Five Mets To Keep Warm, and Run Scoring Into The Postseason October 5, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: dodgers. NLDS, Mets
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Catcher Anthony Recker, infielder Eric Campbell, outfielder Eric Young, Jr., and pitchers Logan Verrett and Bobby Parnell will head to Port St Lucie for the fall instructional league, says ESPN. Kirk Nieuwenhuis will go to LA or to Port St Lucie, depending on whether Juan Uribe is healthy. That spot will likely be solely for pinch hitting, since Nieuwenhuis and Uribe aren’t interchangeable hitters at all.
It’s alarming that the Mets have scored only 2 runs in their last 4 games. However, they also scored 46 in their last 10; which of those figures tells us more about the postseason? Frankly, neither.
Looking at least year’s NLDS and NLCS, the correlations are extremely weak: runs scored over the last 10 games of the season predicted about 8% of runs scored in the NLDS, with the strongest explanatory power coming at 3 games (12.4%), closely followed by 8 games (12.3%). This is only based on last year’s numbers, but the correlations are mostly noise.
Even a simple model based on runs scored doesn’t work for last year – the Giants defeated the Nationals, who outscored them, and the Cardinals, who didn’t.
This year’s Mets have scored 683 runs and allowed 613. The Dodgers scored 667 and allowed 595. In their 7 games this year, the Mets won 4, and outscored them 33-19. The Mets were 2-2 in Citi Field and 2-1 in Dodger Stadium.
Mets Home Field Magic Number is 3, Because Time Is Running Out October 2, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: home field, home field advantage, Mets, Nationals, preview
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If you do the math, 163 – Mets Wins – Dodgers Losses, you’ll end up with a magic number of 4 wins by the Mets and losses by the Dodgers to clinch home field for the National League Division Series. Both teams are 89-70, so each team going 3-3 would result in a tie. Since the Mets own the tiebreaker, though, the Mets don’t have to beat the Dodgers, just tie them.
The Mets enter a the last three games of the series tonight with Noah Syndergaard facing off against Gio Gonzalez. Gio has seen a steady rise in his ERA since moving to the Nationals in 2011 and is currently 11-8. Gio also reliably hits one double and home run per year; he’s a career .088 hitter and has checked off the 2B box but not the home run box so far.
The Mets have won their last six games against Washington. Syndergaard has a win and a no decision in a team loss to the Nationals this year; Gonzalez is 2-0 with a losing no decision against the Mets. The Nationals were 2-3, but Gonzalez was 2-1, in September; Gio put up a 2.89 ERA in September.
Yesterday’s bullpen game was ugly, but only offensively. Losing pitcher Sean Gilmartin pitched 5 innings and gave up 2 runs. Tim Stauffer gave up one hit in two innings of relief, in a nice surprise. Dario Alvarez gave up a home run to Andres Blanco, but Jeurys Familia struck out Aaron Altherr to end the game. Kevin Plawecki took the only walk for New York.
Against the Nationals in New York, Terry Collins is likely to start his usuals who sat during yesterday’s noon game. More offense is likely, and with the bullpen’s B team putting together a quality game, Syndergaard supported by Jonathon Niese, Tyler Clippard, and Addison Reed should be able to hold Gio homerless.
Mets’ Home Field Magic Number at 4, Despite Embarrassing Loss October 1, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: #imwith47, Free Hansel, Mets, Phillies
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Hansel Robles was bounced from last night’s game against the Phillies for “throwing at” Philadelphia catcher Cameron Rupp. That ejection was controversial because the ball clearly just got away from the fireballing right-hander, but he (along with manager Terry Collins) was ejected because both benches had been warned. Yoenis Cespedes had been hit on the hand in the third by Justin De Fratus; Kirk Nieuwenhuis was hit by De Fratus’ replacement, Adam Loewen in the fifth; and Logan Verrett retaliated in the bottom of the fifth by hitting Odubel Herrera. When the ball got away from Robles and sailed past Rupp’s head on a 2-2 count (despite a sign from Travis d’Arnaud for a breaking pitch), Robles was toast.
A total of 17 pitchers (9 Mets and 8 Phillies) were used; that’s not a record, not even for a September 30th game. Way back in 2007 on the same date, the Cardinals used 10 pitchers in a winning effort over the Pirates’ 8.
The Mets could take tonight’s game; Sean Gilmartin will start with Tim Stauffer tapped to relieve him. Though Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard appeared last night, they should be available to relieve today. Philadelphia will start rookie Jerad Eickhoff.
