New York Mets: Ike Davis

Ike: 'Nice to be with a team that likes you'

May, 17, 2014
May 17
4:04
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Former Met Ike Davis, back in town to play the Yankees in the Bronx this weekend, has been taking advantage of a fresh start in Pittsburgh.

The first baseman is batting .349 in May, including 12 hits in his past 25 at-bats.

So, what’s the key to his turnaround?

He talked about one aspect of it Saturday afternoon, telling reporters he’s more at ease in Pittsburgh in part because he knows the Pirates think he can help them win.

“It’s nice to play for someone that actually wants you or thinks that you can help the team. Obviously the Mets thought I could help the team ... a couple years [laughs] -- 'cause I was there for almost five,” Davis said. “I had one bad season, and they had to make a change. And they traded me away. I don't really know what else to say about that. It’s nice to be with a team that likes you. I don't think the Mets hated me ... until, you know.”

Davis was batting just .208 with one home run and five RBIs in 12 games prior to his April 18 trade to the Pirates.

He endured a rocky 2013 season in New York, as well, batting .161 through June 9 before being sent down to Triple-A. Davis was recalled July 5 and finished the season at .205, with nine homers and 33 RBIs.

The season prior, Davis got off to another rough start, hitting below .200 through July 3. But he boosted it to .227 by year's end and finished with 32 homers and 90 RBIs.

He said Saturday it was difficult at times in New York because he was asked by the media about constant trade speculation and his slumps at the plate.

Davis said being in Pittsburgh “takes away some of the pressure of the nonsense off the field, like having to answer questions about going 0-for-4. That happens all the time. It’s just when you have to talk about your bad streaks every day, you can think about it more than you want to.”

He added: “Over here, I had a stretch where I went like 1-for-20 or something and no one said a word. And I was like, 'In New York, it would be like the count off in the paper would be like 1-for-19 or 0-for-20.' It’s been nice.”

Davis was a first-round draft pick by the Mets, chosen No. 18 overall in 2008 out of Arizona State. He made his major league debut in 2010 and batted .264 with 19 home runs and 71 RBIs his rookie year.

His 2011 season was cut short after just 36 games because of an ankle injury.

On Saturday, Davis said he felt he was treated fairly by the Mets.

“You guys are putting too much emphasis on the Mets. I had a great couple years, but I don’t hate them. They’re not really in my focus anymore,” Davis said. “I had a great time, I made great friendships, but I’m on the Pirates and there’s not a hatred toward the Mets of, like, vengeance. I’m fine. I’m happy where I’m at. I had a great time with the Mets and I’m not with them anymore. I’m not going to do anything weird to the Mets. I’m just going to go play, and try to beat them. Obviously I just have a lot more friends on the Mets.”

Ike says Citi Field is 'just bigger': Much was made last week of the Mets exploding for six homers and 21 runs over two games at Yankee Stadium and then getting shut out in their next two games at Citi Field during the Subway Series.

“At Citi? It’s just bigger. It’s harder. A couple balls might not get out. They get out here,” Davis said of Yankee Stadium. “Confidence is the biggest thing in baseball. You go up there and hit a couple balls that get caught at the track versus a two-run homer, it’s a game-changer. It goes from ecstasy to, ‘Dang, that could’ve been a homer somewhere else.’ It’s just what it is. Sometimes you hit a ball 405 [feet] to left-center and it could be caught and you hit it 310 [feet] and it gets out somewhere else. It’s the only difference. It’s a little easier to score some runs if you can sneak one over the wall.”

Morning Briefing: Ike is out

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
10:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The 10-game homestand is only one game old, but already the New York Mets have traded Ike Davis and nearly got no-hit. Now they face a pitcher who held them to three hits in eight scoreless innings just 10 days ago in Atlanta.

Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64), outstanding so far after signing with the Braves during spring training, starts against the Mets on Saturday night at Citi Field. Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00), who threw seven shutout innings in Atlanta but allowed nine runs in five innings last Sunday in Anaheim, is the scheduled starter for the Mets.

Colon has been dealing with back spasms this week, but the word Friday was that he was good to go to face the Braves. Even so, Mets manager Terry Collins said he would have newly-promoted Daisuke Matsuzaka ready to start if Colon has a last-minute setback.

In any case, Saturday has a long way to go to be as busy as Friday. The Mets finally dealt with their first-base logjam by dealing Davis to the Pirates. Then they got only one hit -- a two-out David Wright single in the eighth inning -- in a 6-0 loss to the Braves.

Saturday's news reports:

• Almost four years to the day after he made his Mets debut, Davis went to the Pirates for minor-league reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named later.

