Opposing a left-handed starting pitcher for the fifth time in six games, Collins pinned the move mostly on his desire to give backup first baseman Justin Turner some much-needed at-bats. But Collins did not ignore Davis' struggles.
"I don't know if he's ever had a slump, to be honest," Collins said. "He got to the big leagues in less than two years, grew up through the Minor Leagues without having to deal with failure. And now here he is -- he's facing the toughest time of his career at the Major League level. That's very, very, very difficult to do, not even talking about the market we're in."
It was a visibly frustrated Davis who discussed his season-long funk both after Friday night's 5-4 loss to the D-backs and prior to Saturday's game, on both occasions saying that his left ankle -- which he twisted in the second inning Friday -- is not an issue.
"I've faced like four lefties in a row that have been tough," Davis said. "And I've hit the ball decent. It's not like I'm looking too foolish at the plate. They're just not finding holes right now."
A fifth lefty, Patrick Corbin, started Saturday for the D-backs, prompting Collins to play Turner at first base and slot Scott Hairston -- who is slugging .976 against southpaws -- cleanup. Collins also bumped Daniel Murphy down to fifth in the lineup, batting Andres Torres leadoff for the first time since Opening Day.
The byproduct was an off-day for Davis, who is 1-for-12 since appearing to break out of his funk last weekend. Outside of a four-game stretch in April in which he hit all three of his home runs, Davis is batting .143 with three RBIs in 21 games. He is hitting .172 overall with a .502 OPS, the worst mark of any big leaguer with at least 99 plate appearances. Davis ranks just below Los Angeles' Albert Pujols (.505) in OPS.
His struggles have only been magnified at Citi Field, where Davis is batting .151 with a .488 OPS.
"Ike's scuffling a little bit," Collins said. "He's been playing. He's played five in a row, six in a row. I just needed to get Justin Turner in there today. ... We need to get the offense going a little bit, so it's kind of a two-fold thing."