Minor-league callup Chris Carter isn't in the Mets' starting lineup against Washington tonight at Citi Field. He's in a pinch-hitting role at the moment, and everyone knows how much the Mets need hitting in a pinch.

Carter put together an 11-game hitting streak at AAA Buffalo in which he batted .409 (18-44) with 12 RBI. That proved a spring in which he hit .393 with 4 HR and 9 RBI was no fluke. Not only that, but Carter tends to put the ball in play, as indicated by his average of one strikeout per 15.38 at bats, which was third-best in the International League.

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So, if he gets a chance with runners in scoring position, which has been the Mets' big weakness this season, it's a good bet Carter will put bat on ball. In their 3-2 loss to the Nationals on Monday night, the Mets were 1-12 with RISP. They are batting .228 (63-276) in that situation this season, which ranks as the third-worst figure in the majors.

Angel Pagan (.368, 7-19), Ike Davis (.313, 5-16) and David Wright (.290, 9-31) have performed reasonably well with RISP. But several Mets have struggled terribly, including cleanup hitter Jason Bay (.250, 9-36), Jose Reyes (.200, 7-35), Jeff Francoeur (.200, 7-35) and Luis Castillo (.200, 3-15). Gary Matthews Jr., who struck out with men at first and third in the seventh inning Monday night against the Nationals, has all but disappeared with RISP (.067, 1-15).