It’s not often that the Mets come back to win a game. It’s not often they win a game period – and that’s mainly because no one on the team knows how to hit in clutch situations. But somehow, the planets aligned properly and the Mets were able to put together an old fashioned rally in the bottom of the eighth inning, no thanks to team Captain David Wright. Again.
David Wright stepped to the plate right after Justin Turner singled to center to start the inning. No one knew that would be the start of a rally since rallies just don’t happen in Mets uniforms these days. Most runs seem to be scored as a result of a solo home run now and then. But when your team is down 2-1 at home in the 8th inning with the tying run on base for a team that has lost its last five games in a row (and eight straight at home), I would argue that would be considered a “clutch” at-bat situation. And who would you want up in that situation for the team? That’s right – Ike Davis. CERTAINLY not David Wright.
Look, we all love David Wright and know exactly what he’s capable of. But can we stop with this ridiculous notion that he’s a clutch ballplayer? We all know he’s far from the problem on this team, but let’s face it, he’s no Mike Piazza. And that’s okay because he does everything else right and never causes any commotion on the team. I know it. And for those of you who want to embrace reality, you know it too. But how bad is it that the old geezer at the casino who doesn’t even know what day it is knows it as well?
“Watch this bastard strike out here. I’m tellin’ ya dere’s no way he’s hitting da ball here. It’s gonna be a strikeout. Guy can’t hit in da clutch, you watch!” said Gramps. And sure enough, Wright struck out swinging at an outside pitch, thereby fulfilling the word of the Fisher King in attendance at the bar. Now tell me – how did the old guy know this was going to happen?
It’s because Wright isn’t clutch!
Now granted, even if he were clutch, he’d still fail approximately 70% of the time, but at least make the at-bat look productive. Luckily clutchness was still in the house in the form of Lucas Duda, who doubled to set up a 2nd-and-3rd for John Buck, who continued the very unlikely rally with a single to score Turner. When Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch, the bases were then loaded for none other than Ike Davis.
At that very instant, everyone lining the Wilpon’s pockets with money in attendance and those watching the game on TV probably all thought “Oh Lord, how can you be so cruel to this guy? He’s going to strikeout or hit into a double play and the fans are going to boo him mercilessly”. Remember that Davis has been on “Bay Watch” since April 17th and entered the night hitting .148 with nine RBIs total and mired in a 2-for-44 slump that included 19 strikeouts. He hadn’t had a hit with runners in scoring position in his last 27 at-bats. And the game came down to him.
Why Terry Collins even let him bat, we have no idea. Maybe he knew Ike was a better clutch hitter than Wright? Whatever the reason, after swinging through a fastball from Braves reliever Cory Gearrin (the Braves lights-out closer Craig Kimbrel wasn’t in the game because it was the eighth inning and the book says you can only use your closer in the ninth), on the next pitch Ike closed his eyes, swung the bat, and magically swung exactly where the pitch was thrown to drive a single to score the game winning runs.
Was he just lucky that he even hit the ball? Probably. Will this get him out of his funk? Probably not. But was his at-bat clutch? Most definitely – in a way that the monster contract signing David Wright usually is not. If Collins decides to keep Ike Davis in the lineup for the upcoming Yankees series, we’ll need to see more at-bats like this for the Mets to stand a chance at competing with a team that somehow is using smoke and mirrors to win ballgames. Oh, and we need David Wright too!