NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins hasn't been afraid to play the waiting game this season. It's a new philosophy, which Collins credits as the biggest change in his managerial style.
So while the Mets have seen their early struggles with injuries, bullpen malfunctions and prolonged slumps, Collins hasn't hit the panic button. Instead, he has dished out more opportunities.
"I've been doing this way too long to throw your hands up just because a guy is going through a bad stretch, because the minute they think you don't believe in them anymore, that bad stretch is going to last a long time," Collins said.
Despite repeated votes of confidence from Collins, the nightmare stretch did last a long time for Ike Davis, who had the worst batting average of any player in the Major Leagues entering last weekend's series against the Yankees. But over the last five games entering Friday, Davis hit .571 with a home run and seven RBIs. Collins rewarded his first baseman with a bump up to fourth in the starting lineup on Friday.
"I hope that that confidence that we showed in him reaffirms the fact that we believe in him," Collins said. "That's not to say he hasn't been frustrated, he hasn't been angry, he hasn't gone in and behind the scenes and destroyed a bat. I don't know if he has. I don't follow him up the runways, but that's only human nature for guys at this level. When they are upset about the way things are going, they have to hit something hard, and that'd be a wall."
If hitting the wall for the short term means success in the end, Collins will take it. Collins said he's going to need Davis to produce in the middle of the order with the recent success of his hitters at the top of the lineup, but for now, there's encouragement that Davis has turned a corner.
"It was really frustrating. It still is," Davis said. "I started off really slow this year. Hopefully, I can have the next two and a half, three months and show that I'm getting back to the player that I should be."