Ike Davis and Lucas Duda combine for four homers for first time

Matt Harvey was the star of the show last night, as he pitched an outstanding game leading the Mets to a win over Stephen Strasburg.  But clearly the other story line of the game was the Mets getting two home runs apiece from their lefty power hitters Ike Davis and Lucas Duda.  It was the first time in the majors that they both hit two home runs in the same game.

Both Davis and Duda came up in the 2010 season, so on first glance it seems a bit odd that this is the first time they both went yard twice in the same game.  However, while they have similar MLB experience, circumstance has kept them from both being in the lineup (and productive) at the same time.

Davis came up early in the 2010 season, while Duda did not debut until a September call-up.  The Mets were hoping both would be productive players throughout the 2011 season.  But Davis got hurt and missed most of the year.  Duda got off to a slow start and when he started hitting, Davis was on the shelf.

Again in 2012, the Mets were counting on Davis and Duda to supply power throughout the year.  Davis got off to an horrific start and was one of the worst players in baseball the first 10 weeks of the season.  Meanwhile, Duda was underwhelming early, got sent to the minors shortly after the All-Star break and did not provide much power when he did return.

Here in 2013, Duda got off to a solid start but Davis was really struggling to find his swing prior to Friday night’s outburst against Strasburg.  If the Mets are going to contend this year, they need everything to break right, which includes big seasons from both of their lefty power threats.  Friday night, fans finally caught a glimpse of what could happen when the planets are properly aligned.

Not only was it the first time ever they homered twice in the same game, it was just the second time they both went yard in the same contest.  The first time came earlier this season, also in a start by Harvey.  In the year’s second game, Davis and Duda each homered once to lead the offensive charge in an 8-4 win over the Padres at Citi Field.

The duo has now combined for 95 home runs in the majors.  They’ve also combined for 10 multi-homer games, six by Davis and four by Duda.  The Mets are 4-2 in games where Davis hits multiple homers.  Five of those six games, Davis had two homers and he has one three-homer game to his credit.   The Mets lost that game, which happened last year in Arizona.

New York is just 2-2 in games where Duda has gone yard twice.

With Friday’s outburst, Davis now has a .617 OPS for the season.  That may sound poor but recall that after a similar number of games last year, it was a dismal .522 OPS.  Meanwhile, Duda’s slugging percentage alone tops Davis’ OPS.  Duda now sports a .308/.491/.744 slash line for a 1.235 OPS.

We have already seen that Davis is capable of a big HR season, as he shook off last year’s poor start to hit 32 homers.  But coming into this year, it was still just potential for Duda.  No one doubted the strength of the 6’4, 254-pound Duda, but his MLB-best mark for home runs was 15.  Now after just 14 games he’s already clubbed five and according to ESPN, he’s on a pace to hit 54 HR in 151 games.

No one expects Duda to come anywhere close to that mark.  But if he and Davis can combine for 60 HR then that would be a sight for sore eyes for Mets fans wondering where the offense was going to come from in 2013.  And even if they fall short of Babe Ruth’s 1927 mark, we will still have the golden memory of what they did Friday night against a star pitcher who had never lost to the Mets previously and a team that has playoff aspirations.

9 comments for “Ike Davis and Lucas Duda combine for four homers for first time

  1. Metsense
    April 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

    Indeed the planets were alligned right last night and it was fun to be a Met fan. Harvey was great in passing Danny Murphy’s test in the 7th and Duda and Davis really smoked those balls (that tazor that Davis hit was crushed). Getting above .500 is great and I’m already looking forward to Wednseday night.

  2. Chris F
    April 20, 2013 at 9:15 am

    How sweet it is. These are the games that remind me why keeping Wheeler (present struggles aside), and planning for Syndergaard and Montero could make the Mets a soul crushing team in 2-3 years (the talk of ’14 amazes me, this team will not be ready next season either). We have enough power. Pitching wins!

    • April 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

      Shoot – I’m still trying to figure out what 2013 has in store. Yes, the schedule has been favorable opponents-wise, but that is negated in part by the terrible weather. If I told you during Spring Training that we would open 8-7 with a +17 run differential — I think you would have taken it. If Davis and Duda both hit for power, I think the team can play .500+ ball over the course of the season. Regardless, I’m looking forward to finding out!

      • Joe Vasile
        April 20, 2013 at 1:55 pm

        A .500 season is not an unreasonable expectation if Davis and Duda hit for some power. Obviously, Duda will probably come back to earth a little and Davis will get a little better, but if Niese and Harvey continue pitching well, and Gee can figure it out, a .500 season is not out of the question.

      • Name
        April 20, 2013 at 2:07 pm

        BTW, Duda is only 9 point behind Votto in OBP now.
        And he is 2nd in SLG and first in OPS, although he has around 10 PA’s less than most of the top hitters because he gets taken out early and has rested a bit.

        If he can exhibit this type of patience and power the entire year, it would tremendously change the outlook of our OF, which I would rate as respectable right now because of Duda.

  3. Jerry Grote
    April 20, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Ike Davis has now had 2000 professional plate appearances. He will never be more than slightly above average player. He has a lifetime OPS of around 650 against 25% of the league. (Those numbers get truly horrific when you get into the late innings of a close game. IOW, he really can’t hit quality lefties.)

    To me, you can’t have a guy hitting #4 in the lineup that has such a horrific split. Its lunacy and either TC or SA needs to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Personally, I’d trade the guy … and I certainly wouldn’t give him some sort of huge-ass extension. But the problem is the value that the Mets place on him. They are treating him like he’s Joey Votto, when he’s really the kind of player that’s just good enough to make your team unable to win.

    Of course, the answer here is that there’s probably 40 guys you could get that can hit lefties and play a reasonable 1B and not spend a bunch of cash or give up real talent for … but then you’d need an intelligent manager to use him right.

    • Joe Vasile
      April 20, 2013 at 2:00 pm

      When Ike came up in 2010, he hit lefties very well (may I point you in the direction of my buddy Mark Simon’s article at ESPN New York from about a month ago: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/mets/post/_/id/62275/next-step-for-ike-get-right-vs-lefties).

      I can’t say this enough: Give Davis a chance. He had a promising rookie year, was on his way to a great 2011 before an injury killed the year, in 2012 he struggled with Valley Fever, an illness which has completely derailed the careers of many players in the past, and this year they’ve played 2 weeks worth of games. Call me in May when he’s still struggling, and I’ll be concerned. If he turns it around (and he’s showed signs over the past 2 games), all this worrying and trade talk is going to seem silly in 3 weeks.

      • Jerry Grote
        April 20, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        … not to be argumentative … but you are using a 120 AB slice. *In the next 240 ABs* his OPS probably dropped from 800 … to around 500. What’s more, take a look at the splits between his LH starting pitching, and LH relief pitching.

        What that should be telling you is this: when the game is late, and on the line, the other team has figured out pretty simply how to turn Ike Davis into something much worse than Rey Ordonez. And its not a small sample.

        Against that, you’ve got a singular sample when Ike Davis was a rookie and teams hadn’t had much chance to see him.

        You just can’t have that at #4. Here’s a mournful comparison: think of what it has meant to the Phils as Ryan Howard has slowly moved to a Davis-like split.

        Something like 125 players hit better than .275 against LHP last year in over 75 ABs. Some of those guys can be taught to play 1B.

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