Throw in a misplay by right fielder Ryan Church in the home opener, and the Mets can blame poor outfield play for three losses in their first 13 games. If that continues, it will hurt the Mets in the clubhouse as much as on the field. Bad defense can pit pitchers against position players.
2B Luis Castillo
As long as David Wright is on the club, Murphy will not play his natural position of third base. Murphy also could play second base, but Castillo has recovered after a terrible start. Manuel will stick with Castillo, who had a terrible and lifeless season last year, as long as he can.
Castillo weathered a 1-for-10 start and went into Wednesday's play hitting .400 with a .942 OPS. He is still uncomfortable with hitting eighth — his new spot this season — but has benefited from being dropped from his familiar No. 2 spot.
"Sometimes when the pitcher is behind you, you can do only so much," Castillo said. "I need to be aggressive. Go up there to hit the ball."
No one with the Mets expects Castillo to stay near .400 for an extended period. Their hope is that he is better than last year's sore-kneed player who limped in at .245 with a lowly .660 OPS. The Mets, as is their custom, bet on the long shot.
If Castillo, Murphy and Perez all pan out, the Mets can win the NL East. That is the baseball equivalent of hitting the lottery. It's nice to dream about, but rarely happens.
NEW YORK (AP) - Yankees fans showed Don Mattingly the love from the moment he took the lineup card to home plate Wednesday. Hiroki Kuroda, though, wasn't feeling nostalgic when facing his old team.
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