It was hardly surprising to see Davis dealt, since the Mets had already decided to give most of the playing time at first base to Lucas Duda. How the trade is eventually viewed will depend on whether Davis can resurrect his career with the Pirates, and also on the identity of the player to be named. There were suggestions Friday night that the second player could be significant. ESPNNY.com's Adam Rubin points out that it could be someone who was drafted last June, since those players can't officially be traded until 12 months have passed.

Read more about Ike and the trade in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

• The Post quotes a "Pirates insider" as saying that Thornton is "not much of a prospect." That's hardly a surprising assessment, considering he's a 25-year-old middle reliever in his second year in Triple-A and his fifth year in the minor leagues, and was left unprotected in last December's Rule 5 draft. Post columnist Kevin Kernan says Davis is the true winner of the trade. Daily News columnist John Harper says the Mets should have traded Davis earlier.

• The Mets did not get a hit in seven innings against Aaron Harang, who made four starts for them last September. Wright's single off Luis Avilan at least kept them from getting no-hit for the first time since 1993 (and the first time at home since 1969).

Read game reports in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Star Ledger, Record and MLB.com.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear considers the inevitability of Ike Davis's departure.

BIRTHDAYS: Frank "Sweet Music" Viola, who is recovering from open-heart surgery, turns 54. ... Former reliever Ambiorix Burgos is 30.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU'RE UP: How will Ike Davis do with the Pirates, and will the Mets come to regret trading him away?

Series in review: Mets vs. Reds

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6
10:36
PM ET
The Mets won two of three to the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Here's a look at some of the statistical storylines that emerged from those games.

Moment of the series: Davis’ walk-off homer
Ike Davis’ first home run of 2014 was a memorable one, a walk-off grand slam to give the Mets the win on Saturday afternoon.


This marked the first time that the Mets hit a walk-off grand slam in consecutive seasons (they had two in a season in 1963). Jordany Valdespin had one for the Mets against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

It was the second pinch-hit walk-off grand slam in Mets history. The other came from current third-base coach Tim Teufel against the Philadelphia Phillies in 1986. One other kooky coincidence: The last walk-off pinch-hit grand slam to come with nobody out prior to Davis was by future Mets manager Davey Johnson for the 1978 Philadelphia Phillies against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The pinch-hit grand slam is a relative rarity in baseball. There have been 20 since the Mets’ inception in 1962, though there have now been three in the past four seasons.

Davis has three career walk-off homers, one shy of the club record, shared by Chris Jones, Cleon Jones, Mike Piazza and Kevin McReynolds.

It was also the first homer Davis hit against a curveball since September 5, 2012, when he hit one against Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. He struck out against a curveball to end Sunday’s loss.

Addressing some of the issues
A few Mets may have looked better at the plate over the weekend, but they’re not over their offensive issues just yet.

Someone might want to tell Eric Young Jr. to calm down a bit. Young does have hits in his last two games, but he’s 2-for-19 with nine strikeouts for the season. Early on, his “chase rate” (how often he swings at bad pitches) is 43 percent. It was 33 percent in 2013.

Young’s career batting average at Citi Field has dropped to .191 (he hit .201 there in 2013).

Travis d’Arnaud is 0 for 15, though he did have a deep fly out in Sunday’s loss. d’Arnaud’s issue is actually the opposite of Young’s. His chase rate is a meager eight percent (that’s good). But he’s 0-for-13 in at-bats that ended with a pitch in the strike zone (that’s bad).

Curtis Granderson shook out of his slump this weekend, but still looks a little rusty. He’s 1-for-14 with a 27 percent miss rate in at-bats ending with either a fastball, cutter, sinker, or splitter; and 0-for-8 in turns ending with a pitch 92 mph or faster.

View from the other side: Phillips' streak
Brandon Phillips had hits in each game of this series, giving him a 29-game road hitting streak against the Mets.

The only player with a longer road streak against them is Luis Castillo, who had a 32-gamer against the Mets from 2001 to 2005.

The longest overall hitting streak against the Mets is 24 games, by Matt Holliday from 2005 to 2008.

The longest streak by a player in his home ballpark is 25 games, by Tony Gwynn from 1995 to 1998 and retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter from 2003 to 2011.

Phillips has a .318 career batting average in 220 at-bats against the Mets, .350 at Citi Field and Shea Stadium.

Lucas Duda will start Tuesday in Atlanta

April, 6, 2014
Apr 6
11:32
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda will start at first base Tuesday in Atlanta, New York Mets manager Terry Collins confirmed prior to Sunday's game.

