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May 17, 2012

What You Need to Know

Thursday, May 17

by Daniel Rathman

The Wednesday Takeaway
Stop the presses, stock up on emergency supplies, and hide the women and children: Ike Davis got an extra-base hit at Citi Field.

The Mets first baseman entered play on Wednesday a hideous 3-for-56 in 15 games at his home ballpark, with only those three singles and four walks to show for his 60 plate appearances. Davis’ .054/.117/.054 triple slash in Queens made Adam Dunn’s .064/.235/.074 split against left-handed pitchers last season seem positively Ruthian. But perhaps, amid his team’s 6-3 loss to the Reds, Davis finally found a light at the end of his early-season tunnel.

Cincinnati’s starter, Mike Leake, was the victim of Davis’ first Citi Field double of the year, which came with two on and nobody out in the sixth inning, and plated Lucas Duda to—at the time—push the Mets ahead 2-1. Todd Frazier’s pair of late homers turned the tables and led the Reds to victory.

There have been few bright spots for Davis, who has consistently been the weak link in an offense that has actually been quite solid this season. The Mets rank fifth in the National League with a 716 team OPS and trail only the Cardinals with a .338 OBP, even though their first baseman has hit more like a pitcher to date. Davis’ overall line of .167/.222/.310 is rivaled among his position-mates only by Eric Hosmer’s disappointing .174/.237/.319 start. The threat of a demotion to Triple-A looms for both of them, though manager Terry Collins suggested yesterday that Davis’ roster spot is safe.

Davis now has one more try to improve his batting line at Citi Field, before the Mets embark on a six-game trip to Toronto and Pittsburgh. He is 0-for-2 with a strikeout in limited action against Mat Latos, who will start the getaway day matinee (1:10 p.m. ET) for the Reds.

What to Watch for on Thursday

  • The Indians thumped Felix Hernandez for eight runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings last night, marking the first time that King Felix had given up that many runs since a clunker against the Angels on May 7, 2010. Manny Acta’s team now owns a three-game lead in the AL Central, which it has assembled mainly by employing a lefty-heavy lineup to produce a 17-8 record in games where its opponent pitched a right-handed starter.  Winners of three in a row, the Tribe has a chance to pad that streak this afternoon (12:05 p.m. ET) and over the weekend, with northpaws lined up to face Cleveland in each of the next four games.
  • Adam Wainwright has alternated gems and duds his last five times on the mound, with his most recent outing—a 4 1/3-inning, five-run effort in a loss to the Braves—falling into the latter category. Still sorting out his command after Tommy John surgery, Wainwright will look to get back on track against the punchless Giants this afternoon (3:45 p.m. ET), when he squares off with Matt Cain.
  • Sam Miller wrote about Brandon Beachy on Monday, so I’ll point you to his Pebble Hunting piece for the story of the undrafted man with the 1.60 ERA. Beachy has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his seven starts this season, and only one player—Matt Kemp, possibly the least embarrassing player to serve up a gopher ball against—has taken him deep in 45 1/3 innings. In his two most recent meetings with the Marlins, Beachy struck out 20 batters over 12 frames; he’ll look to replicate those 10-K efforts tonight (7:10 p.m. ET).

Daniel Rathman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Daniel's other articles. You can contact Daniel by clicking here

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