Thanks to a loss by the Dodgers to Mike Leake‘s two-hit complete game for the Giants, the Mets are one game closer to home field advantage. If the Mets win all 4 remaining games, they’ll clinch home field advantage; LA faces Tim Hudson in the last start of Hudson’s career tonight.
Mets’ Magic Number For Home Field: 5 (Game 158 Preview) September 30, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: Dodgers, home field, Mets
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Following a masterful one-hit performance by Clayton Kershaw and a 4-1 loss by the Mets, the Dodgers still remain within a few games of home field advantage. The Mets are 89-68; the Dodgers are 88-69. The Mets could thus clinch home field advantage by winning 5 games.
Bartolo Colon‘s stiff neck and Wilmer Flores‘ “little bit” of strep throat (according to Gary Cohen) kept the game close – Ruben Tejada got the start at shortstop and went 1-3 with a walk. If Wilmer really does have strep, he’ll sit again tonight; if he just has a lingering sore throat from cigar smoke, he may be back in the lineup. I was surprised not to see Kelly Johnson stay in the game at short after pinch-hitting, but Terry Collins will probably try him out there again in this series. This can’t be make or break for Johnson, since he’s valuable as a utilityman, so I can only presume that Ruben Tejada’s status on the bench is in question. That’s also surprising, considering Tejada’s reputation as a strong defender, but Ruben has been below average this year at short (his fielding percentage was high but he made 5 errors in 76 games and his range factor is eh). Flores is also below average, but his bat is consistently better than Tejada’s. Having Johnson as a defensive option would allow Tejada to be pulled off the lineup if necessary.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers will face the Giants again today. Sophomore Mike Bolsinger starts for the Dodgers against Mike Leake for the Giants. Bolsinger has a respectable 3.48 ERA but that jumps to 6.88 since his September callup. Leake has a 4.86 ERA since being traded to the Giants; in 5 games with Buster Posey, it’s only 3.41, but in 9 innings with Trevor Brown behind the plate he’s allowed 7 earned runs. (A bit of that is likely due to a huge BAbip split: .222 with Posey, .343 with Brown.) With the Dodgers 5 games away from home field advantage, Don Mattingly is unlikely to put out a day-after lineup. Expect to see closer (and birthday boy) Kenley Jansen, who hasn’t worked since back-to-back games on the 23rd and 24th. Jansen has 34 saves this year.
Bullpen Bullets for September 30, 2015 September 30, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: #imwith47, bullpen usage, Mets
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With the playoffs approaching, pitchers are making their cases to be included on the shortened roster for the National League Division Series.
- Jonathon Niese made his first trip out of the bullpen last night, pitching 1 2/3 innings and giving up one earned run and 3 hits. He left Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera on base, and Eric Goeddel let Galvis come home. Niese allowed a hit to leadoff batter Cody Asche and looked to me like he might not have been totally warm. I expect Niese to get more comfortable in the ‘pen as he gets more work; expect Terry Collins to try him out as a situational lefty, although I think he’s more valuable as an ecumenical long relief option.
- Speaking of ecumenical long relief options, Logan Verrett starts tonight in place of Steven Matz, who will start tomorrow instead after sleeping on a sofa and getting a stiff back. Bartolo Colon was favoring his neck last night, too; it sounds like the boys might have had a bit too much fun over the past few nights.
- Hansel Robles hasn’t pitched since throwing a third of an inning in relief of Tim Stauffer on the 25th. Bobby Parnell closed the Understudies game on the 27th. The bullpen trio of Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia have been idle since the 26th. Expect to see them in relief of Verrett for any lead tonight, particularly since Niese will need to rest after throwing almost 2 innings..
- Sean Gilmartin had been used in a long role; with Niese being tried out, there may not be room for Gilmartin on the playoff roster, particularly since they both tend to be better against righties. Gilmartin allows a .214/.287/.282 line to right-handed batters vs .272/.330/.359 to lefties; Niese’s split is less pronounced at .274/.340/.421 against righthanders vs .293/.331/.495 to left-handers. Niese’s comfort level getting ready quickly may determine whether he’s used in long relief or as a stuational lefty, but frankly neither of them is a strong pitcher against left-handers. By comparison, the right-handed Robles is pitching .169/.217/.251 to left-handed batters.
The Mets’ Home Field Magic Number is 6 (Game 157 Preview) September 28, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: Dodgers, home field, Mets
Bartolo Colon starts Tuesday against the Phillies’ David Buchanan. Despite some noise about moving Bart to the bullpen, he is 13-2 in-division and 4-0 against the Phillies this year. Colon has posted a 5.80 KBB ratio and a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings against Philadelphia, so it would be foolish not to start him. (Both Philadelphia and the Mets are idle tonight.)
