Las Vegas, I learned in grade school geography and reinforced by the movie “Casino,’’ is located in the desert, and when lost in the desert one can fall victim to a mirage. Surely, the New York Mets know this, too, and should not be seduced by the mirage of Ike Davis hitting back-to-back two-homer games.
Davis, once considered part of the Mets’ core, is in Vegas gambling he still has a major league future. He and the Mets are encouraged he’s riding a five-game hitting streak where he is 9-for-16 with four homers and seven RBI. Overall, in 11 games, he is hitting .333 with a .480 on-base percentage.
Good, but not good enough, and the Mets would be foolish to fall for the mirage Davis is now a major league hitter. Eleven games means nothing; he needs more than double that amount, perhaps triple it, to prove he’s ready.
It’s still not enough, as Davis’ problems aren’t just mechanical, but mental. His approach is wrong, and I am afraid the four homers will underscore Davis’ problem in bold.
“I am a home run hitter. I like to hit home runs,’’ Davis said this spring. “Strikeouts come with that.’’
It was a faulty answer this spring and it is just as bad now. Davis’ most impressive statistic is seven walks, but in 39 at-bats, Davis has nine strikeouts, so you tell me what he’s learned.
Davis needs to forget about pulling the ball and hitting home runs. He must concentrate on working the count, shortening his swing and using the entire field. Once he’s capable of doing that, then he’ll be putting the ball in play more and consequently his home runs and run production will increase.
That’s the approach Davis must learn, and emphasize to Backman it is something ingrained in him. If he can’t do that, then he’ll come back to the Mets and fall into the same old habits.
The Mets warned not to be discouraged by Zack Wheeler’s numbers because they are skewed by the conditions of the desert. The ball flies in the Pacific Coast League. By the same logic, shouldn’t we also consider Davis’ numbers with skepticism?
The sampling of Davis’ work is too small to make the determination he’s ready to come back. This is no time for the Mets to be fooled again.
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