David Murphy returns to Rangers' lineup for Game 3 vs. Rays

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David Murphy is back in the starting lineup for Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays this afternoon, according to Anthony Andro of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He’ll start in left field and bat seventh against Matt Garza.

Murphy has been sidelined since last Wednesday due to a strained left groin. Jeff Francoeur started against left-hander David Price in Game 1 of the series, while Julio Borbon was in the lineup for Game 2 against James Shields.

Murphy isn’t much to write home about against left-handed pitching, but he has an 842 career OPS against right-handed pitching, including a .298/.368/.479 batting line to go along with 11 homers, 50 RBI and an 847 OPS this season.

Bengie Molina, who was the unlikely hitting star in Game 1, is back behind the plate Saturday, batting eighth.

Jose Reyes is hitless in 20 plate appearances to start the season

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Mets backup infielder Jose Reyes pinch-hit and popped up in the top of the eighth inning of Thursday night’s game in Atlanta against the Braves. That ran his streak up to 20 consecutive hitless plate appearances to start the 2018 season. He has reached base once, however, on a walk, so there’s that.

Reyes, 34, signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Mets near the end of January. At the time, the Mets hadn’t yet signed Todd Frazier, so Reyes was in the mix to contribute as a utilityman but he has operated as a bat off the bench for the most part this season.

One wonders how much longer the Mets are going to let Reyes flounder. According to FanGraphs, he has already been worth a half-win less than a replacement-level player. Only eight other players have been as bad or worse this season.