- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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New York Mets
Terry Collins said he moved Jason Bay up in the lineup in part because the Mets are facing left-hander Gio Gonzalez (6-5, 2.69 ERA) on Wednesday. Bay also inserted left-handed batting Lucas Duda in place of the struggling Daniel Murphy in part because the Mets are facing a lefty.
Gonzalez entered Wednesday's start holding lefties to a .213 batting average (16-for-75).
Collins also said he chose to move up Bay because he needs someone to protect Carlos Beltran in the lineup, something Murphy hadn't been doing adequaltely of late. Look for Bay to remain in the cleanup spot for at least two games in Texas, as the Mets are slated to face two lefties in their three-game series in Arlington.
"We've got to have a guy that's going to protect Carlos and he gives us that," Collins said on Wednesday.
Bay, obvioulsy, was also moved up because he is swinging the bat well in recent games.
Bay is batting .353 in his last nine games. He hit his first homer since May 13 on Tuesday night, when he tied his season-high with three hits.
He last hit in the cleanup hole on June 3. He is batting .215 in the No. 4 hole.
"I just think he's coming along so I wanted to get him up there," Collins said.
14hZach Mariner and Marty Callinan, ESPN Stats & Info