It appears that hot bats are going to prevail over historical performance as Terry Collins fills in the Mets’ lineup cards during this critical final stretch of the drive for the postseason.
Going against an opponents’ righthanded starter is generally when Collins puts lefty-hitting James Loney at first base. Not on Wednesday night. He chose Wilmer Flores and the Mets were rewarded with his two-run homer in the second inning.
Flores took Miami’s Jake Esch over the wall in leftfield on a 1-and-1 pitch. It was his 15th home run and extended his hitting streak to nine games. During the streak, Flores is batting .333 with three homers, 12 RBIs and eight runs.
Flores is now one home run shy of the career-high 16 he had last season.
“He’s staying on the ball a little better,” Collins said. “You see more of his base hits are to centerfield. He’s hitting line drives in the middle of the field instead of pulling righties. It’s made a big difference.”
“We said ‘let’s get him in there,’ ” Collins added.
“Righty lefty, I am taking the same approach,” Flores said.
Flores was batting .344 against lefties and just .228 against righties coming into the game. Loney hit .282 in his first three months after the Mets acquired him, but has been brutal in August. He batted .213 for the month including 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
That, combined with Flores’ tear, made the decision an easy one for Collins.
“We have reached the point where we did last year at one point where we said ‘you hit, you play.’ And that’s where we’re at. That’s why we wrote the lineup the way we did today. Those guys right now are hitting that are in there.”