Jun 22

Yankees Represent Challenge For Lucas Duda and Ike Davis

There are several things I’d like to see happen for the Mets this weekend. If recent history is any indicator, they will be swept by the Yankees. Trading sweeps is not a way to make the kind of progress Terry Collins needs.

We’ve seen it before with the Mets. They’d come into the Yankees’ series on a roll and get dumped on. And, at home, too. That needs to stop, and here’s what we need to see.

* With the Yankees throwing left handers Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia, Ike Davis and Lucas Duda (tight hammy) need to have a good series. Raking would be nice, but don’t get stuffed. It is easy to envision them getting shut down, but their development requires standing in against tough lefties.

* The bullpen bridge to Frank Francisco must produce. And, the sometimes shaky closer needs to show his mettle. Of course, the best thing would be to get quality innings from the starters.

* The RA Dickey success is no fluke, but the Yankees have a way of cutting down hot pitchers a notch. A strong game on national TV Sunday night against Sabathia would be a great way to start a long road trip.

There are other things I’d like to see, but if the Mets produce the above three, it should be a successful weekend.

ON DECK: Interleague play.

Jun 15

Mets’ Lineup Tonight Against Reds

The Mets, losers of six of seven before their sweep of Tampa Bay, will attempt  to stay on their roll tonight against Cincinnati at Citi Field. Here’s tonight’s lineup against the Reds:

Kirk Nieuwenhuis – CF

Daniel Murphy – 2B

David Wright – 3B

Lucas Duda – RF

Ike Davis – 1B

Jason Bay – LF

Josh Thole – C

Omar Quintanilla – SS

Dillon Gee – RHP

LINEUP COMMENTS: Glad to see Terry Collins sticking with Kirk Neiuwenhuis instead of sending him to the bench. Collins must stay with Jason Bay for now since he had a few hits the other day. If Bay get hot, it might be a good idea to slot him between Lucas Duda and Ike Davis.

Jun 13

Terry Collins Named To NL All-Star Squad

Terry Collins’ solid managing was rewarded this afternoon when National League All-Star manager Tony La Russa named Collins to his staff. It is a well-deserved honor for Collins, and also a testament of how others recognize the Mets are making positive strides.

Considering their pitching questions entering the season, including the physical status of Johan Santana, and a patchwork bullpen, and a list of injuries that encompassed David Wright, Jason Bay, Andres Torres, Ruben Tejada, and nagging slumps of Bay and Ike Davis, there’s a lot that’s happened to this team.

And considering what has gone on with this team, nobody could expect four games over .500. Have the Mets survived their slide? I don’t know, but Collins  has them playing aggressive, alert baseball and instilled a confidence that insists they won’t be pushed around.

“I’ve known and respected him for years,” La Russa said. “But I think the job he’s done last year, with nobody had more adversity than that, and he kept the club competing. And he’s doing it again this year.

“I just think you need to recognize when somebody is handling a ballclub and day in and day out there’s no difference in how they compete. If the starters are hurt, they still keep competing, and he keeps getting contributions. I think it’s a well-deserved honor.”There will remain dry stretches and lulls, but Collins has the Mets playing with a sense of purpose that has the rest of the league watching.

Aside from Collins, two Mets figure to be named to La Russa’s team should they continue at their current paces. I would think Wright would get on with the fan vote and R.A. Dickey should be appointed to the staff.

Here’s tonight’s lineup behind Dickey:

Andres Torres, cf

Daniel Murphy, 2b

David Wright, 3b

Scott Hairston, rf

Jason Bay, lf

Vinny Rottino, dh

Ike Davis, 1b

Mike Nickeas, c

Omar Quintanilla, ss

R.A. Dickey, rhp

Jun 10

Mets, Ike Davis Hitting Skids

It wasn’t that long ago that the Mets were seven games over .500 and a mere half-game out of first place. However, things change quickly when a team loses five of six games.

I mentioned several times during the Mets’ good start that consistency was essential. Get to .500; win series, two of three; avoid losing streaks; keep applying pressure and not getting down when tripped up.

After a good stretch that included winning three straight from St. Louis and getting the franchise’s first no-hitter, the Mets let one get away from the Cardinals, were handled by the Nationals, and lost the first two games of their series against the Yankees.

After Yankee Stadium, it’s three at Tampa Bay and back home to Cincinnati. It’s not getting any easier.

I mention this because every season has its lulls and spurts. Too many times in recent seasons we’ve seen the Mets reel off five, six games in a row. Didn’t they do ten one year? However, because of a lack of pitching or timely hitting they’d turn around and drop five or six. It’s like running in place.

The Mets have made positive strides this season, but to take the next step and make a serious run, they must develop consistency,

A good place to start is always pitching, but for the most part the pitching has been good. Right now, one of their first priorities is to get Ike Davis going. Of all the regular position players in the majors, his average is second worst.

So far, the Mets have eschewed the move of maintenance in the minor leagues. That could change after this road trip.

 

Jun 05

Trying To Figure Out Ike Davis

I remember when Ike Davis first came up to the Mets. His plate presence was praised. He would regularly take the outside pitch – breaking balls, too – to left field. He was strong as a bull, and the thinking was the power would eventually come.

You don’t hear that kind of talk much anymore.

He seems to be chasing everything, especially low-and-away junk with the intent to pull. Can you remember the last time he went the other way with a pitch?

With Davis’ impatience, there’s no reason for any pitcher to throw him a fastball, especially on the inner half of the plate.

There was talk earlier about possibly sending Davis to the minors to work out his problem. Initially, I was against this because the Mets didn’t have a first base alternative. They still don’t have, but Justin Turner could make do for a week or so.

The topic came up again this week, but Davis, whom I had the impression was a total team guy, said he didn’t think the minors were a good idea, claiming he had to learn to hit on this level. It wasn’t quite the response I was hoping for from Davis.

I would like to think if the Mets decided Davis needed a respite in the minors that he’d accept it and not go all Oliver Perez on us. I believe Davis will eventually find it and I’m leaning more and more to thinking if that’s in Buffalo, then so be it.

If nothing else, he’ll be able to get some killer wings.