Ike Davis hit a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam Saturday, and will start at first base Sunday. But Davis was already scheduled to start Sunday, prior to the game-winning home run.

Collins is not abandoning his plan to give Duda the first crack at being his regular starting first baseman -- not yet, anyway.

"We’ve gotta at least stick by our plan a little bit," Collins said.

Duda hit two home runs Friday, but went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday.

Davis will bat fifth Sunday. But no matter what he does at the plate, he'll be back on the bench for the Mets' next game.

"I hope Ike has a big game today," Collins said. "[But] the plan is set in stone in Atlanta."
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Jonathon Niese makes his first start of the season on Sunday, as the Mets go for a sweep of the Reds and try to climb back to .500 at 3-3.

Niese was supposed to start on Opening Day, but was pushed back after receiving a cortisone shot because of inflammation in his left elbow.

Alfredo Simon will get the ball for Cincinnati, making his first start since 2011, when he was a member of the Orioles. He has spent the past two seasons as a reliever for the Reds, going 6-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 2013.

The Mets haven't swept the Reds in New York since 2005 at Shea Stadium.

Sunday's news reports

Ike Davis only got one at-bat on Saturday, but he made it count. Pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded and the Mets trailing 3-2, Davis hit a walkoff grand slam to give the Mets a 6-3 victory.

Read game recaps in the Daily News, Post, Times, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

• Davis will start Sunday, but Lucas Duda is still the regular starting first baseman, at least for now. Nevertheless, Saturday's homer was big for Davis, and his teammates were very happy for him, writes Kevin Kernan in the Post.

• With Mark Teixeira on the shelf again, the Yankees could use some help at first base. Maybe Davis should switch boroughs, write Anthony Rieber in Newsday.

• Manager Terry Collins won his first instant replay challenge on Sunday, and it helped set up Davis' game-winning slam. Read more in the Daily News, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

Dillon Gee was bailed out by Davis and company, and instead picked up his second no-decision in two starts this season. Read more in the Daily News.

• The Mets aren't drawing big crowds on this opening homestand, but it's not just because of the team's lack of spending in the offseason. It's also because of the high prices at Citi Field, writes Ken Davidoff in the Post.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear heartily endorses replay review and Ike Davis, provided they function as flawlessly as they did Saturday. ... Mark Berman at Blogging Mets wonders when the Mets learned how to hit home runs.

BIRTHDAYS: St. Lucie Mets pitching coach Phil Regan turns 77. ... Former infielder Andy Phillips is 37.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU'RE UP: What kind of performance do you expect from Niese on Sunday?

Collins holds court in Las Vegas

March, 15, 2014
Mar 15
5:34
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LAS VEGAS -- Holding court with the media at Las Vegas’ Cashman Field on Saturday morning, Mets manager Terry Collins recalled his days as a player and manager in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

“I’ve seen some balls six feet high go out of here,” he said.

A light-hitting career minor leaguer who played parts of six seasons for the PCL’s Albuquerque Dukes, Collins joked that the ball flies so easily out of the league’s ballparks that even he was able to hit one out once.

"I hit a home run one day in Albuquerque. They’re still talking about it," said Collins, who actually had six home runs in 2,009 career at-bats in the minors. "The other team’s manager was Rocky Bridges. When I hit it, he said, 'Oh no. Not you.'"

In all seriousness, Collins said he doesn’t think pitching in Las Vegas, New York’s Triple-A affiliate, and other PCL parks adversely affects Mets prospects.

“There’s bandboxes in the big leagues, too,” he said. “You’ve got to learn how to make pitches. It doesn’t hurt them.

“I know guys are going to hit home runs out here. If you’re hitting the ball hard, you’re going to hit home runs in the big leagues. Balls fly out of Philly just like they fly out of here. They fly out of Cincinnati just like they fly out of here.”

Collins and Sandy Alderson touched on several topics regarding Las Vegas, including the subpar facilities at the aging ballpark and the performance of 51s manager Wally Backman, who guided them to an 81-63 record and a division title last season.

Collins on the facilities: “I know they hired a new groundskeeper and the field looks absolutely great. But the issues have always been they need an indoor batting cage here when it’s 120 degrees in the summertime. They do a great job here, but the game has changed, with all the new parks around. I just hope there’s a chance one of these days there will be a new one built here.”

Alderson on the facilities: “I think the 51s would admit their facilities here aren’t ideal, with an outdoor batting cage and things of that sort. But they continue to make improvements. They have a new groundskeeper here and I think they’re moving in the right direction.”

Collins on Backman: “Wally Backman is one of the best baseball guys you can be around. He knows how to win. He’s done it. That’s been his whole life. He exudes the kind of player he was. ... Players take on the personality of the manager. If the players that leave Las Vegas take on Wally’s personality, we’re going to be better.”

