Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why The Ike Davis Decision Must Be Made By Thursday

As Chumbawamba once sang, "Ike gets knocked down, will he get up again?"

It's no secret that Ike Davis' hold on the everyday first baseman's job is in serious jeopardy.  In 137 at-bats this season, Davis is the owner of a .161 batting average and .218 on-base percentage.  That's nowhere near the production expected of a starting first baseman.  In fact, it's more in line with R.A. Dickey's career numbers at the plate.  (Dickey has a .191 batting average and .221 on-base percentage over 131 lifetime at-bats.)

But if the Mets are going to make a decision on whether or not to demote Davis to the minor leagues, they should do it before the team returns to Citi Field on Thursday.  A quick look at the home/road splits will explain the urgency behind this decision.

While wearing his road grays in 2012, Ike Davis has batted .240 (18-for-75) with a .288 on-base percentage.  Although those numbers aren't great, they're not worthy of a demotion.  In fact, despite Davis' season-long slump, his slugging percentage on the road (.488) is actually higher than the .460 career mark he posted through 2011.  (All of his team-leading five home runs in 2012 have come on the road.)  But his home numbers tell another story.

In 20 games at Citi Field this year (17 starts), Davis is batting .065.  That's ZERO-six-five.  Davis has collected four hits in 62 at-bats at home.  By comparison, Ruben Tejada also collected four hits at Citi Field ... on April 8 alone!

In addition to his poor batting average, Davis also has a .134 on-base percentage and a .081 slugging percentage at Citi Field.  In Davis' defense, his .065/.134/.081 line is quite similar to that of another long-time Met.  Of course, that long-time Met was Al Leiter.  (In 394 at-bats with the Mets, Leiter fashioned a .084/.145/.107 line.)

So why should the Mets make their decision on whether or not to banish Ike Davis to the minor leagues before Thursday?  Because Thursday marks the beginning of a season-long 11-game homestand.  Also, starting on Thursday, the Mets will play 20 of their next 29 games at Citi Field.  That's the same number of games that Ike Davis has already participated in at Citi Field this year to register his anemic batting line.

To demote or not to demote?  That is the question surrounding Ike Davis.  He has two games left at PNC Park to turn things around.  If he doesn't, the Pittsburgh-to-Buffalo shuttle might be his next mode of transportation after Wednesday's game.

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