Monday, April 7, 2014

Have It Both Ways

After starting three different 1st Basemen in the first 3 games of the season as part of some absurdist platoon, Terry Collins finally threw up his hands and said Lucas Duda was the starting 1st Baseman beginning Friday night against Cincinnati. I say he threw up his hands because arriving at a palatable solution between Duda, Josh Satin and Ike Davis is sort of tantamount to testing to see if your spaghetti's ready by throwing it against a wall and seeing if it sticks.

Somehow, Duda threw down the gauntlet on Friday night and hit two Home Runs, accounting for the entirety of the Mets' offense. Saturday, Duda was back to his old self, going 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts against Johnny Cueto and company. But not to worry. After the Mets caught a rare break by winning their first-ever Replay Challenge down by a run in the 9th inning, Ike Davis came to the rescue and pinch-hit a walk-off Grand Slam to give the Mets a 6-3 win, matching Duda's Friday night output in one fell swoop.

Sunday, it was Davis getting the start at 1st. Collins said that this was just to give Duda a day off and he'd be back in the lineup on Tuesday night in Atlanty, but for whatever reason, it seemed a little too coincidental that Davis was in the lineup the day after he came through with an out-of-nowhere clutch hit to win a game. Davis' performance on Sunday was markedly better than Duda on Saturday, as he got 2 hits and scored a run, but it wasn't enough to tilt the scales in the Mets favor, as their offensive output to back up Jon Niese was pretty much nil in a 2-1 loss. For the record, Duda pinch-hit in the 8th and couldn't pull the reverse Ike, instead simply grounding out.

So, basically, there's been a whole lot of crotch-grabbing and posturing to prove nothing in particular, after three days of the Lucas Duda project. If you can call such a thing a project.

Conventional wisdom would dictate that Davis is clearly the better choice, given his personality, resume and glove, items which have been discussed at length in the past. But of course the Mets have been all too eager to try to bury Davis for whatever reason and are enamored with Duda, who in spite of my endless bashing does bring some decent qualities, among them raw power and a decent eye, but in general has a terribly passive approach to hitting which screws him, and he moves around the field with all the grace of Sherman Tank (Josh Satin is somehow mixed up with these miscreants as well, simply because he's a righty and can field the position. Satin's a nice player, but let's not get carried away and call him the answer here, because give him 500 ABs in a season and he's likely to get exposed). This "battle" if you can call it such a thing has reached comical proportions, simply because neither of these guys can get out of their own way, and yet once one of them was handed the job outright, they both decided to stone up and get some hits.

But who knows how long this is going to last. As with many things that happen with the Mets, I'm dubious. The Mets are now embarking on what I believe is their longest road trip of the season (fortunately getting it out of the way early), to Atlanta, and then conveniently to Anaheim and then Arizona for 9 games. Something tells me the Soap Opera is just beginning to heat up.

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