Jason Bay has identified his problem at the plate

In the first inning of last night’s 5-2 win over the Phillies, Jason Bay hit his first home run of the season – a two run home run to the opposite field off of Cliff Lee.

He went 1-for-4 to raise his average to .174 for the year.

According to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, Bay believes he is mechanically sound but his timing on pitches continues to be a problem.

“[The swing] there,” Bay said, according to Kernan. “But it’s not natural like it once was. It’s something I have to work on every day. The good news is that I’ve put so much time into this so when I get it right, it will be easier to keep.”

With that said, Kernan conjectures how long the Mets brass will remain patient with Bay and if he does not turn things around “they will not allow his option to kick in for 2014.”

Bay is in the third year of a four-year, $66 million contract he signed before the 2010 season. He has a $17 million option with a $3 million buyout for 2014 which will vest if he reaches 600 plate appearances in 2013 or reaches 500 plate appearances in both 2012 and 2013.

Michael Baron: The funny thing is that right now, Bay looks far and away better at the plate than either Lucas Duda or Ike Davis does. The difference is there is an embedded faith that both Duda and Davis will break out of their slumps, whereas Bay has shown more of the same trend: an inability to identify outside breaking pitches, slow bat speed in general, and an inability to react to pitches he should be turning on. It seems to me Bay has acknowledged a deteriorated offensive skill set but he still needs make more contributions than he has to this point. He is easy to root for because he has been very professional about his struggles, but if his general lack of productivity continues, they’re going to have tho find a way to get more productivity out of the position and, most importantly, keep his albatross of an option from vesting in 2014.