Jerry Manuel will give his star third baseman some much-deserved rest Tuesday when the punchless Mets continue their series with the lowly Seattle Mariners.
Former Mets manager Willie Randolph, trying to turn the team’s season around, never took Wright out of the lineup. But Manuel, who took over after Randolph was fired last week, believes New York’s lineup might benefit long-term by giving Wright a game off now.
Wright, the only major leaguer to play every inning this season, struggled in the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Mariners (27-49) on Monday night. An error by the Gold Glover extended the second inning, when Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez hit a grand slam, and he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Wright leads the team with 12 home runs and 56 RBIs, but is batting .153 (2-for-13) in his last five games.
“Jerry knows the game. I’ll get a blow and hopefully come back refreshed,” Wright said.
Veteran utilityman Fernando Tatis will likely start at third base as New York (37-38) tries to end its woes at the plate. The Mets have lost two of their last three, batting just .154.
“We will definitely have to make some adjustments offensively,” said Manuel, who is 3-3 since taking over for Randolph.
New York’s lineup appears to have an excellent opportunity to break out. Seattle starter R.A. Dickey (1-3, 5.77 ERA) has lost all three of his starts this season, posting a 13.50 ERA and a .400 opponent batting average. He is also 0-3 with an 18.97 ERA in four career interleague starts.
Dickey, who has been used mostly out of the bullpen this season, gave up two runs and two hits in two innings of Seattle’s 8-3 loss to Atlanta on Sunday.
This will be his first appearance against the Mets.
New York will counter with Oliver Perez (5-4, 5.06 ERA), who has been inconsistent all season. He labored through six innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, allowing four runs, nine hits and three walks in a 5-4 Mets win.
The left-hander went 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his previous two starts.
Perez is 8-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 17 interleague starts, and 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts versus the Mariners.
Perez will face a Seattle lineup that received a boost Monday with the return of Adrian Beltre. The third baseman was in the cleanup spot and went 1-for-4 after missing two games with a bruised left index finger.
Beltre also handled two chances in the field cleanly, and has not made an error in 15 straight games. He helped the Mariners improve to 12-25 on the road, and 2-2 since interim manager Jim Riggleman replaced the fired John McLaren.