Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Verdict Is In: Who Will Hit Leadoff For Mets With McNeil Back

Photo by Jason Schott.

When Jeff McNeil was activated off the injured list on Saturday, the question was whether he would return to the leadoff spot or whether Amed Rosario would remain there.

The Mets put that decision off for a day by having him come off the bench to pinch-hit in the seventh inning in Saturday night's game and got two hits.

While McNeil is hitting .336 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI, Rosario has turned it on since July 1. In 71 games since then, he is hitting .319, seventh in the National League in that span, with six home runs, 26 RBI, and 42 runs scored.

Mets Manager Mickey Callaway announced on Sunday morning that Rosario would be hitting leadoff in this afternoon's series finale with Atlanta, with McNeil second. 

The fact Atlanta has left-hander Dallas Keuchel on the mound came into play, but he tipped off it might be permanent.

"I think the lefty more than anything came into play, that's starting today. I do love the way Rosie has performed at leadoff, I think we all know that he's had a lot of success there. McNeil behind him, if he gets on first, the hole's open for McNeil to hit a groundball through the right side. If he gets on second, I feel like McNeil can pull the ball, give him a chance to get a hit and move the runner over.

"There's a few reasons why we like McNeil in the two hole, and then it balances out with (Pete) Alonso and (Michael) Conforto - when he plays, he can hit fourth, and so on and so forth. I think it makes a lot of sense."

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