The suddenly potent Mets offense, which had fueled the team's surge back to the .500 mark before today’s loss, was without outfielder Michael Conforto, who got the afternoon off. Terry Collins said before the game that the young outfielder has dealt with hamstring tightness.
Conforto, who has brilliantly manned the leadoff spot since being installed as the Mets' everyday left fielder when Yoenis Cespedes hit the disabled list, is in the top ten in the National League in several offensive categories—average, on-base percentage, slugging, and OPS—and has also played excellent defense.
Juan Lagares got the start in his place against Matt Cain and the Giants. It's likely a one-day arrangement, as Conforto is expected to be back in the lineup Friday following the Mets’ off day on Thursday.
While he wasn’t slated to be a regular starter when the season began, Conforto has become an indispensable component of a rejuvenated Met attack. His rebound from a discouraging 2016 is likely to present some tough decisions for manager Terry Collins and the team's front office, as both Cespedes and rehabbing first-baseman Lucas Duda should rejoin the big club in the next week or two. While it might have been presumed not long ago that Conforto would return to the bench, it now would seem unthinkable to not play him every day, a dynamic that could make Curtis Granderson—the oldest player on the team and as inconsistent as ever—the odd man out.