Ike Davis’s Day Off

2013 MLB Predicted Standings, Award Winners, Ballparks, Books, Cy Young Award, Fantasy/Roto, Games, History, Management, Media, Paul Lebowitz's 2013 Baseball Guide, Players, Stats

It’s like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, only with beer.

There were numerous reasons to give Ike Davis a night off against the Phillies last night. That he’s batting .148 and Cliff Lee was pitching for the Phillies were the two most prominent and viable, but none were good enough to justify the decision. Davis needs to play every day and he needs to play against the toughest pitchers, righty or lefty. His slow starts have become customary now and he already struggles against lefty pitchers (.214/.277/.364 career slash line and 1 for 11 vs. Lee). If the Mets had a veteran righty bat to replace him or even someone nondescript and limited like Juan Uribe who happens to hammer Lee, then sitting him down for a night made sense. In Davis’s place, however, the Mets played Justin Turner who: A) is a journeyman utility player; B) is not a first baseman; and C) before last night was 0 for 10 against Lee with one walk and one hit by pitch. Was this a better option than playing Davis and hoping he’d catch a Lee fastball and hit it out of a park in which many fly balls wind up being homers?

Davis is a George Brett/David Cone type of happy-go-lucky who enjoys big league life, has a big chaw of tobacco in his cheek like an old-school big leaguer, likes his nightlife and maintains a constant mischievous, carefree look on his face. The worst thing to do with a player like this is to give him days off. Were they afraid that facing Lee would put him into a slump? He’s already in a slump. Hitting against good pitching is a positive. Perhaps facing a Cy Young Award winner against whom nothing was expected from him would’ve relaxed Davis into getting a couple of hits and put him back on the right track.

Barring a tweak or slight malady, there’s no reason for the 26-year-old, 6’4”, 230 pound Davis to need a day off one week into the season to give him a break or otherwise. If the Mets want him to have a pseudo-break, they can DH him when they’re playing in AL parks starting this weekend in Minnesota. The night off was a silly decision made even more absurd by the fact that they don’t have a legitimate backup first baseman to replace him and it probably won’t do any more good to break him out of his slump than just putting him in the lineup and rolling the dice against Lee. The odds are he wouldn’t have done much more against Lee than the overall Mets lineup did, but at least he’d have had a better shot than Turner. That, more than anything, was why he should’ve been playing and should be playing from now on for the rest of the season with a day off given if he really needs it, not to shield him from a great pitcher.

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2 thoughts on “Ike Davis’s Day Off

  1. Justin Turner would be fine if Terry wasn’t so madly in love with the guy that he imagines Turner to have abilities he really doesn’t have — like being able to play first base or hit lefties. Reverse platoon splits, Terry! I find it hard to believe that nobody has told him about this; Terry just doesn’t care, because love is just that irrational.

    If it had been Zach Lutz subbing in for Ike against a tough lefty, that would have been something else entirely; Lutz can play first base and hit lefties. But mostly, I agree, if you’ve got a big bopper in your lineup, keep his butt in there. Dusty Baker wouldn’t bench Joey Votto against Cliff Lee, would he?

    1. I really think people tend to overrate Ike. He’s a good fielder and will hit 30 homers if he’s in there every day, but he’s not a home run champion and his streakiness is only mitigated by his ability to hit the ball out of the park at any time. If it was Randy Johnson pitching, I’d say load up the lineup with righties and give the lefties their reprieve. Lee, as great as he is, doesn’t scare people as Johnson did. There was no reason to bench Ike, period and when he’s replaced by Turner? No way.

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