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Mets lineup forcing slumping J.D. Davis into the cleanup spot

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 30: J.D. Davis #28 of the New York Mets hits a two-run RBI single scoring Jeff McNeil #6 and Wilson Ramos #40 (not pictured) in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on March 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 30: J.D. Davis #28 of the New York Mets hits a two-run RBI single scoring Jeff McNeil #6 and Wilson Ramos #40 (not pictured) in the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on March 30, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
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The New York Mets starting lineup for Saturday will include J.D. Davis batting cleanup yet again. Fans aren’t happy nor should they be.

Get well soon, Jeff McNeil! The ailing utility man is dealing with a knee issue, which as a result, has created another one for the New York Mets. On Saturday, J.D. Davis will start at third base in McNeil’s place.

This isn’t the problem. It’s the lineup Mickey Callaway submitted which has drawn ire from the fans. Instead of batting Davis near the bottom of the lineup where backup players with a career batting average of .189 may find themselves, Davis is batting cleanup yet again.

Davis has not looked good this year at the plate or in the field. Nobody expected him to look like Nolan Arenado on defense. There was some thought, though, that he could at least crush a few home runs. Davis has regularly raked versus Triple-A pitching. However, this is the big leagues. Pitchers are fresh and his .150/.227/.250 batting lineup through his first 22 plate appearances with the Mets does little to justify such a high spot in the order.

Thus far, Davis has appeared in all but the first game of the season. He started four times at third base and came in as part of a double-switch the other two appearances. It’s still early to criticize him for these numbers. It’s also too soon to plop him right in the middle of the order even against a left-handed pitcher.

The Mets will face Patrick Corbin in this start and drop Michael Conforto into the sixth spot despite a .455/.500/1.364 slash line against Corbin in 12 plate appearances. Conforto has also cracked three home runs versus Corbin already in his limited opportunities to face the lefty.

It’s a small sample-size, sure. It’s enough for me to stick with him in the cleanup spot where he has hit well this season.

Something as simple as putting Wilson Ramos in the number four spot and moving Conforto down to number five could work. Let Davis hit sixth if they truly believe Saturday is the day he breaks out of his funk.

It’s inconsistent how the Mets lineups have valued the splits so far this year. Conforto falls in the order and Davis goes into the middle yet Brandon Nimmo continues to hit leadoff despite his early struggles. One of Nimmo’s biggest weaknesses is how he hits against southpaws. If the Mets really wanted a lineup built to defeat a left-handed starter, they would think about putting Amed Rosario in the number one spot.

For all we know, Davis will give us a good game today and it’ll all be a moot point by this afternoon. This is me trying to spin this positively after swearing I was on a fast from negativity.

Next. Pros and cons of adding Dallas Keuchel

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This is the third start for Davis as the cleanup hitter. In another start, he batted fifth. At a combined 2 for 14 in those games, it’s time to drop him when he does get his starts.

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