John Maine goes tonight against the Florida Marlins, a team he’s shown success with a 3-1 record and 2.85 ERA in seven career starts. Maine (0-2, 7.47 ERA) is coming off a stinker of a start, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks against the Cardinals.
Carlos Delgado is out of the line-up tonight with soreness in his hip. Fernando Tatis replaces him in the field and Gary Sheffield bats clean-up and is in left. With Daniel Murphy sitting tonight, Luis Castillo will bat second.
Here’s the line-up:
Jose Reyes, SS
Luis Castillo, 2B
Carlos Beltran, CF
Gary Sheffield, LF
David Wright, 3B
Ryan Church, RF
Fernando Tatis, 1B
Omir Santos, C
John Maine, P
TATIS: Looking for a place for his bat.
Fernando Tatis’ position just might turn out to be batter. Jerry Manuel said Tatis would rotate off the bench at the infield and outfield corners, just to get his bat in the lineup. It’s a good idea if it is done with consistency so he’ll get enough at-bats to stay sharp.
Tatis is currently bothered with a swollen hand and won’t play today against Baltimore.
So much for the platoon in left. Manager Jerry Manuel said it is Daniel Murphy’s job to lose, and he’ll see a lot of time against left-handed pitching. That doesn’t mean Fernando Tatis is useless. He’ll get at-bats in right against left-handed pitching, which means less playing time for Ryan Church.
I like the confidence Manuel is showing in Murphy, and I hope it continues even when there’s an inevitable slump. The onus now is on Church to produce vs. lefties so he stays in the line-up.
Manuel’s thinking is Murphy has less holes in his swing and approach than does Church.
CHURCH: Can he stay healthy?
All winter I trumpeted the need for pitching over adding a bat in the outfield as a priority. I still think pitching is more important. HOWEVER, since the Mets have basically the same rotation as last year, it has given me pause.
I’m not convinced the Mets will have a flawless season with their outfield corners.
I like Ryan Church, but we have to accept that he had two good months before the second concussion did in his season. We don’t know, had he stayed healthy, what kind of year he would have had. So, it stands to reason he’s a question.
Then there is the left field platoon of Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis. The Mets caught lightning in a bottle with them last year. Will they have duplicate seasons? I don’t know.
MLB.com reported Fernando Martinez left the Carribean World Series to have his sore right elbow examined in New York.
“I felt my elbow tighten up the day before yesterday,” Martinez said. “It was a little swollen. It’s better. I feel I can play again. I don’t think I need to fly to New York to get a check up, but the Mets want me to.”
I have a gut feeling the left field platoon of Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis might not pan out and F-Mart might get unexpected time in the majors.