That trio went 1-for-11 as the Mets had their extremely modest two-game winning streak snapped at Citi Field.
Manuel mentioned sticking rookie Ike Davis in among the righties. He mentioned trying Bay in the No. 2 spot to get him more fastballs. He didn't rule out using Angel Pagan or Jose Reyes in the third spot. He said he has three different lineups on his desk.
But not everyone wants to delve into the lineup as much as Manuel seems to.
"I'm so tired of talking about the lineup," Wright said. "If it happens, it happens. It's no big deal. I don't think anybody in here cares where they hit. Once it turns over, you could hit leadoff, you could hit fourth, third, it really doesn't matter. It makes no bit of difference. If they think we can score more runs with a different lineup, then I'll sign up for it."
The Mets had won four of their last six, a modest stretch built on superb starting pitching. They looked to Oliver Perez to continue the good vibes against the Cubs, who had lost four straight.
He wasn't great and he wasn't horrible. He was . . . eh. Good enough to win on some nights, not good enough to win on this night. Perez (0-2, 3.71 ERA) allowed three runs (two earned), eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts in five innings.
He lost mostly because the Mets got next to nothing done against Carlos Silva, one of the worst pitchers in baseball the last two seasons but who has found his form with the Cubs.
"[Perez] was hit relatively hard, but he still gave us a shot," Manuel said. "We still had a chance to win the game. It was a 3-1 ballgame when he left."
Francoeur went 0-for-4 and is hitless in his last 22 at-bats. Wright was 1-for-2 with a walk and RBI. Bay was 1-for-3 with a walk. This could be the last time the Mets face a righty and those three are grouped together.
"Those are some things that I'll be trying to sleep on tonight," Manuel said. "If I get any sleep."
Perez also was done in by the Mets' secondary relievers, who allowed the Cubs to turn a 3-1 game into a semi-laugher with six runs in the final three innings, offsetting a too-little, too-late Mets charge.
Mets fans in the announced crowd of 25,684 braved a 26-minute rain delay at the start. They were cranky at times, booing Wright and Bay when each struck out in a different inning.
The Cubs and Mariners were swapping problems. Silva, signed to a four-year, $48-million contract before the 2008 season, went 5-18 with a 6.82 ERA in two years in Seattle. But he has been outstanding in three outings for the Cubs (2-0, 0.95).
The Mets' hits off Silva were Rod Barajas' second-inning home run into the second deck in leftfield and Bay's single to left in the sixth. Silva walked two, hit a batter and struck out four.