From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET
NEW YORK METS: Ike Davis Breaks Out in a Different Kind of Fever in the Arizona Desert.
Return to Sender; Ailment Unknown.... If that sounds like it could have once been a collaboration between Elvis Presley and the Mets' medical staff, then the joke is on us. With the team doctors' recent history of either indecision, or just plain getting things horribly wrong, then diagnosing something no one ever heard of before, then hoping for the best, seems like a new tactic in practice to me. I'm sorry. Was that unfair, or worse, inaccurate? Then let's say that was just a little shot across the bow to remind the powers that be, I haven't forgotten about the guys with the stethoscopes. I do not want to speak for the fans.
But Ike Davis' batting average still leaves fans pondering whether he is over the effects of that desert fever contracted earlier this year. Me? I want to convince myself his current .218 batting average is an ugly number more representative of the Mets' overall problems, and not necessarily Ike Davis' own struggles negotiating the Mendoza Line, much less an alien cache of symptoms. He's got those long arms he must unfold before generating his swing. So if his timing is not (even-)more in tune than the next guy's, Ike will suffer greatly. Or did we forget his prolonged absence from the game due to that freak "pedal" injury? If he has taught us anything now, it is when Ike has his timing down, gets extension and connects - Look Out!
Since June, he's been inching away from the infamous Mendoza Line of demarcation which separates the bad hitters from even worse hitters. It's been a slow process for Ike. But his power stroke is without a doubt, in full effect again. And that makes fans forget a lot. But if timing is everything for him at the plate, then it is Ike and the Mets who now find themselves out of sync. The team played well in the first half largely minus any production from Ike Davis. Now that the first baseman is cranking up his game, it is the Mets who are floundering. Just how much a resurgent Ike Davis can compensate for the present lack of pitching which carried the Mets in the first half, desperately remains to be seen. If Jason Bay can only, and I do mean only, put forth a representative effort, and Lucas Duda can return and contribute, then I'd say...maybe, just maybe, outscoring teams could be one way to get Wild. But at this point, why bother digressing into that?
Saturday night, Ike's bat scoffed over any perceived effects from an ailment that bares the Arizona desert's name. But even before last night's personal fireworks show among the cacti, Ike Davis' season was already shaping up. He spent all of April, May, and twenty-eight days in June batting below the .200 mark. On June 27th, he finally broke through the Mendoza Line, and went home sporting a .201 batting average. He dipped again. Then on the last day of June, he went 2 for 4 to end the month with a .203 mark. Also on that June 30th game against the Dodgers, he hit his eleventh home run of the season. For the month of June, he batted .264, hit six home runs, and totalled a significant twenty-four RBI.
July comes to a close this Tuesday. In this month, he is batting at a .256 clip. His RBI are down from June. He has fifteen so far. But his home runs are up. Ike has nine in July, with three monsters coming last night. Of his twenty-one hits, twelve have been for extra-bases. For the season, Ike now has twenty home runs, and sixty RBI, with sixty-one games left to play. If you dabbled in the "What Ifs" in life, his numbers would astound. And to think, the Mets (or was it the fans; or was it the Media?) thought Ike should perhaps be sent to Buffalo for a refresher course. Again, I digress.
As the Mets are currently on the road, somewhere off in a quiet room among the empty hallways of Citi Field's offices, a doctor may lurk wiping his brow in relief for averting something his textbooks never taught him about. Good thing for us, Ike Davis is a self-healer. One thousand two hundred and seventy-four feet of self-administered home runs worked like a charm. The antibiotic turned out to be Arizona itself. Go figure.
Ike Davis became the ninth Met in history to hit three home runs in one game. In my experience, I think only Dave Kingman (1976) can rival the cumulative distances each baseball travelled. Although, Darryl Strawberry (1985) might have something to say about that.