Terry Collins said he decided to start Jason Bay in the No. 2 slot in the lineup for only the third time in the left fielder's career for a handful of reasons:
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The manager cited Bay's numbers against left-handed pitching (.273 this season, versus .196 against right-handers). Collins also noted Bay's career .438 average with one homer and three RBIs in 32 at-bat against Andy Pettitte. Finally, Collins mentioned placing Bay ahead of David Wright should ensure quality pitches to hit -- although it's worth noting that Bay missed several meaty fastballs in the first two games of the series even without that protection.
Bay is hitless in seven at-bats since returning from the disabled list.
In the past, the No. 2 hitter for the Mets would see plenty of fastballs. That was partly due to hitting ahead of Wright, but more so because Jose Reyes was atop the order and a threat to steal. So placing a batter No. 2 now does not have the same impact on the pitches he receives as it used to, because there is no bona fide steal threat atop the order.
"The scenario is different," Collins conceded.
• While the Mets are not expecting Jon Niese will have a repeat of the rapid heartbeat he experienced in his last start, Collins said he will take no chances. If any symptoms arise, Collins said the southpaw should get a quick hook. "This guy is not dropping over under my watch," Collins said. "... If it's revving, we're probably going to get him out of there." Niese is planning to have a minor heart surgery known as ablation after the season to prevent the sporadic flareups.
• Why sit Ike Davis against Pettitte? Collins said if the first baseman is making progress at the plate, he did not want Davis to regress by facing a crafty left-hander. Collins also noted that Davis had played a lot of late -- nine straight starts, with the Mets finally having seen a stretch of right-handed pitching. The organization still wants to avoid overtaxing Davis, to avoid potentially triggering any latent valley fever effects.
New York Mets
• While there will be an outfield numbers crunch when the Mets return to NL play Friday, Collins said he wants Andres Torres to remain a starter -- assuming Torres' play will justify it. "We'd like him to be an everyday player," the manager said. "We've got to get him going left-handed." The switch-hitting Torres is hitting .163 against right-handed pitching and .314 against left-handed pitching this season. Collins noted the Mets are 11-4 when Torres scores a run in the game.
• The Yankees are 0-12 when they fail to hit a homer. With that in mind, Collins said, pitching coach Dan Warthen held a second pitchers meeting Saturday to remind his staff to be cautious and not throw a pitch over the middle just because you're behind in the count.