Alderson on the possibility of the Mets renewing their affiliation with Las Vegas after this season: “We’ll just have to see how things develop. We didn’t anticipate being here last year, so the last thing I’m going to do is speculate about next year. But we have a good relationship with the 51s staff here and there are some positive aspects to being out here. Frankly, I think it was a nice change from Buffalo.”

Ike and Duda updates: Collins also discussed the progress of first basemen Lucas Duda and Ike Davis, who both remained in Florida to rehabilitate injuries.

“They did their morning workout, they hit, they did their ground balls. Duda is still ahead of Davis. There’s a good chance we’re going to run [Duda] on the bases tomorrow [Sunday]. We’re hoping Monday or Tuesday he’ll be in the lineup.”

The series in Metrics (Mets vs Braves)

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
7:50
PM ET
Notes from a split of the two-game series with the Atlanta Braves:

Wheeler turning in a good direction
Elias noted that Zack Wheeler became the second Mets rookie to beat the Braves three times in a season, joining Tom Seaver, who beat them four times in 1967.

Wheeler induced 14 swings-and-misses, matching his career high done twice previously (both against the Braves).

For those curious after seeing our article assessing Wheeler's pitching in report-card form, the Inside Edge grading system gave Wheeler a B. It liked his first-pitch strike rate (64 percent), but didn't like his offspeed strike rate (54 percent).

The Mets are now 9-3 in Wheeler's 12 starts. That matches the most wins in starts by the Mets for a pitcher within that pitcher's first 12 career appearances, tying Jason Isringhausen and Octavio Dotel.

Lagares' wonderful arm
Juan Lagares recorded his 11th outfield assist in Wednesday’s loss. The Mets outfield record is 19, by Rusty Staub in 1974. The most by a centerfielder is within Lagares' reach, 13 shared by Del Unser (1975) and Carlos Beltran (2006).

Satin's streak still alive
Josh Satin extended his streak of starts reaching base to 29. That's the second-longest streak of starts to start a season in Mets history, trailing only John Olerud's 57 straight to start 1999.

Nicely done for Niese
Jonathon Niese allowed one run in seven innings, striking out nine in Wednesday's no-decision. He's the first Mets lefty to strike out at least nine hitters in consecutive appearances since Johan Santana did so in 2008. Only three Mets lefties have had a streak of three straight such appearances -- Jon Matlack (twice), Sid Fernandez (three times) and Oliver Perez (once, in 2007).

Extra, Extra
The Mets have now played 17 extra-inning games and still have an outside shot at the franchise record of 25, set in 1978, when they lost 17 extra-inning games.

They now have 10 extra-inning losses, their most in a season since 2001 (when they went 10-10 in extended games). They haven't had more than 10 extra-inning defeats in a season since they had 11 in 1987.

Ike fixing his flaws
Ike Davis was 2-for-4 with a home run in Tuesday’s win, upping his batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage since his recall to .282/.448/.455 in 40 games since his recall.

Davis' most conscious change has been in his plate approach. He's gone from missing on one-third of his swings to missing only 18 percent of the time.

Davis' timing against offspeed pitches has been abundantly better.

When he was sent to the minors, Davis was 8-for-82 in at-bats that ended in an offspeed pitch (curveball, slider, or changeup). He's 16-for-54 against them since his recall, cutting his miss rate from 45 percent to 30 percent in the process.

The heat map below and the chart on the right shows how Davis has fixed the holes in his swing and covered more plate.


Believe It Or Not: Ike Davis

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
12:00
PM ET

Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today SportsShould the Mets believe in the long-term prospects of Ike Davis?

For the next three days, we’re going to write about Mets who have performed well recently, taking a closer look at their strengths and weaknesses, then get a scout’s perspective on a longer-term outlook for that player. Yesterday, we wrote about Juan Lagares Today’s piece focuses on Ike Davis.

Believe It ...
Davis’ overall body of work shows promise, though most of that came in the earliest stages of his career. In each of the last two spring trainings, Davis has impressed and flashes of that show up from time to time, like last season, when he clubbed 20 homers in 251 at-bats after the All-Star Break, and since his recall from Las Vegas, in which he has a .478 on-base percentage and a .920 OPS.

The biggest positive for Davis since his recall has been the drop in both his chase rate (how often he swings at pitches thrown out of the strike zone) and his miss rate (how often he misses on his swings).

We’ve noted those in the chart on the right.

