For the second time in as many games on Saturday, J.D. Davis found himself batting with the bases loaded and two outs in a winnable game. On Friday night, Davis had struck out in that spot to end the Mets’ most promising rally. The following afternoon, he jumped ahead in the count before running it even, with two balls and two strikes.
Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer responded with a middle-middle fastball over the heart of the plate, which Davis swung through to end the fifth inning of the Mets’ 4-3 loss at Dodger Stadium.
It was the Mets’ 24th defeat in their last 28 games against the Dodgers, not to mention their 17th in their last 23 contests this year. And it highlighted a particular area of concern for the team, which has been one of Major League Baseball’s worst at hitting with the bases loaded.
“In those times, it really comes down to the nitty-gritty, mano a mano, you against me,” said outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who homered, doubled and singled — all with the bases empty — to collect three of the Mets’ eight hits. “It really just comes down to execution.”
Davis’ strikeout dropped New York’s batting average in bases-loaded situations to .208, fifth-lowest in the Majors. He has personally been a significant part of that statistic, going 0-for-6 with six strikeouts in such opportunities. He’s also the only Major League player to strike out at least six times in bases-loaded situations without recording a hit.
“Sometimes, guys tend to get anxious,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “I use J.D. as an example with the bases loaded in that situation; he was trying to do too much. He was trying to gather [himself] a little bit too much. It caused him to be late on a fastball. That’s probably from a mental standpoint what happens, you just get a little anxious because you have the bases loaded. It’s a key situation. There’s an adrenaline rush, and sometimes you drift away from your approach of being aggressive in the zone, which is what we preach here.”