One day after being benched in favor of Lucas Duda at first base, Ike Davis came up huge with a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam this afternoon to lead the Mets to a 6-3 victory over the Reds at Citi Field in New York.
The walk-off blast was set up after J.J. Hoover entered the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead. He walked the first batter, Juan Lagares, and Anthony Recker followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt. Lagares was originally ruled out at second base, but the play was reviewed and reversed when it was ruled that Lagares’ foot reached the bag before the throw. Ruben Tejada attempted to move the runners over to second and third base with a bunt, but couldn’t get one down in fair play and eventually drew a walk. Davis came up for pitcher Carlos Torres and ripped a pitch over the right field fence to end it.
This was the team’s first game-ending grand slam when trailing since Kevin McReynolds in 1991. Jordany Valdespin had a walk-off grand slam in a tie game against the Dodgers last April.
While it looked like Duda would get a chance to run away with the first base job, Mets manager Terry Collins said after today’s game that Davis will get the start tomorrow. For what it’s worth, he said that was the plan even before today’s walk-off blast. It seems that the front office prefers Duda over Davis, but we’re no closer to an answer here than we were yesterday. Still, if the competition continues to result in wins, the Mets won’t complain.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.