Collins shakes up lineup to start trip

OAKLAND -- The Mets are headed to the West Coast with a chance to make modern-baseball history, although not the kind the Amazin’s would want publicized.

The offense had failed to collect more than four hits in five consecutive games, a franchise record. The last big league team to match that kind of ineptitude? The 2002 Mets.

If the offense continues the streak Tuesday against Oakland All-Star Scott Kazmir, the Mets would be the first team since 1900 to have a single-season run of six games with four or fewer hits, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The drought was enough for manager Terry Collins to fiddle with his lineup to start the road trip. He gave second baseman Daniel Murphy the day off and pulled Curtis Granderson from the leadoff spot. Granderson was dropped to No. 2 and Juan Lagares was put at the top.

“We just thought we’d change it up a little,” Collins said. “It’s not like we’re mashing right now.”

Collins also said he could see Lagares as a long-term solution in the leadoff role as long as he can work the count more effectively, but that time might not be in the immediate future beyond Tuesday.

*It was expected that Murphy would get a day off here, and it made sense to take it against the lefty, Kazmir, rather than right-hander Jeff Samardzija, who has allowed three hits and a homer to Murphy in six career at-bats.

Murphy is 3-for-his-past-24 (.125) over six games.

“Murph needs a blow,” Collins said. “Dan and I talked about that a couple days ago. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but he knows he needs it.

“You can start to see when Dan’s swing gets a little long, he’s out of gas, because he knows how to hit. When he goes through these long stretches where he’s not swinging good, it’s because he’s tired.”

• Bench player Kirk Nieuwenhuis is likely unavailable Tuesday night because of a stiff neck.