As a hitter, Luis Castillo’s best spot in the lineup is as a No. 2 hitter, where he can bunt, work the count and protect Jose Reyes. That spot in the order best utilizes his offensive skills.
However, his offensive skills pale in comparison to those of Angel Pagan, who can do everything Castillo can, only better. Plus, he can hit for power and at this stage of his career is a greater base stealing threat.
After batting Castillo second for much of the week, Jerry Manuel finally moved Pagan back to the two hole and dropped Castillo to eighth. Not coincidentally, the Mets finally won a game. Let’s hope Manuel learned from this and will continue that alignment in the order.
“(Angel Pagan has) done a terrific job of getting on base and setting the table and being a good situational hitter,” said David Wright. “It makes my job and Carlos’ job a lot easier when he’s creating havoc on the base paths and we’ve got a bunch of runners in scoring position…when we struggle offensively, the best thing to do is keep the line moving like we did tonight and let the next guy do the damage.”
It stands to reason the No. 2 hitter will get more at-bats than the No. 8 hitter, so why would you want to give Castillo that many more at-bats? You don’t. Bat him eighth and be done with it.
Things can always get worse. The question is: Will they ever get better? I mean, this year.
The weak-hitting Mets – who were shut out four time on their disastrous West Coast trip – open a three-game series tonight at Citi Field against St. Louis and Adam Wainwright, who is 4-0 with a 0.25 ERA over his last five starts and hasn’t allowed a run in 25 straight innings.
That’s whom the Mets will try to get better against.
The Mets went 2-9 on the trip, hit .196 and scored just 23 runs. One of the games they won was a gift from a bad umpire’s call.
“There’s no question that everybody’s frustrated,’’ said David Wright. “I think it adds to the frustration that our starters have been throwing the ball extremely well and our bullpen’s been solid. We just can’t get any runs for them. But now is not the time to hang your head or mope around.’’
Needing to pitch a shutout tonight – or at least it seems that way – will be Jonathon Niese, the beneficiary of all of four runs over his last three starts. He is 0-2 with a 3.20 ERA in that span.
The Mets return home with their coaching staff intact. There was speculation Howard Johnson would take the fall for the offense, but they decided that since their offense clicked in June that it would again.