Rather than start struggling lefty Mike Jacobs at cleanup, the Mets have opted to bunch right-handers David Wright and Jason Bay together in the middle of the lineup.
Against right-handed Nationals starter Livan Hernandez on Sunday, the Mets could have batted Jacobs fourth, Bay fifth, switch-hitter Gary Matthews, Jr. sixth and the right-handed Jeff Francoeur seventh, thereby keeping their righties and lefties separated. But with Jacobs in a 1-for-11 funk to start the season, manager Jerry Manuel preferred to slot both Bay and Francoeur higher in the lineup.
Sunday also marked the second successive day that Matthews started in center field over Angel Pagan.
"The one good thing is they're still in there every day in some form or fashion," Manuel said, referring to the pinch-hit appearances his center fielders have received. "They're not missing at-bats or missing time on the field. I expect one of them to take off sooner or later."