Manuel previews Mets lineup, rotation

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While acknowledging that there’s still some competition going on, Mets manager Jerry Manuel laid out his plans for the lineup and the rotation on Friday. Although the fourth and fifth spots are still uncertain, Manuel sees the lineup shaking out like this:
CF Angel Pagan
2B Luis Castillo
SS Jose Reyes
LF Jason Bay/3B David Wright
3B David Wright/LF Jason Bay
1B Daniel Murphy
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Rod Barajas
Getting Wright’s OBP ahead of Bay in the order would seem to be the logical move, but Manuel may fear that Bay wouldn’t be pitched to in RBI situations with Murphy on deck. It’d definitely cause lefties to work him carefully, but Wright would face the same problem. Of course, when the Mets are facing a lefty starter, it’d make much more sense to bat Francoeur sixth.
For the rotation, Manuel reiterated that he’s hoping Jon Niese wins the fifth spot. It’s a big change of tune from earlier in the offseason, when Fernando Nieve was declared to have the edge. Niese, though, has showed up healthy to camp after a torn hamstring ended his 2009, and he’s in the lead for the opening behind Johan Santana, John Maine, Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.