Ike Davis can't be sure when his time will come. He doesn't know when he'll see his share of mistake pitches over the plate, or when he'll feel comfortable unleashing his powerful swing, or when he'll finally break free of yet another early-season slump.
But after the Mets dropped a 3-2 decision to the Dodgers Thursday, Davis promised that there will be an end to his lingering troubles.
"I guarantee that in one of these next couple of months that I'm actually going to help the team win a lot of games," Davis said. "I'll be the guy to lean on."
So far, he has been anything but that guy.
Davis hit his fourth homer of the season off righthander Brandon League in the bottom of the ninth, bringing the Mets to within one run, but the solo shot couldn't wipe away the stain of his previous three hitless at-bats -- a comebacker and two strikeouts.
"Not really," said Davis, who ended the day hitting .174 with a team-high 24 strikeouts.
His swings looked particularly feeble against lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, the South Korean star signed by the Dodgers over the winter. In his first start, he allowed one run and three hits in seven innings. With runners on second and third and two outs in the sixth, Ryu fooled Davis badly on a slider for one of his eight strikeouts.
"Obviously, it's frustrating," said Davis, who was moved from fourth to sixth in the batting order against the Dodgers. "I'm frustrated. I don't like letting the team down a lot like I have, but that's the way it goes sometimes."
Davis hardly was the only culprit in the loss.
Righthander Jeremy Hefner delivered perhaps his best start of the season, matching Ryu by allowing one run in seven innings. But the Mets failed to give him much run support.
Instead of bringing in closer Bobby Parnell to begin the ninth, Mets manager Terry Collins opted to use lefty Scott Rice to preserve a 1-1 tie. The decision backfired when Rice allowed two runs, which proved to be the difference.
Of course, the Mets might have faced a different situation had Davis come through with two runners in scoring position in the sixth, when he took a weak swing while striking out.
"I have confidence in myself," Davis said. "But it is frustrating."
As with any slump, Davis has heard his share of potential fixes, though some have been more helpful than others. Noticing his struggles against pitches on the outer edge, the Mets implored Davis to move closer to the plate earlier this week, which has improved his ability to cover the plate.
But not all adjustments have come as easily.
"If he starts doing that to where he's going to use more of the field to hit, I think he's got some better opportunities to drive some runs in," said Collins, who wants Davis to use the whole field.
However, that approach might also have its shortcomings, especially for a power hitter such as Davis.
"Me slapping the ball the other way early in the count is probably not helpful," Davis said. "If I went up every at-bat and tried to hit a single to left every time . . . I wouldn't be here very long if I did that."
Of course, the answer likely rests somewhere in the middle, a point that Davis believes he eventually will reach.
"It's not like I'm not working because, obviously, if you weren't working right now, you don't deserve to be here," Davis said. "But it's going to get better."