Commentary

Mets' heavy hitters light on production

Skipper ponders lineup shift as righties Wright, Bay, Francoeur struggle

Updated: April 22, 2010, 11:41 AM ET
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Well, it was fun while it lasted.

The Mets and Cubs were slowed down by a 26-minute rain delay on Wednesday night. Then the Mets' two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt with a 9-3 loss.

The sudden arrival of top prospect Ike Davis from Triple-A, along with strong pitching performances by Jonathon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and the Mets' bullpen, propelled the Mets to victories over the Cubs on Monday and Tuesday.

[+] EnlargeDavid Wright
Aristide Economopoulos/US PresswireGetting plunked in the first inning was an inauspicious start to David Wright's night.

They also masked the Mets' biggest problem right now -- their lack of offensive punch, particularly from their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, David Wright and Jason Bay.

"The next time that we face a right-handed pitcher, I think I'm gonna have to make some adjustments in the lineup," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after Wednesday night's loss.

Coming into the game, the Mets ranked 14th out of 16 National League clubs in batting average, and 13th in runs scored. A big reason why has been the lack of pop from Wright (batting .240 on the season) and Bay (.241). Each had a single in four trips to the plate Wednesday night; each also heard some boos when they didn't produce on other occasions during the game.

"It's time for me to get going," Wright said. "My job is to drive in runs, and I wanna start doing that, and hopefully that's in the near future."

At least Wright has three home runs and seven RBIs. Bay's struggles have been even more striking. He hit 36 home runs and drove in 119 runs for the Red Sox last year -- which led the Mets to offer him a four-year, $66 million contract in the offseason. But so far this year, through 15 games, he has no homers and just three RBIs.

Bay did not talk to reporters after Wednesday night's game. But his new teammate, Wright, defended him.

"[Bay] has played in Boston, he's thrived in Boston," Wright said. "He's gotten off to a slow start. I'm sure he wishes he would have gotten off to a great start. But it hasn't happened, and I think ... when he gets hot, he's gonna get Jason Bay hot, and be able to carry this team offensively for a good chunk of time."

The manager is confident that his big boppers will be able to turn things around.

"Once they get a few hits, any type of hits, I think they'll get going," Manuel said.

But the manager is contemplating some changes. Right now he has three righty hitters in a row in the Nos. 3, 4 and 5 holes. Wright's and Bay's struggles have been documented already. The No. 5 hitter, Jeff Francoeur, started the season red-hot -- but he went 0-for-4 Wednesday night and is now hitless in his last 22 at-bats, the longest streak of his career.

The Mets are scheduled to face a lefty starter, Tom Gorzelanny, on Thursday. So Manuel said he'd keep the lineup intact for one more game. But after that, expect Wright, Bay and Francoeur to be split up, somehow.

Who will be moved, and where?

"Those are some things that I'll be trying to sleep on the next couple of nights," Manuel said. "If I get any sleep."

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com. He can be reached at kieran.d.darcy@espn.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.

Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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