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Mets announce lineup for Wild Card game vs. Giants

James Loney is starting.

MLB: New York Mets Workout The Record-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have announced their lineup for tonight’s Wild Card matchup with the Giants at Citi Field. We already knew it was a superstar starting pitcher showdown between Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner, but now we know who will be on the field in support of Syndergaard.

Jose Reyes – 3B
Asdrubal Cabrera – SS
Yoenis Cespedes – LF
Curtis Granderson – CF
T.J. Rivera – 2B
Jay Bruce – RF
Rene Rivera – C
James Loney – 1B
Noah Syndergaard – RHP

If you had “T.J. Rivera will bat fifth in a playoff game” in the preseason prediction pool, you should take that act on the road because you can predict the future. Rivera, who has hit well in limited action with the Mets, probably would have hit lower in the lineup if the Mets weren’t facing such a formidable left-hander in Bumgarner. As constructed, the lineup puts Rivera’s right-handed bat between Curtis Granderson and Jay Bruce, who both hit from the left side.

Behind the dish, Travis d’Arnaud certainly has more upside than Rene Rivera, but Rivera is in there to help Syndergaard protect against the running game.

James Loney, who had been a black hole in the lineup for months until the final series against the Phillies, was chosen over Lucas Duda for a couple of reasons, according to manager Terry Collins. The first was that Collins thought it’d be “an awful big challenge” for Duda to face Bumgarner with Duda having taken very few reps at the plate since returning from the disabled list. One could reasonably argue that it’d be an awful big challenge for a bad hitter like Loney to face anyone, but we’ll leave that alone.

Collins also suggested that Loney’s defense helped tip the scales in his favor. Whether Loney is a good defender at first or a bad, awkward one we’ll leave to to the readers to decide. At least he’s batting eighth.

Tonight’s game begins at 8:09 PM.