in Queens.

“If I hit a couple homers and start doing what I’m capable of doing, they’ll be happy with me,” Vogelbach said before he helped the Mets beat the Phillies, 4-1, at Citi Field. “They just want to win, just as much as we want to win.

“It’s just coming in every day, working, and knowing that you’re always one swing away from going down the path that you want to go down.”

Vogelbach had been seeking that swing all month.

Daniel Vogelbach, dodging an inside pitch, walked twice in the Mets' 4-1 win over the Phillies.
USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

He had an OPS of just .582 and only one home run in 23 games in May. His style — a disciplined approach in which he walks often and might be the most selective hitter in baseball — can become frustrating to fans when it is not producing results.

But he did not need to swing to help the Mets score against Philadelphia.

Vogelbach drew walks in each of his first two plate appearances, the first before a two-run home run from Mark Canha and the second ahead of Canha’s two-run single.

“The guy gets on base,” Canha said. “He had great at-bats in front of me, and it was kind of like, ‘All right, now it’s my turn to do something.’ ”

Vogelbach is a rare player.

He entered play having swung at just 31.8 percent of the pitches he had seen, which would have been the lowest in baseball if he had enough at-bats to qualify.

He faced 11 pitches Wednesday before taking a cut, walking on eight pitches in his first two plate appearances before popping up a 1-2 offering in the sixth inning.

“I feel like I’m having really good at-bats,” said Vogelbach, whose playing time has been challenged by Mark Vientos, another capable hitter without a position. “You hit a couple homers in a week, and nobody talks about it anymore.”

The problem, Vogelbach said, is that his solid contact has not been launched.

Vogelbach entered play hitting 54.9 percent of his batted balls on the ground, way up from the 38.1 percent that became grounders last year.

His average exit velocity is the best of his eight-year career, but he only has two home runs to show for it.

“Obviously I want to get the ball in the air more than I am right now, but working at it every day,” Vogelbach said. “I’m hitting the ball really hard, so it’s a positive. Just one little [swing adjustment] — trying to get it just repeatable a little more.”

Manager Buck Showalter said Vogelbach’s recent at-bats have been “not as good as he’s capable of,” but again showed faith, which paid off for a night, if unconventionally.

With Vientos and even Francisco Alvarez as options at DH, there may come a time when the Mets can no longer carry a player who has not yet played the field this season.

Vogelbach will have to hit (or walk) his way to a roster spot, and he is confident he can.

“I just stay true to what I believe and know,” Vogelbach said. “I’ve hit my whole career against right-handed pitching. I don’t think it’s something that you just forget how to do.”

Jets receiver Garrett Wilson threw out a ceremonial first pitch to childhood pal Brett Baty.

The two wore each other’s jerseys and hugged.

Wilson grew up in Texas and caught passes from a young Baty, who played quarterback for their sixth-grade peewee football team.

“He was a great childhood friend for me,” Baty said. “He’s the best guy in the world, honestly.”

Omar Narvaez (left calf strain) caught nine innings, with Triple-A Syracuse, in his fourth rehab game. Narvaez, who is 3-for-11 thus far in the minors, likely will be activated Tuesday.

Tomas Nido made his first start behind the plate since he was activated last week. Nido went 1-for-3 with a single and a strikeout.

The Mets will host Lou Gehrig Day at Citi Field on Friday. Before a game against the Blue Jays, Upper East Side native Sarah Langs, a researcher and analyst for MLB who shared her ALS diagnosis last year, will participate in a ceremony.

The Amazin’ Mets Foundation will present Project ALS with a $10,000 grant for research in honor of Langs.