Citing 'bad match,' Collins sits Ike vs. Bedard

Citing 'bad match,' Collins sits Ike vs. Bedard

Citing 'bad match,' Collins sits Ike vs. Bedard
PITTSBURGH -- After maintaining for days that Ike Davis would play this week's entire series against the Pirates, Mets manager Terry Collins benched his first baseman against Erik Bedard in Monday's opener, noting that "besides trying to make sure we have patience with Ike, we're also trying to win baseball games."

Collins centered that decision mostly around the fact that left-handed batters are hitting .161 against the lefty Bedard this season, compared to a .280 mark for right-handed batters. But the manager also acknowledged that he does not want the slumping Davis to face an unfavorable situation.

"When you've got a guy who's dominating left-handed hitters and you've got a guy who's struggling, that's a bad match," Collins said of Bedard and Davis. "The worst thing I want to do is put this guy in a situation where he's going to fail."

A day earlier, Collins indicated for the first time that the Mets would consider sending Davis to the Minors if he continues to scuffle. But before going to that extreme, Collins said, the team owed it to Davis to give him the longest possible opportunity to keep his job. Specifically, that meant starting Davis against Bedard on Monday, then again on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Collins changed his mind. In addition to the poor statistical matchup against Bedard, Davis is battling a head cold that he downplayed Monday afternoon.

"Everyone gets sick," the first baseman said, noting that he actually boasts a higher average against left-handed pitchers than right-handers this season. "You still have to play."

"You never know when it's going to happen, when he's going to all of the sudden get it centered and make that solid contact," Collins said. "The thing with Ike is, they're all looking for home runs. I'm just looking for that good swing that we know he's got. The home runs will come."

Davis is batting .163 in 135 at-bats this season, with the second-worst on-base percentage (.221) among qualified players. Despite five homers, his .304 slugging percentage also ranks sixth-worst in the National League.

"Ike Davis is a strong-willed, strong-minded guy," Collins said. " You talk to anybody who's ever played this game at any level, the one thing we've all talked about is that sometimes, this game is going to humble you. Who knows when, who knows how bad it's going to be, but it's going to humble you. And so how are you going to fight it? How are you going to get through it?"

The options for Davis are clear: either he must start producing immediately, or risk a demotion. He understands that as well as anyone.

"Everyone here can get sent down besides, like, maybe three people," Davis said. "That's the way it is. That's life."