After promising Jeff Francoeur he would face the left-handers in the series against the San Francisco Giants, including Friday against Barry Zito, Jerry Manuel stuck to his word.
As a result, Francoeur started in right field and Angel Pagan was on the bench. And with Jose Reyes also sidelined, the Mets did not have a bona fide leadoff hitter. Instead, Ruben Tejada is in the leadoff slot, despite being in a 3-for-28 rut in the rookie’s last 10 games.
“I’ve got to make sure Francoeur gets some at-bats,” Manuel reasoned. “I think that Angel understands that for the most part. It is a little tough right now to get that lineup kind of exactly like you want it with trying to juggle different things here and there. I had told the guy [Francoeur] he was going to play, and I feel pretty good about him being in there.”
Bay only started in the No. 2 slot once in his career. That came at the very end of last season with the Boston Red Sox, when manager Terry Francona was messing around and made a lineup “almost like spring training,” according to Bay.
“It was funny,” the left fielder recalled. “I remember I showed up that day and I kind of looked at the lineup and ‘Tito’ [Francona] was in his office. I walked by and said, ‘About time you appreciated the on-base skills.’ I guess somebody wrote an article that there was a rift between us -- ‘Jason Bay seemed genuinely mad …’ I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ That’s really the only reason I remember it.”
Regarding Bay in the No. 2 slot, Manuel said: “I think it’s a chance for him to see some fastballs. I think, too, that when we’re structured this way, you just kind of pack all of your good hitters together and hope that you just come out swinging the bats with some authority."