PHILADELPHIA -- Mets manager Terry Collins raved Tuesday about Lucas Duda's two key hits against left-handed pitchers, including the game-winner vs. Antonio Bastardo. But when it came time to fill out his lineup card Wednesday, Collins rested Duda against Phillies lefty Cliff Lee.
That was less about Duda, and mostly due to Scott Hairston's and Vinny Rottino's strong numbers against lefties. Though Duda is slugging just .281 against left-handers this season, his manager can stomach such a lack of punch if the outfielder's approach at the plate is correct.
"You look at the two at-bats that Lucas had last night," Collins said, referring to Duda's shortened approach against Bastardo and Joe Savery. "He just wanted to put a good swing on the ball, and he drove in two runs with two singles."
Duda said after that game that he felt mostly recovered from the illness that sapped him of his strength -- not to mention 10 pounds -- last week. Duda had been 1-for-13 since that time, before racking up his two late hits against left-handers Tuesday.
"When you look at Lucas, I'm going to go back to the illness," Collins said. "I know he's feeling fine now, but you don't lose the kind of weight he lost without losing a little strength and a little energy."
Collins also gave Kirk Nieuwenhuis a day off against Lee, proceeding with Hairston and Rottino at the corner outfield positions. That meant that second baseman Daniel Murphy slid up to the second spot in the lineup, with Hairston batting cleanup and Rottino fifth.