Ike Davis making steady climb, driving in runs

Ike Davis watches his third-inning two-run home Ike Davis watches his third-inning two-run home run clear the right field wall. (July 7, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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Ike Davis seemed resigned, and the tone of his voice didn't waver when he talked about his two-run home run Saturday, a big one that put the Mets up by three runs in the third inning of a 3-1 win over the Cubs.

"I didn't hit it that well," he said, a slumped shoulder and a detached tail away from being the clubhouse's version of Eeyore. "It was down the line."

It must've been nice to have that cushion, though, right?

"We want to score as many as we can," he said. "Three runs -- a bloop, a walk and a homer is three runs. It's never enough."

It's never enough is right. Because even though Davis has done everything he can to erase the effects of a slump that left him batting .158 as late as June 8, he can't seem to wash away the caustic taste of ugly numbers.

For the record, Saturday's 1-for-4 was enough to continue his batting average's inchworm crawl toward respectability -- from .204 to a season-high .205. It took a pretty good June to get that far; he had 23 hits and batted .264 for the month.

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But while Davis manages to quietly deal with that frustration with a bit of self-deprecation and a lot of home runs, manager Terry Collins refuses to look at his production as anything but a positive. With 12 homers and 49 RBIs, Davis is driving in runs, and as far as Collins is concerned, that's a trade-off he's willing to make.

"When you look up and you see a guy has 13 homers and 50 RBIs and he's hitting .202, I'll take those homers and RBIs, especially with his defense," Collins said. "Actually, he put three pretty good swings on today and one of them got out."

Davis barely missed a second home run on a fly ball to deep center in the sixth inning. His two-run jack (yes, down the rightfield line) came on Jeff Samardzija's 0-and-2 splitter with two outs in the third.

"It's nice to feel like I'm doing stuff," Davis said. "For 21/2 months, I felt like I wasn't helping that team and like I wasn't doing a whole lot of anything. It's just nice to help the team win and feel like I'm part of the game."

It's hard not to see the dissatisfaction in Davis' words and, though he's on pace to shatter his 2010 marks in home runs and RBIs, he's also on pace to walk less and strike out more. He's gone from a walk every 8.3 plate appearances in his only other full year to one in every 11.2. Davis also is striking out once every 3.8 appearances as opposed to his 2010 mark of 4.4.

"I put myself in that pretty big hole," he said. "At one point this year, I was just glad to be over .100 . . . But I got a lot of games left and it's going to be a grind and we'll see at the end of the year."

In Davis' world, that qualifies as optimism.

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