Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It’s the third game of the season, and the Mets have started three different first baseman.
The plan, they say, is to start Josh Satin against left-handed pitching, while starting Lucas Duda or Ike Davis against right-handed pitching. Terry Collins will play ‘the hot hand,’ he has said, when choosing between Duda and Davis. In other words, it’s a platoon within a platoon, and I see no way it’s going to end well.
I fear Davis and Duda are being set up to fail in this scenario. Sure, in an ideal world, they’re thankful for being paid tons of money to play a kid’s game, they accept the cards they’re dealt and we all move on. But, it’s not an ideal world…
The one thing I know to be true about modern professional baseball players, having talked to more than enough of these guys over the last decade, is this: They love routine. They’re addicted to it. Like magic or superstitious hocus-pocus, they believe it is a driving force in how they perform. They sound more concerned with when and where they’ll play than how often they’ll play.
The Mets will face significantly more right-handed pitchers than left-handed pitchers, which means – more times than not – the day will begin with first base a total mystery and with Davis and Duda having no idea what the day has in store for them. I’d prefer to see the Mets sit down Davis (or Duda) and say, “He’s going to Triple-A, you are not. You’ve got six weeks in the big leagues to show us what you’ve got, good luck.”
Instead, the hope is that one of the two men step up, minimize the other, who will likely be sent packing, and the situation will resolve itself through baseball’s version of natural selection. But, again, it’s not an ideal world. The more likely outcome is they both struggle to find a rhythm, time ticks off the clock with continued below-average production at first base, and the situation remains unresolved.