Davis has also shown himself to be a competent, if not slightly above average defender at first base, based on advanced defensive metrics, though he’s yet to be as good as his rookie season, when he had 10 Defensive Runs Saved.

... Or Not
Davis has had not one but two bad multi-month stretches, one in each of the last two seasons. Those have been highlighted by wild swings and misses, sometimes on pitches that look like they’re going to hit him.

This recent run of success has been an odd one. His only homer during this stretch came against the Nationals in a game the Mets were winning 8-0 at the time. He does have nine doubles, but a bunch of those have been bloops rather than the potential long balls that fans grew used to seeing.

We utilize a video-review service that rates every batted ball as being either “hard-hit,” “medium-hit,” or “soft-hit” (several major league teams use either this service or others). Davis’ rate of balls hit that were classified as “hard-hit” prior to his demotion was 14.9 percent.

With an increase in performance since his return, you’d expect that number to go up a little bit, but it’s actually about the same, 14.5 percent. His season rate is 14.8 percent -- the same as New York Yankees reserve infielder Jayson Nix.

Scout’s Take
The scout we spoke to acknowledged not having seen Davis much during this hot streak, but he wasn’t sold on what he did see.

“Ike needs to reinvent himself as a hitter. I know he’s not chasing as much lately. But my concern for him is that every pitch, whether he’s taking it or at the point of contact, he never looks balanced. He can hit the ball on the screws and still look like he’s early or late. I would not bet on him lasting on that. If he can keep doing what he’s doing and have a 10-year career, God bless him.”

What do you think of Ike Davis? Share your thoughts in the comments.

The series in Metrics (Mets vs. D-backs)

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
11:56
AM ET
Notes and nuggets from another road series win for the Mets, as they took two of three games from the Arizona Diamondbacks:

Wilmer!
Wilmer Flores became the first player in Mets history to have at least one RBI in five of his first six major-league games.

He also became the second player this season to have a pair of three-RBI games within his first five career games, joining Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig.

Flores is one of eight players to have a streak of five straight games with an RBI within the first six games of his career. Only one of the other seven players is active -- Diamondbacks outfielder Gerardo Parra.

Flores is the 383rd player in Mets history to hit a home run.

Wheeler!
Zack Wheeler had the first walk-free outing of his career in earning his fifth win of the season on Saturday.

Niese did a nice job in three-ball counts, retiring four of the five hitters who got to a three-ball count against him. In his previous three starts, he’d gone to three balls on 11 hitters that he was not intentionally walking. Ten of those did end up walking.

The Mets' infield also did a nice job behind Wheeler, turning nine of the 11 ground balls he yielded into outs. Opponents are 8-for-66 (and have not reached via error) when hitting a ground ball against Wheeler this season.

Ike can do no wrong
Ike Davis was 3-for-5 with five walks in the series. He’s now 15-for-40 with 20 walks in his last 17 games.

Amazingly, Davis’ .583 on-base percentage is not the best in the majors in that span. He trails Jayson Werth and Mike Trout, each of whom are at .589.

Niese good enough
Jonathon Niese won the series finale despite allowing four runs in six innings.

If there were any concerns about Niese’s velocity, he held those off for now. His fastball averaged 89.8 mph, matching what it averaged this season, and peaked at 92 mph.

Niese had a good curveball, one that netted six outs without yielding a baserunner.

The walk-off
Paul Goldschmidt became the second Diamondbacks player to hit a walk-off homer against the Mets. The other was Steve Finley, who did so 10 years ago to the day against John Franco.

Useless stat of the series
Carlos Torres became the second pitcher in Mets history to pitch less than an inning, allow at least four baserunners, and not allow a run to score (either have his own guys score, or allow inherited runners to score). The other was Dennis Cook in 1998.

Pregame notes: Ike dropped down

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
7:27
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Ike Davis has been dropped in the order -- again.

The struggling first baseman will hit seventh on Friday against the Royals after hitting cleanup or fifth in each game he's started since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 5.

Daniel Murphy will hit fifth, while Juan Lagares moves up to No. 2.

"What Ike's been saying is true. He looks better, he's taking pitches but he's not driving in runs and I respect the fact that he's working on some things, he's trying to see pitches longer, he's trying to get a better ball to hit," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Right now we need to drive in some runs and Murph's swinging good. I always thought no matter what if it was a different situation where Ike was out, Dan Murphy's a perfect guy to hit down in that spot. He's a guy that puts the ball in play, uses the field to hit."

Davis has hit just .224 with one homer and nine RBIs since being recalled, showing slight improvement but still leaving the team yearning for more. In Thursday's 3-0 loss to Miami, Davis left five men on base in the first two innings as the Mets squandered golden opportunities.

