Despite Ike Davis starting on Thursday night against the Braves and starter David Hale, Terry Collins insists that Lucas Duda is still the starting first baseman and will continue to get the bulk of the playing time.
“We made a decision and you don’t have much credibility if you keep changing your mind every other day because somebody goes 2-for-4,” Collins said before the game.
“We’re not going to do that. I told Ike the other day he’s going to play (last night); matter of fact, he came in to make sure he was in the lineup (Thursday night). I said, ‘Hey, I told you you’re going to play, you’re going to play.’”
Duda has struggled since being named the starter, but did single as a pinch hitter last night to raise his average to .217 after entering the game with a .182 average and .705 OPS in 24 plate appearances this season.
On the flip side, Davis went 0-for-3 with a walk on Thursday, although he had some very good at-bats and looks better at the plate of late.
I think Collins is just doing what he can with a situation that was plopped into his lap by the front office. After Sandy Alderson targeted first base as his top priority, said he had seen enough to make an appropriate evaluation and to expect a radical change, and then failing to resolve anything, what we have is this… Whatever this is.
Last season, Mets first baseman produced a league worst .234/.353/.368 batting line, and so far this season they’ve produced even worse delivering a .188/.297/.406 slash.
Yesterday, Maggie Wiggin of MetsBlog offered her analysis of the situation and wrote:
Mets first basemen have a .730 OPS, which ranks 16 out of the 30 MLB teams. They are also in the middle of the pack in home runs, runs scored and RBI. Duda alone would rank similarly, with his .773 OPS coming in at No. 13 among starting first baseman in baseball.
However, I believe she’s including pinch-hitting production which does skew the numbers considerably, and if you were to look at wOBA or wRC+, which I feel are better measures especially if we’re doing small samples, you’ll be able to better see that first base production is still league worst much as it was last season.
Compounding the issue further is the fact that we still have Josh Satin languishing on the bench. He’s actually the one first baseman the Mets have that would be All-World against lefthanded pitching. But the platoon we all thought was coming never materialized and he’s been an odd fit. In fact, on Wednesday, with a righthander on the mound, Collins chose to pinch-hit the righty Satin rather than Davis who was also on the bench. Satin struck out. That’s not exactly a case of Collins setting up Satin to succeed – or the Mets for that matter.
There really seems to be no rhyme or reason to what the Mets are doing here. They’re just flying by the seats of their pants.
On a side note – Jose Abreu – remember him? Well through his first ten major league games, the 27-year-old Cuban has an AL-best 14 RBIs and seven extra base hits among his 12 hits overall, the most recent of which were his two home runs last night, giving him four for the season. He is batting .300/.383/.725 and has played every game at first base and not DH where so-called experts pigeon-holed him in the days leading up to his signing. Abreu has already become a folk hero when earlier this week he ripped a foul ball that literally had the cover torn off in mid flight. Life imitating art.
So as the Mets get set for a weekend series at Anaheim, the scene of that notorious 3:00 AM axing six years ago, prepare yourselves to get treated to more of the Lucas Duda and Ike Davis show with the exception of tonight because wouldn’t you know it, Josh Satin is expected to get the start.
Lets Go Mets!