We Like[d] Ike!
Ike Davis gives me headaches. I throw on the Mets game after a friend told me what Kung Fo Panda just did. After watching Dillon Gee struggle, I get to watch Ike Davis strike out looking with the bases load in the 8th inning against the San Francisco Giants. The Mets would lose 7-2.
After striking out, Davis properly mutters something he shouldn’t have, and throws his bat like an underhand toss. He un-straps his batting gloves and proceeds to look up to the sky as if the answers lie there. But the answers lie in his attitude at the plate.
Ever since being called up, Davis has developed this bad-boy reputation that is starting to shape his character. The typical called third strike routine from Davis goes as follows: his knees bend and he leans back, he mutters something, and then proceeds to the bench. Every Mets fan has the routine down by now. And as Mets fans, our patience is starting to run out.
Ike Davis has received some brutal calls from umpires this series. Below are Pitch F/x maps from Brooks Baseball, which help map out the strikes and balls by a pitcher. This is Ike Davis’ at-bat against Tim Lincecum:
The chart is from game 1 of the doubleheader on Monday; an 8-pitch at-bat where Lincecum struck out Davis. If you look at pitch #5, the pitch is well off the plate. Compared with pitch #3, which was called a ball, pitch #5 seems to be in the same proximity off the plate, just not as high.
But Ike hurts himself when he has the power in his own hands.
One of his biggest problems this year is his ability to layoff the stuff in the dirt. If you remember in the Atlanta opening series (and the whole year), teams have been throwing lazy slides and curves away and in the dirt to get Davis to chase. Pitch #7 is probably pretty close to the dirt and Ike’s poor patience at the plate is starting to be observed under the microscope.
Here’s a strikeout from Saturday’s game, against Ryan Vogelsong:
Another pitch well off the plate, called for strike 1. He’s then beat down the pipe. Strike 3.
And here’s the strikeout that ended the 8th inning rally, this time against Clay Hensley:
In this final strikezone plot, we see three balls that were either called strikes or were fouled off. Pitch #7 was the called looking strike 3, which ended any chance the Mets had. Pitches #1, #2, and #4 are all questionable strikes, which Ike either fouled off or got caught looking.
If this is evidence on how umpires will call Ike Davis, he could be spiraling down faster than we thought. By umpires calling more strikes, Davis’ already bad tendencies could increase, causing more swings and misses. His slash so far in 14 games in .148/.207/.315, not exactly what you are looking for out of your cleanup hitter. Adam Dunn might have a new partner in exile.
And as painful it is to watch Davis struggle, he has to learn on the job and put the struggles behind him. It’s a lot harder to say than do, but it must be done. I think Mets fans put a lot of hype behind Davis after a solid rookie campaign and a hot start last year. Personally, I was coming up nicknames for the tandem of Davis and Lucas Duda (Double D’s/Dynamic Dudo’s), but have been too embarrassed to show them off. I think the main problem is Ike has zero patience at the plate, which causes a lot of first pitch swings and misses. He also has not been using the whole field, as he rolls over many of his pitches, hitting the lazy grounder to first or second.
Most importantly, his attitude is not where it’s supposed to be. When SNY zooms in during an at-bat, Davis is caught muttering something back to the umpire. Usually it involves a questionable call, but after a strikeout, Ike really lets the crowd know his frustration. While this slump is the worst of Davis’ career, baseball players were always taught act professionally, even in little league. Since Ike’s debut in 2010, we have seen his youthful attitude mixed with really dark times. He’s earning a reputation that a cornerstone in a franchise should not have.
The Mets now sit at .500 with a record of 8-8. A .500 record without consistent production from Ike Davis and Lucas Duda isn’t bad at all. I’ll keep monitoring the Davis situation closely. I’m starting to think he might need something to get away from the team. Maybe a trip to Buffalo wouldn’t be the worst idea?
Also, I’m trying to incorporate more Sabermetrics into writing, so this is my first shot using Pitch f/x. I know it’s primarily used for pitchers, but I feel that you get what I’m saying with the bad calls.
The solution is already in play. We should be seeing a platoon anyday now.
PLUS …if he were to be sent down, now is the PERFECT time. early in the season, pressure off. 2 yrs ago same thing. He earned his ML spot but haed to wait to come up. Last yr was an aberation..now he is a rookie again, but feeling alot of pressure. He’ll be fine.
Guy was out since early last year so he has catching up to do. Don’t recall him being this pissy but it’s starting to get people to think him a jerk, so he needs to tone it down. At least, you know, until he actually hits on a regular basis.
Has nothing to do with his disgusting mechanics to start the season.
My early concern with Ike Davis stems more from the mechanical changes he’s made at the plate – to the point where it’s a bit more than just a standard “slump”.
The sooner he stops lunging, and making contact way out in front – the better. Ike needs to get his hands set, and let the ball get much deeper than where he’s been connecting.
He’s always had a lot of movement to his trigger and stride, but in the early goings of 2012 – he’s looked extra awkward in how he’s approaching stepping into the box. It’s almost like he’s got a “cocky-softball player” stance going, and it’s showed in the kind of AB’s he’s taken vs. Major League repertoires.
Looked a little bit better in his later AB’s last night, but still didn’t “sting it” the way he should be if going well. Baby steps at this point…….mindframe and mechanics.
I’d say he needs to get himself comfortable again, and that starts with 86-ing the crazy “cello-player” hand placement he’s starting off with these days. He’s never started out that way, and is developing some bad habits as a result.
Get back to what works for you, keep it simple – and go from there. Hopefully, Hudgens has gotten to the point where he already drove home what needs to happen; and that Ike gets himself into a mental state where it carries itself out.