Davis has hit seventh in the order 13 times this season as he's failed to maintain a hold on one of the premier spots in the middle of the lineup. Before being demoted in June, Davis was given a week to see if he could reclaim the cleanup spot, but he didn't do much with the chance.

With Davis batting seventh, and Murphy hitting fifth, Collins liked the way the middle portion of his lineup filled out.

"The way it is we got four guys over 50 RBIs," Collins said. "I kind of liked the way that looked."

In moving up Lagares, Collins complimented the youngster for his recent efforts.

"As I said the other day, right now he’s one of our better hitters. Especially the last two weeks. So we’re sitting there today, we're trying to figure out a way to score some runs, we said 'we've got to get this guy in the mix somewhere.' So we put him at the top of the order," Collins said. "His foot speed kind of goes there, but again, I don't want to add too much on him. He's doing just great and I want him to continue to do great."

NIESE UPDATE: Jon Niese (shoulder) will come to New York on Saturday and will likely throw a bullpen. His next rehab assignment will be in the area, according to Collins, likely with Single-A Brooklyn or Double-A Binghamton.

Niese threw four scoreless innings in a rehab start with Single-A St. Lucie on Thursday, and will need at least one more rehab start as he returns from a partial tear of his left rotator cuff.

BABY WATCH: As of approximately 3:30 p.m., Buck said his wife had not yet given birth. Buck's wife was due on Thursday.

Ike gets big hit but plans to bunt more

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
12:41
AM ET
Ike DavisElsa/Getty ImagesIke Davis did a little bit of everything in the Mets' 4-1 win over the Braves on Tuesday.
NEW YORK -- Ike Davis' roller-coaster season continued Tuesday night.

Davis went 1-for-4, including an embarrassing bunt, a strikeout with a runner on base, and grounding into a double play. But he also had the biggest hit of the night -- a double off the wall in right field in the sixth inning to break up a 1-1 tie in an eventual 4-1 Mets victory over the Braves.

He also had a double on Monday. These are his first two extra-base hits since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 5. Davis' batting average on the season is .178, but he is hitting .257 since returning to the big leagues.

"It definitely feels great to get [a hit], off a curveball, and to get the winning run across the plate," Davis said. "And to drive the ball -- I hadn’t driven the ball in a while."


"It probably means even more -- the fact that he got a pitch that he could handle, even though it was a curveball, got it up, took a good swing at it," manager Terry Collins said. "Again, these are all confidence-building things. The more confidence he gets, the more dangerous he becomes."

But Davis heard plenty of boos Tuesday night, too, particularly after his surprising bunt attempt in the bottom of the second. There was one out and no runners on base. The Braves had a shift on, so Davis tried to lay a bunt down for a base hit, but he hit it right back to the pitcher instead.

He has only five home runs on the season, but Davis hit 32 long balls in 2012. Power hitters don't normally bunt, but Davis said he plans to try doing it more this again.

"I mean, I get out a lot anyway, so might as well give it a try," Davis said, with a wry smile. "If I get it down in the right spot, it’s a hit. I’m definitely gonna try to do that more often."

"Ike’s just trying to get on base," Collins said. "And I will tell you, he’s gonna see [the shift] again, and if you wanna bunt, go ahead and bunt."

"I understand the whole philosophy of it," the manager added. "[But] it was done by him. If I ever ask Ike Davis to bunt, come down and get me."

As for the boos, Davis sounds resigned to hearing them at this point.

"The crowd gets on me no matter what," Davis said. "If I take a strike, they boo. It doesn’t really matter. It was a smart attempt. I just didn’t execute the bunt."

"I’m just going with, I’m an away player now," Davis added, chuckling, "so it doesn’t really affect me."

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Braves 1

July, 23, 2013
7/23/13
10:19
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets bounced back from a bitterly disappointing defeat the previous night, beating the Atlanta Braves 4-1 in the second game of this four-game series at Citi Field.

What it means: The Mets improve to 44-52 -- fourth place in the National League East and 10 games behind the first-place Braves (56-44). But they are only two games behind the third-place Nationals and 3½ behind the second-place Phillies. The Mets are 3-2 since the All-Star break, 11-7 in July and have won seven of their past 11.

Carlos in charge: Carlos Torres made his second start of the season and was just as good as the first time around, when he gave up one run in five innings against the Pirates on July 13.


This time, Torres gave up one run in six innings of work. Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons drove the second pitch of the game into the left-field seats to give the Braves an early 1-0 lead. But that was all the damage Torres allowed.

