Since his 3-HR game, Ike Davis is 0-13 with nine strikeouts. It seems like every at-bat features a lefty pitcher with a wicked breaking ball that Davis flails at helplessly. They say that one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while anticipating different results. Davis swinging at these big breaking sliders is not getting the job done. So let’s give him the take sign.
When the at-bat ends on a pitch thrown with an 0-2 count, Davis is 1-20 with 13 strikeouts. Now, nobody looks like a superstar when batting with an 0-2 count. But what’s the worst thing that could happen if Davis just took every pitch when he found himself in this hole? He would have one fewer hit. However, it’s quite likely he would advance to a 1-2 count quite a few more times.
Davis’ numbers are still not wonderful at 1-2, but his OPS rises from .295 to .394 and if nothing else you have made the pitcher work a touch harder. The big jump comes from 1-2 to 2-2. When Davis’ PA ends after a 2-2 pitch, his OPS is .610, virtually the same as it is when he has a full count (.611).
My “Davis Rules” would be to always take on an 0-2 pitch and sit dead-red on 1-2. Any time Davis swings at an off-speed pitch in these counts he should be made to carry luggage like he’s a rookie. Even better, make him carry the rookies’ bags.
There have been 87 times this season where Davis’ PA has ended after an 0-2 or 1-2 count, or nearly one per game, as Davis has played 99 games. He is 11-86 (.128) in these situations. Without going back and reviewing the game tape of these trips to the plate, it’s impossible to know how many of these pitches were strikes. My guess is that a majority, perhaps a vast majority, were outside of the strike zone.
If the pitcher throws a breaking ball for a strike on an 0-2 count, tip your hat and walk to the bench. My sense is that most of these ABs are ending with Davis fishing on a pitch low and away. Until Davis starts taking these pitches and forces hurlers to change their pattern, nothing is going to change. He will see a never-ending supply of off-speed pitches and we will see a steady diet of Davis walking back to the dugout after a whiff. When the PA ends in these counts, Davis has a 60.5 K%.
Of course, he could hit a homer on the first pitch and make it easier on all of us…