There was lots of good will to go around Citi Field on Opening Day. And with good reason, as the Mets opened their season superbly. Just about everyone that saw the field contributed.
However, there were two large figures that were mostly missing – Ike Davis, and to a lesser extent, Lucas Duda. Davis went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts, while Duda was 0-for-2 with two walks and a strikeout. Both were the only two starters to go hitless, and although just one game, Davis’ four strikeouts were all too reminiscent of his start to the 2012 season.
But this isn’t in any way to pick on Davis and Duda. This was just one game, and is in no way indicative of how their 2013 numbers will look at season’s end. Instead, this is about how important they are going to be to this team, and how their success will go a long way toward determining the Mets success this year.
The Mets certainly do not look like an offensive powerhouse on paper. After David Wright, Daniel Murphy and hopefully Davis, there aren’t a whole lot of established offensive numbers. And the pitching staff is extraordinarily young. Extraordinarily exciting, yes, but also young.
The Mets are going to need the likes of Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee to take the next step. And how’s this for unnecessary pressure. I think most Mets’ fans are already talking like Zach Wheeler is an established, successful part of the rotation when in fact he isn’t even on the team yet.
In other words, the Mets aren’t going to win a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 games. This pitching staff and bullpen are going to need offense.
That’s where Davis and Duda come in. Much of the Mets’ lineup is also unestablished You don’t know what you are going to get out of the likes of Colin Cowgill and John Buck. Really, David Wright is the only Met with established credentials. No one knows if Murphy will be able to stay healthy the team is riding a hot bat in Marlon Byrd, and Ruben Tejada is coming off an awful spring.
I like Murphy and Tejada, and I also think Byrd was a great addition, you just can’t expect them to carry the team. It’s asking too much. Which is why Davis and Duda need to take the next step. A big season out of both would do so much toward solidifying the middle of the order. In addition, it would take the pressure off a young rotation and not force this team to ask the likes of Colin Cowgill to do too much.
Cowgill is a great find and has potential. But the Mets can’t expect four RBIs out of him nightly. This team isn’t good enough to have any gaping holes in its lineup.
Davis showed great promise in 2010, battled an injury-riddled 2011, and then started absurdly slowly in 2012 before finishing at .227-32-90. Ike needs to put together a complete season, batting average and all.
It was in 2011 that Duda showed great promise (.301-10-50) in only 100 games before falling off to .239-15-57 in 121 games last year.
This year needs to be their year. It’s time.