In Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Terry Collins opted to juggle the line-up in order to provide Curtis Granderson with some short term, and needed line-up protection. Curtis batted second in the order and Daniel Murphy batted clean-up.
Apr 20, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets right fielderCurtis Granderson
(3) hits a sacrifice fly to win the game against the Atlanta Braves during the fourteenth inning at Citi Field. Mets won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
In wieghing potential line-up alternatives, I like the attempt at batting Murphy fourth. In our Rising Apple pre-season predictions, I chose him as my player most likely to break out this season. He is coming off a career year, and, at 29-years of age, he is in his physical prime. His power suggests he is not an ideal four hitter, but with this year’s extra added protection batting behind him, his ability to hit to contact could work well. With Murphy, the clean-up spot would certainly strike out less.
Now that Ike Davis is a member of the Pirates, Duda’s and Josh Satin‘s playing time will finally normalize as a result. Josh Satin should play tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals, as they will start a left-hander. While most generally agree Satin lacks adequate power for an MLB first baseman, we know Lucas Duda can hit a baseball out of any park. He has a good eye for the strike zone, and we’ve seen him during hot streaks. He is the new logical choice for the clean-up role. Like Granderson, Lucas would still break up right-hand hitters David Wright, and Chris Young batting 5th.
I do not, however, agree with attempting to bat Granderson second. I understand Terry Colllins’ attempt to offer the struggling outfielder more protection in the line-up, if just to get him going. But, with his career rate of strikeouts, batting second, I feel is hardly the place for him, and would also be counter-productive for the team. In fact, the Mets should perhaps consider moving him out of his usual clean-up role, and bat him 5th or, more preferably 6th, so as to not have two consecutive lefties (Duda, Granderson) in the order.
Curtis Granderson is a seasoned professional, and I expect him to make necessary adjustments largely on his own. Technically still a rookie, perhaps, d’Arnaud is the one in need of a little extra help. I would much rather Terry Collins move Travid d’Arnaud into the two spot, and give him some much needed line-up protection. Travis would surely benefit from having David Wright, Murphy, Granderson, Chris Young, and Lucas Duda hitting behind him (although not necessarily in that order).
Travis has already demonstrated that he’s not necessarily a strikeout liability. Through the benefit of seeing better pitches, maybe he finds his way. I feel batting him seventh in the order leaves him naked in a sense – in no man’s land.
These are my suggestions. What say you?