Colon has the chops to go for a complete game. However, Jonathon Niese is moving to the bullpen effective today, so Terry Collins may be looking for an opportunity to get Niese into the game. With rookies Steven Matz, Logan Verrett, and Noah Syndergaard all trying to go as deep into games as possible, it may make more sense to plan to pitch Bart for 6 innings and bring Niese into a clean 7th. Let him pitch 2, see what he can do, and use Jeurys Familia or Hansel Robles depending on the situation in the 9th.
The Mets can clinch home field advantage for the National League Division Series with any combination of 6 wins by the Mets and losses by the Dodgers. The magic number is defined (in MLB) as (163 – Wins by the Mets – Losses by the Dodgers); currently, the Mets are 89-67 and the Dodgers are 87-68. Since the Dodgers have played 155 of 162 games, they could conceivably finish 94-68 by winning every remaining game. That means the Mets could clinch just by getting to 95 wins (6 more). The Mets could lose all 6 of their remaining games and end up at 89-73, but the Dodgers would have to win three games to finish 90-72 (losing no more than 4). The Mets own the tiebreaker (4-3 season series), so it would be incumbent on the Dodgers to win more games than the Mets.
With all of the Mets’ starters rested, they can head into Philadelphia ready to nail down 2 of 3. Of active, qualified players, the Phillies’ OBP leader is rookie Odubel Herrera with an anemic .333. Three players have slightly better OBP and enough plate appearances, but they are Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, and Ben Revere – on the 15-day DL, the 60-day DL, and the Blue Jays roster, respectively. Switch-hitting Andres Blanco has too few plate appearances to qualify for rate stats but is rolling a .356 OBP. OPS leader Aaron Altherr has a .513 slugging average, meaning that he averages slightly over half a base per at-bat. (Walks don’t contribute to SLG.)
Expect this series to continue the trend of trying out players at different positions. Kelly Johnson will likely see work at shortstop, and with Juan Uribe out I’d also love to see Daniel Murphy take a few innings at third. Although Anthony Recker played the hot corner in an emergency earlier this year, Recker likely won’t make the postseason roster anyway, and in any situation in which we need to lift David Wright, playing Murphy at third and Kelly Johnson or Wilmer Flores at second would be a net defensive upgrade.
The Understudies (Game 156 Recap) September 28, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: Mets, Recap
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Saturday night, the Mets clinched the National League East with a defeat of the Cincinnati Reds. Following that win, the Mets played a spring training game in which Jacob deGrom pitched 6 innings and went 2 for 3 and reached on an error. deGrom was relieved by Eric Goeddel, Sean Gilmartin, and Bobby Parnell, who gave up a combined 2 hits and 1 walk. The pitching was helped along by strong hitters, who were in turn helped along by errors from Ivan De Jesus and Joey Votto. De Jesus was visibly uncomfortable in only his 14th Major League start in the outfield.
Kelly Johnson played his first Major League game at shortstop. Johnson had last played a single game at short in 2005 for Richmond (now Gwinnett), the Braves’ AAA affiliate; he played 91 games at shortstop in 2003’s AA campaign. Johnson committed an error in the 9th but otherwise acquitted himself admirably.
Anthony Recker made his first start at first base for the Mets. Recker had previously started at first as a Cub in 2012. Despite doing a goofy-looking Arabesque to make a high catch, he played the schmoe position with grace and aplomb.
Dilson Herrera, though not out of position, made his first start since June. Besides turning a double play and making 5 assists, Dilson also hit a home run and went 3-4 with a walk.
One interesting player who did not get a chance to perform as the understudy was Jonathon Niese. Niese has been officially moved to the bullpen for the playoffs, and it’s likely that Bartolo Colon will join him. Colon will, however, make another scheduled start Tuesday.
The Mets’ Magic Number is Alex Cora (Game 154 Preview) September 25, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: Alex Cora, Mets, Reds
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With a win over Josh Smith‘s Reds and a Nationals loss to the Orioles, the Mets have pushed their magic number to clinch the division down to 3 (Alex Cora). The Mets are duly thankful to Matt Wieters for bringing Steve Pearce home in the late innings to give the Os the lead, and to Darren O’Day for nailing down the save.
Even assuming the Nats don’t lose another game, the Mets can now clinch in a variety of scenarios:
- Sweep the wretched Cincinnati team for their remaining 3 games.
- Give 1 to Cincinnati, take 1 from Philadelphia.
- Lose two to the Reds, simply win the series against Philadelphia.