The Braves had a runner in scoring position in five of the first six innings, but Torres worked his way out of trouble. He threw 96 pitches, scattering seven hits, with six strikeouts and two walks. He also had an RBI single in the third inning, driving home Juan Lagares (who had doubled) to tie the game at one.

It was just the eighth major league start for the 30-year-old Torres, who was called up from Triple-A in mid-June. He was very good in 10 relief appearances, prior to these two starts. In 28⅔ innings overall, Torres has given up just three earned runs for an ERA of 0.94.

The breakthrough: Torres was rewarded for getting through that sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets broke open the game, allowing Torres to collect a win.

Daniel Murphy and David Wright hit back-to-back singles to lead off the frame. Ike Davis drove home Murphy with a double off the wall in right field, John Buck drove home Wright with a single (sending Atlanta starter Kris Medlen to the showers), and then Davis scored on a Lagares sacrifice fly.

Davis had been booed after his first two at-bats -- he attempted to bunt in the second inning and was thrown out by the pitcher and struck out with a runner on first in the fourth. But he ended up delivering the biggest hit of the ballgame. (He also hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the eighth.) Davis is now batting .178 on the season.

Lagares went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored and also threw out Jason Heyward at the plate in the first inning. He is batting .395 with 10 RBIs in 13 games in July.

The finishing touches: David Aardsma, Scott Rice, LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Parnell pitched three scoreless innings of relief to seal the victory. The Braves didn't have a single hit in innings seven through nine. For Parnell, it was his 19th save of the season after he blew the save Monday night.

What's next: The third game of the series. Jeremy Hefner (4-7, 3.93 ERA) will start for the Mets and will be opposed by Tim Hudson (7-7, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

Postgame notes: Germen to the rescue

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
7:13
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NEW YORK --Gonzalez Germen is pitching his way to a lengthier stay in Flushing.

Germen was credited with a win Saturday after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning of the Mets' 5-4 win over the Phillies. Germen came in after Zack Wheeler departed and struck out Delmon Young to end the frame with the Mets still ahead, 3-2.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't be using him a little bit more. Very impressive," manager Terry Collins said. "As we look at the big picture things, he's got a great arm, he's a young guy, and one of the things we talked about in spring training was we needed to find some relief down the road and it looks like he might be one of the guys who steps up and takes those jobs."

The Mets first called up Germen on July 2, but he did not make an appearance before being demoted three days later. The Mets called him up again on July 9, seemingly just as a placeholder until injured infielder Justin Turner was ready, but Germen is doing his best to make sure he sticks around when Turner returns next week.

Germen has inherited the bases loaded twice this year, and he's stranded the runners both times. He threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings Saturday, helping out a bullpen that has thrown 12 1/3 innings in the first two games after the All-Star break.

"Bases loaded, two outs, I throw strike first time, every time because bases loaded, I can't make a mistake," Germen said.

IKE SITS AGAIN: Since Ike Davis returned from Triple-A on July 5, he has yet to start in three games against left-handers, including Saturday against Cole Hamels. Davis, who is 7-for-30 since coming back, will likely be benched Sunday against All-Star lefty Cliff Lee as well.

"You want to play every day obviously. It's not my decision to write the lineup so I can't really, you know, say anything," said Davis, who worked a walk as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning Saturday. "Terry has to make the lineup he thinks has a better chance for the team to win."

BIG DAY FOR E.Y.: Eric Young Jr. better make sure he gets a proper rest every night. He's going to need it.

"E.Y. is a guy that right now is so valuable to us at the top of the order I don't see in the near future where he's going to get a chance to rest," Collins said.

Collins praised Young after he went 1-for-4 and manufactured a run in the fifth inning Saturday. After a leadoff single, Young stole second base, went to third on a long flyout by Daniel Murphy, and scored on David Wright's RBI single to put the Mets ahead 4-2.

The manager added that Young provides speed at the top of the lineup, which the team has been missing since Jose Reyes left prior to last season.

"Like I said, it's all I can ask for, getting the opportunity I am. I'm looking to have my name in there every day," Young said. "If (Collins) is going to make a statement like that, then I have no complaints."

Collins explains Satin starting over Ike

July, 20, 2013
7/20/13
12:58
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NEW YORK -- Josh Satin will start Saturday against Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels, and manager Terry Collins all but said Satin will be back in the lineup Sunday against southpaw Cliff Lee.

Ike Davis will be on the bench, as the team continues to utilize a platoon. Satin will now have started over Davis in each of the Mets' three games against lefties since Davis returned to the big leagues on July 5.

