Ike Davis feeling more comfortable at the plate
VideosMets' Ike Davis at day camp
Ike Davis wasn't about to proclaim he's all the way back, particularly given that he had just collected a multihit game at home for the first time in nearly four months.
But the Mets' first baseman certainly is feeling much better about himself lately. He believes he's regaining the approach at the plate that made him so successful before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury on May 10, 2011 (he was batting .302 with seven homers and 25 RBIs in 36 games at the time).
He is batting .303 this month and is looking to keep his success in the batter's box going during a six-game road trip that begins against the Reds at Great American Ball Park Tuesday night.
"My last month and a half, two months, I'm starting to play like I used to a little bit," he said. "It's nice. I wouldn't say that I'm steaming hot right now. But I definitely feel more comfortable. I have a better approach than I did. I have a little more of an idea what I can do with balls. I'm just trying to have good at-bats, see the ball and get a pitch that I can handle."
He's been doing that these past 10 games, collecting 10 hits in 33 at-bats (.303) in August. Davis, who hasn't gone deep since his three-homer game in Arizona on July 28, raised his average to a season-high .217 by going 2-for-4 with a key two-out RBI in Sunday night's 6-5 win over Atlanta.
"I just try to hit the ball as hard as I can," said Davis, who has a team-high 20 home runs this season. "Obviously, with guys in scoring position, you do cut down your swing a little bit and just put it in play and just give yourself a chance to get the RBI and score the runner. But I never swing for home runs. I usually just try to hit it as hard as I can, and if I hit it as hard as I can, it could be a home run."
The most noticeable difference? Davis is not striking out as much. He's fanned 104 times this year and is coming off a month in which he did it 28 times, but he has struck out only four times in 37 plate appearances in August, easily putting him on track for his lowest number of strikeouts in a month this season.
"I've gotten better," he said. "Since I've started hitting the ball, I've cut down on the strikeouts. I'm always going to be a guy that strikes out a little more than average."
There was a point early in the season when every time he stepped to the plate, it seemed he was predestined to walk back to the dugout while mumbling some choice words to himself.
"I struck out about 100 times in my first 150 at-bats," he said. "That's how it felt."
Of course, that didn't actually happen. More like 49 strikeouts in his first 159 at-bats. But now he thinks he's seeing the ball much more clearly and believes he's recognizing breaking pitches sooner.
Davis is trying to focus harder on squaring up pitches he knows he can handle so he can put a good swing on the ball and not foul it off or miss it entirely.
"I've made some good adjustments this year already," Davis said. "I want to work on them and put them through a whole season. For 2 1/2 months, if you hit under .200, your average probably won't be good for the season. I canceled all that out and started fresh. I've gotten a little better and I like what I'm working on."