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Davis all right vs. lefties

5/14/2010

The Mets will see a lefty with whom they’re familiar tonight in Nationals starter Scott Olsen, and that should be of benefit not just to David Wright (8-for-22 with six walks against lefties this season), but to Ike Davis as well.

Davis got another hit against a lefty on Monday, making him 8-for-14 with two walks against southpaws this season.

That’s a small initial sample, but we thought it merited a closer look, since we’ve heard many (including Mets broadcasters Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling) say they’re impressed with Davis’ approach.

A couple of notes on Davis’s performance against left-handed pitchers so far:

He’s 8-for-14 overall, with our Inside Edge video review data showing that four hits have come on fastballs, two on curveballs, and two on sliders. In fact, all four times that he’s made contact on a curveball or slider, he’s gotten a base hit.

Davis has been a very discerning hitter against the 22 curveballs he’s seen, Only eight of those pitches have been for strikes, as pitchers have found that he won’t bite on the hook.

He’s only swung at five curves, and though he’s missed three of those swings, the other two resulted in a double and a home run. So the risk-reward for pitchers who have chosen to throw Davis a curveball has been high. Throw him one out of the strike zone, it’s a ball. Throw him one in the strike zone and as Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez learned last week, you do so at your own peril.

The slider has tempted Davis often enough that he’s taken eight swings at the 10 he’s seen. Of those eight, he’s got the two hits (both singles), fouled three pitches off, and missed three.

As for the heat, pitchers have learned you can’t throw the fastball by him. He’s swung at nine fastballs from lefties, missing only one, and those swings have resulted in four base hits and three outs (including the one on the pop up double play yesterday).

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As for Wright, he stopped his string of three-plus strikeout games at two, but did whiff for the seventh straight game, so those paces mentioned Monday haven’t changed much.

It’s the second time this season that Wright has struck out in seven straight games (earlier this year, his streak reached 13 straight). Last season, despite a hefty increase in whiffs, Wright’s longest strikeout streak at any point was six games.

Wright has struck out seven times in 38 career plate appearances against tonight’s starter, Olsen. In 2007 and 2008, he fanned only once in 27 turns against the Nationals southpaw, though last season he went 1-for-3 with two punchouts.