NEW YORK -- In a duel against one of the most successful left-handed pitchers in baseball, the Mets came into Sunday's game against the Giants with a clear strategy in place.
Right-handed batter after right-handed batter stepped into the box against the Giants, eight in all. Against lefty Madison Bumgarner, Mets manager Terry Collins rested regular first baseman Lucas Duda and second baseman Daniel Murphy, leaving Curtis Granderson as the only left-handed hitter in his lineup.
"Some of these guys are just different," Collins said, stretching his own left arm way out to the side. "This guy throws from out here, throws across his body a little bit -- really tough to pick up for a left-handed hitter. If you're going to give a left-hander a day off, this is the guy to give a day off [against]."
Because Sunday was a day game after a night game, Collins also rested regular catcher Travis d'Arnaud, leaving the Mets with a largely unfamiliar lineup. Anthony Recker started behind the plate, batting eighth, with Eric Campbell at first base and Wilmer Flores at second.
That last bit was important for Collins, who came into the weekend hoping to give Flores consecutive starts. The Mets are wary of keeping the rookie in the big leagues if he is starting only sporadically.
As for Duda, the first baseman still has not earned carte blanche to be in the lineup regardless of the opposing pitcher. Though Duda's opportunities against same-sided pitchers have increased in recent weeks, thanks in large part to his .293/.396/.610 overall slash line in July, Collins was wary of starting him against a pitcher holding left-handed batters to a .267 on-base percentage.
Instead, for the Mets, stacking right-handed hitters was the way to go.
"I thought today would be a good day for it vs. Bumgarner," Collins said. "He can be really tough vs. lefties."