Ike Davis takes some tips from Mr. October himself
Ike Davis' slump earned him a pep talk from Mr. October himself.
Struggling at the plate and knowing there's a real chance he could be shipped to the minors to work it out, the Mets first baseman is at the point that he'll take all the guidance he can get. So when Reggie Jackson offered some encouragement before Friday night's Subway Series opener, Davis was all ears.
See, Davis went to his fair share of Yankees Old-Timers Day games at the stadium that sat across the street from the new one. His father, Ron, was an outstanding setup reliever who played with Jackson. So he was thrilled to chat with the Hall of Famer.
"We talked about hitting and he said, 'Just slow it down a little bit,' " Davis said after the Mets lost to the Yankees, 4-2, at the Stadium Saturday night. "He gave me good advice. Nothing with swinging, mechanics or anything. He said just make contact and let the ball go out of the yard, not hit it out of the yard."
Davis hasn't been doing any of that lately, but he thinks he's seeing small signs of improvement. He singled and drew a pair of walks Saturday night, something that manager Terry Collins hopes is a sign that Davis is close to regaining the powerful form he often displayed before sitting out most of last season with an ankle injury.
"The fact that he's walked three times in the last two nights," Collins said, "I think he's seeing the ball better."
Davis, who raised his average to .162, has only five homers and 21 RBIs and is 3-for-26 this month. He hasn't had a multi-hit game in his last 23 starts at first base.
"This is the first time he's really failed," Collins said. "This is the first time he's had to deal with tremendous adversity. The games have been somewhat easy for him. He's that talented. One of the things that's going to make him a good major league player is to learn how to get through this. Right now, we are in a situation where we want it done at this level, to see if he can fight through it to make him better.
"There's been days he's been fine; there's been days where he's had a tough time dealing with it. He's a very strong- willed, confident young man."
Even so, now that Jason Bay is back, that talk of Lucas Duda moving from rightfield to first base to help alleviate the crowded outfield might get a little louder if Davis doesn't snap out of it quickly.
"There is no question when you are talking about numbers, they are not very good," Collins said. "If Ike was hitting .158 and had 13 homers and 25 RBIs, we wouldn't be having this conversation. The thing we have to do is just get him going."
Davis is sure he'll bust out of this funk soon.
"I'm very confident," he said. "This has gone on long enough. I need to start doing better and honestly, the last five games, I've had good at-bats. I've walked a lot more, I've hit a lot more balls square and that's really all I can do. It's not going to change overnight and I've just got to keep doing this."