Thoughts on new-look lineup, De Aza, Collins

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[Newsday]

The Mets have won two in a row after a four game losing streak had them losing two of three to the Phillies and Marlins. After a 2-1 win on Wednesday, largely fueled by strong pitching performances, the Mets broke out offensively with a 6-5 victory last night. While they did hit 4 home runs (by Conforto, De Aza, Cespedes, and a right-handed Walker), they were 0/10 with runners in scoring position. Not helping matters, the Mets had two baserunners thrown out at the plate with no one out. While the lack of production with RISP is a bit concerning, it should come with the increased offense (14 hits last night).

After a fifth straight game of offensive ineptitude in the team’s 2-1 win on Wednesday, Terry Collins shook up the lineup by batting Michael Conforto 3rd. The lineup against right-handers now figures to look like this:

Granderson, Wright, Conforto, Cespedes, Duda, Walker, Cabrera, d’Arnaud

There’s a lot to like about this new lineup – the top 6 can probably be rearranged in any number of ways, and a 7/8 of Cabrera and d’Arnaud is likely the envy of many National League teams. It also gets Conforto more plate appearances, and possibly more to hit in front of Cespedes. It will certainly be interesting to see how Collins shuffles the lineup against lefties – one presumes Lagares and Flores will start regularly against lefties, but who they will play for remains to be seen. My suggestion is as follows:

Lagares, Granderson, Wright, Cespedes, d’Arnaud, Walker/Duda, Flores, Cabrera

…or…

Lagares, Wright, Cespedes, d’Arnaud, Walker/Duda, Flores, Cabrera, Conforto

Alejandro De Aza had a fantastic game last night, falling just a triple shy of the cycle (Cespedes did the same). He got thrown out trying to score from first on a Granderson single, but he capped it off his night with a diving catch in left. He may have played himself into today’s game. I imagine Collins may wish to give Granderson a day off, allowing De Aza the opportunity to start in right and Lagares in center.

Finally, much attention has been paid to Terry Collins’ decision making of late, especially using Jim Henderson in Wednesday’s 2-1 victory after he had thrown a career high 34 pitches the night before. Using Familia for a third straight game to get a 5-out save was also widely criticized.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Collins’ explanations of his decisions, but he often does make the right decision. Jim Henderson was obviously a bad call, but had Addison Reed come in and blown the game, we’d all be asking why Familia wasn’t in for the extended save. An interesting quote from last night suggested that Collins started De Aza because he has good numbers in Cleveland’s ballpark. Terrible reason to start a player, but right player to start nonetheless. It’ll be interesting to see how Collins’ decision-making and explanations progress going forward this season.

 

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