Ike Davis Could Use a Little Break

Davis hasn't found his stroke in 2012

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    It's time to make Davis a Buffalo soldier.

    In David Wright, the Mets have the leading hitter in the National League.

    They also have the NL's worst hitter among qualified candidates. Ike Davis went 0-for-4 in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, dropping his average to .156, a number that shouldn't be on the stat sheet for anyone other than a pitcher.

    Davis' latest terrible night came after he spent Monday on the bench. Terry Collins gave the first baseman a night off in hopes of clearing his head and getting him going at the plate, but the manager did not get what he hoped for from the move.

    This isn't just a case of a hitter finding fielders with solidly struck balls. Davis comes to the plate without giving off the impression that he has all that much of an idea of what to do when he gets there, so it's no surprise that he quickly slinks back to the dugout without reaching first base.

    It's difficult to imagine that will change as long as Davis remains with the big league club. It is impossible for him not to press when he's seen as an integral part of the team's offensive hopes, which has increasingly led to the feeling that he needs a little time out of the spotlight in Buffalo to get his head right. 

    That's not to say that Davis is the only reason why the Mets have been outscored by 31 runs to this point in the season. Andres Torres might as well forfeit his at-bats and Mike Nickeas hits like the career backup catcher he was born to be, but neither of those players qualify as essential parts of what the Mets hope to accomplish.

    Davis does qualify and the team needs to be willing to play without him now in order to get more from him down the road. After all, it's not like playing someone else at first for the next couple of weeks is going to give them less than Davis is giving them right now.

    The Mets won on Tuesday night thanks to 11 strikeouts from R.A. Dickey and their record stands at 23-20 despite their inability to outscore the opposition. That winning record is going to go away if the team doesn't start putting up more runs and they aren't going to put up more runs until Davis starts hitting at something close to the expected level.

    And that goes beyond just this season. Whatever happens in 2012, the Mets are trying to start an upward trajectory into the future.

    Davis has to find himself now so that the Mets can be sure what the foundation of that trajectory will be. Buffalo isn't the ideal place for that to happen, but it is the right place right now. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.