Robinson Cano’s days of batting third appear to have ended.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway has dropped Cano to fifth in the order to open the second half of the season Friday night against the Marlins in a showdown between the National League bottom-dwellers.
“I think it’s [the lineup] something that can be fluid,” Callaway said before the game. “We’ve done this before when a left is pitching. This is more about the lefty today. We all know Cano has had his struggles on the road. He’s performed really well at home. It’s something that I think is going to be fluid and you might see some fluidity to our lineup throughout, because we continue to put guys in a position to win.
“I think that putting the same lineup out there every day has not worked. So we might have to mix it up a little bit. I’m sure that everyone understands that and that winning has to be paramount.”
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Cano, 36, has limped to a dismal .240 batting average with four home runs and 18 RBIs. Cano’s lack of power, at a time when the rest of the league is slugging at an unprecedented rate, is particularly concerning.
Rookie sensation Pete Alonso will take Cano’s spot at the heart of the Mets order. After bursting onto the scene with a .280 batting average, 30 home runs, 68 RBIs and a whopping 1.006 OPS, it appears Alonso is set to become the focal point of the lineup.
Callaway’s comments are a departure from his previous statements. Before a game against the Phillies in late June, Callaway justified Cano’s prime spot in the order by claiming his results did not reflect his play.
“I don’t think 80 games is fair to say he’s declined in any way,” Callaway said at the time. “He hasn’t lost bat speed, so we just gotta get him confident and get him going. He’s gonna hit.
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“A lot of it is comfortability with the player. I do like the fact that he’s hitting in between who he’s hitting. But I think at some point we have to get him going. We’re gonna continue to try and do everything he can to make his comfortability where he can have some more success. I think he’s been swinging the bat better than his results. He’s hit some hard line outs, some hard ground balls that haven’t found the holes.”