Notes: Floyd moved up in lineup
Randolph slides slugger up to No. 2 with Lo Duca resting
PHILADELPHIA -- Paul Lo Duca was bruised, battered and in need of rest. Cliff Floyd's batting average was in similar condition and in need of a fastball. As a result, the batting order Willie Randolph posted for the third game of the Mets' series against the Phillies on Thursday night had Floyd in Lo Doca's slot and Lo Duca in absentia.
After some conversation with Floyd on Wednesday, the Mets' manager made what probably would be a one-time assignment, elevating Floyd to the No. 2 position in the order while Ramon Castro replaced Lo Duca as the catcher and batted eighth.
"It's not anything gigantic," Floyd said. "It's probably just for one day -- unless I hit four out."
Randolph wasn't looking for anything so grand as four home runs, but merely a means of "getting Cliff going." The Mets' regular left fielder was batting .191 with 14 RBIs and three home runs in 110 at-bats through Wednesday.
"Give him a different look, a different twist. That's all," Randolph said. "The guy is out there every day, working hard and playing great defense. Why not? It might kick-start him. ... It might be [for one game], it might not be. Who knows? Sometimes, guys just need a little change of scenery, that's all. Everyone goes through these things. It's part of life in the big leagues."
After a solid, if inconsistent, performance as the Mets' cleanup hitter last season, Floyd was dropped to the sixth spot this season to accommodate Carlos Delgado. And whether it has been the change in batting-order assignment, change in the calendar or change in the weather, Floyd has been unproductive for most of the Mets' first 33 games. His luck has been no better than his production. Floyd leads the Mets in "at-'em" balls. The unseen hand and an occasional overshift have denied him at least five hits.
"Seems like 20," Floyd said Wednesday as he prepared for first start as a No. 2 batter since 1998.
The position and duties are not foreign to him. Floyd batted second in 42 games with the Expos in 1994 and four more times the following season.
After speaking with hitting instructor Rick Down, Floyd broached the possibility of batting second with Randolph, suggesting that batting behind Jose Reyes, he might see more fastballs, and hitting in front of Carlos Beltran and Delgado, he might see more strikes.
Prize for second?
"I'm very rarely getting fastballs in," Floyd said. "I'm getting a steady diet of pitches outside."
Floyd knew he might be asked to take a pitch to give Reyes a chance to steal. But at the same time, some managers have been known to hold a runner on first base -- if the batter is a left-handed pull hitter -- to prompt the opposing first baseman to play on the base and thereby open the right side for the pull hitter.
And Floyd does tend to hit an inordinate number of ground balls between where the first and second basemen generally play.
Pushed back: Brian Bannister needed at least one extra day before pitching in simulated-game conditions because his right hamstring, which he strained on April 26, still was sore. So the Mets' No. 5 starter was pushed back. He now is to throw on Saturday, rather than Friday, in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
This date in Mets history, May 12: After winning merely five times in their first 22 games, the '62 Mets won twice in one day on this date. Hobie Landrith, the first of the original Mets, hit a home run off of Warren Spahn with two outs in the ninth to fuel a 3-2 victory against the Braves in the first game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Gil Hodges hit a solo home run with one out in the ninth inning of the second game after the Mets had tied the score, 7-7, in the eighth. The Mets hadn't won a game by one run until that point. Craig Anderson was the winning pitcher in both games, pitching three total innings in relief. He had been the winning pitcher six days earlier, too. He lost his other 17 decisions that season. And he never won another game in his brief career.
A bases-loaded single by Jerry Grote in the ninth inning drove in the decisive run in the Mets' 2-1 victory against the Giants at Shea on this date in 1972. The victory was the Mets' fourth in five games and the first of 11 straight.
A single by opposing pitcher Bob Moose and a triple by Willie Stargell were the only hits Tom Seaver allowed in a 6-0 shutout of the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium on this date in 1973.
The Mets' only extra-base hit of the game, a leadoff double by Ray Knight in the ninth inning, was followed immediately by a run-scoring single by Tim Teufel. The Mets beat the Braves, 1-0, at Shea on this date in 1986. It was their lone 1-0 victory of the season.
Frank Viola gained his seventh victory in seven starts in -- what else? -- a 7-0 victory against the Dodgers at Shea on this date in 1990. He struck out seven. No other Mets pitcher ever has won his first seven starts in a season.
A leadoff home run in the first inning by Kaz Matsui, the lone extra-base hit of the game, stood as the only run in the Mets' victory against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix on this date in 2004. Tom Glavine and Braden Looper combined on a three-hitter.
Coming up: The Mets visit Miller Park, a site of great success for them. They have won 19 of 27 games there, including nine of 12 since losing all three there in 2001. Jose Lima makes his second start in his favorite place against his favorite opponent. He has a 2-0 record in two career appearances at Miller Park and a 10-0 career record against the Brewers. Only one of the decisions came in the last three years, and it was in relief.
Dave Bush pitches for the Brewers. He has a 0.56 ERA in his two victories and a 7.50 ERA in his other three starts.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.