If the Mets are to beat Cliff Lee tonight – the second Phillies’ ace in as many nights – they’ll have to do it without Ike Davis.
Davis is struggling out of the gate, hitting .148 with one homer and showing no signs of breaking out. He’s on the way of repeating last spring, which morphed into a miserable first half.
DAVIS: Haven’t seen much of this lately.
“I don’t know if I can say I am better for going through that,’’ Davis said during spring training. “But, you do learn that eventually you’ll come out of it. That’s what happened to me.’’
Davis had strong second half to finish with 32 homers; that’s what gives him confidence now.
Tonight is as good a night as any to give Davis a break as he is 1-for-11 with four strikeouts in his career against Lee.
It was suggested in this column earlier today that if Terry Collins needed to adjust his lineup he might consider dropping Daniel Murphy to third and David Wright to fourth.
Instead, Collins chose to keep Murphy and Wright in their respective, two-three, slots and play Justin Turner at first base and insert hot-hitting catcher John Buck in the clean-up spot.
It is premature to say Davis is evolving into a left-handed hitting Dave Kingman, but there are signs he is not far off, such as 10 strikeouts to only four hits this year in only 27 at-bats this year. For his career, Davis has 320 strikeouts to 154 walks and 299 hits.
“I like to him home runs,’’ Davis said when asked if he considered changing his approach. “I’m going to strike out.’’
The Mets are seeking their fourth straight victory tonight behind Dillon Gee, who is coming off a masterful performance last week in a 2-1 loss to San Diego in which gave up a run on three hits in 6.1 innings.
Gee’s changeup was especially good that day, and must be so again tonight as he is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA in four games against the Phillies.
Here’s tonight’s lineup:
Collin Cowgill, CF: Struggling at .176 with two homers and five RBI, with most of it on his Opening Day slam. Hitless in two at-bats Monday.
Daniel Murphy, 2B: Has eight hits, five for extra bases. Was 5-for-16 with two doubles off Lee last year. Is riding an eight-game hitting streak in Philadelphia, going 12-for-36.
David Wright, 3B: Including two hits and an RBI Monday, has hit .413 in his last 19 games in Philadelphia.
John Buck, C: His 12 RBI is a club record through the first seven games of a season. Lifetime is a .292 hitter with three homers against Lee. Said Buck: “The key is I just feel good and I’m not trying to do too much.’’
Marlon Byrd, RF: Hitting .278, but .375 with runners in scoring position.
Lucas Duda, LF: With Davis sitting, Collins wisely chose not to move Duda, instead giving him more time to learn the outfield.
Justin Turner, 1B: Starting for Davis. Turner had three hits in his first start of the season, April 4, vs. San Diego.
Ruben Tejada, SS: In both fielding (four errors) and hitting (.211) slumps.
Dillon Gee, RHP: Has gone at least five innings in 47 of 50 career starts.
I will have another post following tonight’s game.
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