There's a lot of excitement surrounding today's Mets-Giants game, provided it gets played. The duel between Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner will be one of the best starting pitching matchups so far this season. But for Mets fans, Terry Collins's unusual lineup might draw as much attention as the two men taking the mound.
Regular right fielder and first baseman Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda are both on the bench. Eric Campbell will get his first start of the season at first base, and Juan Lagares will take Granderson's typical spot batting leadoff. Lagares, a Gold Glove center fielder, is playing Granderson's spot in the outfield too. There's no dispute Lagares is a much better defensive player than Yoenis Cespedes, who will be playing center field today. His range is vastly better, and Lagares is far less likely to make a play like this. But unlike Cespedes, Juan at least has some experience playing in right field, which could have been a factor in Terry Collins's decision making.
Either way, seeing Granderson sit against the lefty Bumgarner should be an positive sign. Despite being dreadful against southpaws last season (his wRC+ was 61!), Collins kept letting him flounder in the leadoff spot. Lagares, meanwhile, is an above-average hitter against lefties, and needs more opportunities to hit against them. This is an encouraging start.
The insertion of Eric Campbell may be slightly less anticipated, but also makes sense. Wilmer Flores would normally take that spot, but he's subbing in at shortstop for Asdrubal Cabrera, who's getting a needed and deserved day off. Whoever subs for Duda, platooning him out of the lineup may be a good idea. Last year's respectable numbers against lefties appear to be an aberration, and he's really stumbled out of the gate so far this season.
The other outfield spot will be occupied by Michael Conforto, who gets another start against a left-handed starting picher. New second baseman Neil Walker has also been sizzling, and the switch-hitter will turn around and get some right-handed at-bats today. Both Conforto and Walker have been firing on all cylinders, and they kept things going on Saturday. Even with Bumgarner on the hill, there's no reason to think these two won't be up to the task the way they're playing.