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In Frigid Minnesota, Time for Ike Davis to Get Hot

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | While you don't typically hit the panic button nine games into a baseball season, if you follow the New York Mets, you can't help but think that we've been here before.

I'm talking about Ike Davis, who for the second straight year is struggling out of the gate. Davis was awful at the plate in April and May last season, so bad that there was talk of sending him down to the minors to straighten things out. Over the first two months of 2012, Davis hit five home runs and only had 27 hits, batting well under .200 before he finally got things going in June. He would recover to hit 32 home runs while driving in 90 runs.

Last year, Davis struggled for almost a third of the season before he found his stroke. While this season is still so young, when you see how off Davis is at the plate, you can't help but think back to his dismal start a year ago.

In 31 at-bats, Davis has four hits (.129 batting average) and he's struck out 11 times. While statistics don't always tell the whole story, in this case they pretty much do.

If there's anything that's going to break Davis out of his slump -- besides his natural talent -- it might be the pitching the Mets will face over the next week. They're in Minnesota for a three-game series with the Twins, then they'll head to Colorado to play four against the Rockies. Both the Twins and the Rockies have team ERAs over 4.00.

Based on what happened last year, you have to be confident that Davis will snap out of this slump. But if he continues to struggle, the Mets will struggle as well. They need their cleanup hitter to hit, and they need him to hit a lot. The Mets aren't good enough elsewhere to make up for his lack of production.

The Mets have enough to worry about with their starting pitching right now. If Davis can turn a frigid weekend in Minnesota into the beginning of a hot streak, then at least they no longer have to worry about him.

Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

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