We all know about the on again, off again musings of Jerry Manuel with regards to batting Jose Reyes third in the lineup, a move that Reyes is strongly opposed to.
In fact, Manuel had planned on unveiling Reyes in the third spot during the Cardinals series last weekend, but backed off after Reyes began chirping to the media.
Well according to a report by Adam Rubin, Reyes batting third is back on again and it begins tonight against the Braves.
The game’s consummate leadoff hitter is headed to the No. 3 hole in the New York Mets’ lineup.
Manager Jerry Manuel has informed Jose Reyes that he intends to bat the shortstop third this weekend against the Atlanta Braves in an attempt to jump-start the team’s dormant offense.
The assumption is that Reyes would bat third followed by Bay, who could see more fastballs. “(Bay) is a very good fastball hitter, and when he goes to the plate they throw everything but the kitchen sink at him but the fastball,” Manuel said. “If Reyes happens to be on, you get more fastballs.”
Here’s the problem…
The Mets have three right handed hitters who are all struggling mightily.
1. Jeff Francoeur – After a .457 start through his first ten games, Francoeur has been mired in the worst slump of his career. An 0 for 25 stretch which he snapped yesterday with a single.
2. Jason Bay - Bay is now batting .224. He has not homered this season and has now gone 27 games since his last homerun. The drought is the longest of Bay’s career.
3. David Wright – He is now batting .241 the worst mark of his career. He has just six extra-base hits while batting third and is on pace for 256 strikeouts this season.
I warned at the start of the season that the lineup was too top heavy as far as right handed hitters go and needed one more significant lefty bat to add some balance. Could Ike Davis be the answer?
Andy Martino from the Daily News writes the following,
Jerry Manuel suggested after Wednesday’s loss that he could move the lefthanded-hitting Ike Davis down from the sixth spot as soon as Friday, in order to break up righties David Wright, Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur.
Before tonight’s win, in which Davis had three of the team’s seven hits, Manuel elaborated on those thoughts. “It is something we’re considering,” Manuel told the News. “It’s not something you want to do too early, but we might have to take another look at what early is.”
Davis batted cleanup in Buffalo and said after last nights game that he was willing to move up in the order.
Another idea that is floating in the Mets clubhouse is batting Jason Bay second. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com goes into it a little more, but basically it’s just an alternate scenario that would serve the same goal; that is to bat Reyes ahead of Bay with the hope Bay gets to see more fastballs. I prefer batting Reyes third instead.
It’s now become quite obvious that the Mets must start shaking things up. While many fans don’t feel that way, I can assure you the Mets do, especially Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya, and as you already know, myself.
Friday’s lineup could very well end up looking like this.
- Angel Pagan – CF
- Luis Castillo – 2B
- Jose Reyes – SS
- Jason Bay – LF
- Ike Davis – 1B
- David Wright – 3B
- Jeff Francoeur – RF
- Rod Barajas – C
It would drop Wright all the way down to sixth for the time being, where he can work out his mechanics and hopefully get his groove back. The 19 walks are great, but like I’ve said time and time again, that’s not what you want from the player who’s batting third and is expected to drive in runs. His strikeout rate has become alarming.
This puts added pressure on Ike Davis, and it will be important to watch how he handles the added responsibility.
As for Bay, we’ll have to see if the strategy works. We have $66 million dollars invested in him, and if he doesn’t start hitting home runs soon, everything could start coming apart at the seams for the offense.