"Josh Satin, I just looked up some numbers this morning, he's hitting .450 against left-handed pitching. He's going to play against left-handed pitching," Collins said. "Starting Monday we've got three right-handers coming up with the Braves, (I'll) get Ike back out there. [Satin] has earned a chance to play against lefties. So we're going to play him."

Davis has been awful against left-handers this year, hitting .158 with one homer and four RBIs and slugging just .228.

Satin, meanwhile, has crushed lefties, with a .448 batting average and a 1.233 OPS. Since Davis returned to the Mets, Satin has hit .364 in 11 at-bats, while Davis is batting .233 (7-for-30).

"Certainly (in) Ike's case you'd like to get him out there every day to see what he can do. The testing ground was the first half," Collins said. "We came out of the first half playing very well. One of the things we did in the last couple of weeks in the first half -- Josh Satin did a tremendous job for us. I think it's somewhat unfair to Josh Satin and he would understand it.

"Hey, look, this guy killed left-handed pitching. He's got two positions he can play, first and third. I'm not going to take the third baseman out just yet."

Davis should be back in the lineup Monday when the Mets begin a four-game series against the Braves. Atlanta will throw righties Julio Teheran, Kris Medlen and Tim Hudson before lefty Paul Maholm starts Thursday's series finale. Davis hasn't hit righties well either, although his .176 average is better than his average against lefties.

"Ike's going to have to continue to work and work hard. Today he may get a pinch-hit, he may get in the game, he may get two or three at-bats like what happened yesterday with other guys," Collins said. "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, here's your chance to step up and show everybody you are the first baseman."

BUCK BACK SUNDAY: Collins reiterated that he plans to start John Buck on Sunday in the series finale, which would allow Buck to catch Matt Harvey. Buck suffered a cramp Friday and is out of the lineup Saturday.

Second half: Five reasons NOT to watch

July, 17, 2013
7/17/13
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Gonzalez Germen AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarThe 2013 Mets? They're not exactly world-beaters.
Five reasons for Mets pessimism in the second half of the season:

1. They’re just not that good: Any talk of a .500 finish or delusions of a chase for the second wild card or the NL East lead is silly when you look at the overall body of work: a 41-50 record and a place in the standings closer to last place than either of the postseason targets.

Sure, the Mets may be better than the Milwaukee Brewers and able to hang with the San Francisco Giants, but a truer indicator of where they currently stand was apparent in the 3-4 homestand against the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks.

The offense is bound to return to the struggles of April through June, and the bullpen is too inconsistent to support the team’s starting pitching efforts.

2. Ike: For the second straight season, Ike Davis' first half was a total washout.

The Mets played significantly better without Davis being the automatic out that he was while he was in Las Vegas, and the time there doesn’t appear to have changed his bad habits just yet.

Davis had three hits in his first game back in the big leagues, but is an ugly 2-for-21 (.095) with six strikeouts and two double plays since then.

If this keeps up, his value not just as an every-day player but as a trade chip will be nil.

There’s still quite a lot to fix with Davis’ approach. And the only reason for optimism you can point to is his second half in 2012.

3. Regression to the mean: For all the good that has come from the likes of Eric Young Jr., Josh Satin and Carlos Torres in the last month, the likelihood is that they won’t be able to sustain this level of success.

Before joining the Mets, Young was a .211/.290/.286 slashline away from Coors Field. Satin’s major league equivalencies don’t suggest he’ll be as good as he’s been. Torres had a 5.97 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in the first 95 innings of his career.

As much as we’d like to believe all three have turned a corner in their careers, the likelihood is that the luster will wear off.

4. Financial questions: The Mets say they will be active in the player acquisition market this offseason, but no one is going to believe that until their actions speak louder than words.

There are questions as to what the payroll will be in 2014 and beyond (as writer Howard Megdal has pointed out, ownership has to make good on some accumulated debts).

The Mets have clear needs that may be even greater if Davis and Ruben Tejada don’t show themselves to be worth something in these next few months. There will be a clamoring to fill those needs with the likes of a Carlos Gonzalez, Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury, but there are doubts they will step up and make such a move.

5. They’re so Mets! The post-2006 Mets have always found a way to build you up and then let you down. First came the collapses of 2007 and 2008. Then disappointments like Oliver Perez and Jason Bay. The team’s backward thinking resulted in a ballpark that no hitter wanted to go near. And Bernie Madoff robbed the team of the ability to spend its way out of trouble.

There seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with the likes of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler here, and Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud on the way.

But as a fan, I’m sure you’re sitting there thinking: What’s the next shoe to drop in the Mets' mess?

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.295 8 42 62
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 19
RBIL. Duda 60
RD. Murphy 62
OPSL. Duda .864
WB. Colon 10
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 125