- Lose the next three to the Reds, sweep Philadelphia.
In other news, the Dodgers lead the Mets for home field advantage in their series, assuming both clinch their divisions. The Dodgers are 2 games ahead of the Mets with a Dodgers magic number of 9. Assuming the Mets give up 1 game to Cincinnati, 1 to Philly and 1 to the Nationals, that means the Dodgers have to win six of their final 10 games to clinch home field advantage. The Mets own the head-to-head tiebreaker 4-3.
Noah Syndergaard starts for the Mets in a hitter’s park. Watch Noah’s control numbers – he’s thrown 73 strikeouts to 15 unintentional walks since the All Star Break. Don’t be alarmed if he gives up a few runs, particularly with 2016 American League All Star Designated Hitter Daniel Murphy starting at second base. Noah’s had a solid .273 BAbip, so he may give up a few tonight. Ruben Tejada is starting at shortstop. Ruben has been a sleeper in September, hitting .390/.457/.537 since September 1st in 46 plate appearances, albeit on a .455 BAbip.
Anthony DeSclafani starts for the Reds. In his last five starts, he’s 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA and an 8.0 KBB, despite a .349 BAbip. DeSclafani, like Tejada, is a dangerously unsung part of the team and it’s imperative that our hitters get to him early. #4 hitter Jay Bruce is hitting .229 on the season.
It’s time for the Mets to retire #8. September 23, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Gary Carter, Mets, Retire 8, Yogi Berra
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Yogi Berra has passed away. In his 90 years, he served as a player and coach, a Navy seaman at Normandy, a source of lighthearted comedy, and an inspiration to many young players and fans. Although he famously didn’t say everything he said, Yogi is a memorable character who will never be forgotten.
Yogi and his fellow #8, Gary Carter, have a lot in common. They are both remembered for accomplishments with other teams. Yogi’s #8 was retired by the Yankees in 1972, and he was memorialized in the Broadway play “Bronx Bombers.” Meanwhile, Carter is in Cooperstown as an Expo, despite his greatest success coming as a Met.
It’s been three years since Gary Carter passed away. He was an enormous part of baseball in the region, serving as a manager in the Mets’ minor league system and for the Long Island Ducks. Before he coached, Carter hit 324 home runs, 89 as a Met. He was at the core of the 1986 World Series Championship team. More importantly, Carter was known for his intensity and deep love of the game.
Both Berra and Carter were excellent catchers and excellent hitters, as well as team players. Their importance to the Mets wasn’t merely on-field, though. Both Carter and Berra are regarded as legends by the fans for their presence during formative times for the team. Just as Carter managed in the minor league system, Berra’s most important contributions to the Mets were as a coach and later a manager. In addition, both were active philanthropists after leaving the diamond.
Yogi Berra and Gary Carter weren’t the sole keys to victory on the field when they were Mets, but their presence had long and persistent effects on the Mets organization. Both men had Hall of Fame careers. Even if you can’t justify retiring #8 for Yogi’s brief tenure as a manager, or for Gary’s short but successful Mets career, numbers need not be retired only for on-field accomplishments. Yogi Berra and Gary Carter are two great men, two great hitters, catchers, coaches, and 8s. It’s time for the Mets to acknowledge their contributions not just on the field but to the brand and public image of the Mets.
AJ Pierzynski is a double-edged sword (Game 152 Preview) September 23, 2015Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
Tags: Braves, Mets
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Williams Perez starts tonight against Bartolo Colon in a game that, for the Mets, isn’t must-win. Still, it’s a game the Mets want to win to push their magic number (currently Wally Backman) down in order to clinch before the Nationals come to town.
ASIDE: The Mets’ magic number is 6. Winning tonight pushes it down to 5, meaning that the Mets could clinch just in time by going 3-1 against the Reds and 2-1 against the Phillies, even if the Orioles lose both remaining games to the Nationals. We can’t count on Washington losing to the Phillies, the Reds, or the Braves, so it’s imperative that the Mets force that number into 1967 Sandy Alomar territory.
With rookie catcher Christian Bethancourt out with a thumb injury, A.J. Pierzynski will catch Perez tonight. Pierzynski has been hard on Bartolo Colon this year – 5 singles in 12 plate appearances – compared to his career numbers against Colon (.271/.317/.4o7). Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has also brutalized Bart this year, 7-10 with a triple and two doubles for a .700/.727/1.100 slash line (and a career .550/.571/.750 line).
Pierzynski, though, hasn’t been Perez’s best batterymate. Perez has a season ERA of 5.16, but 5.26 in 66 innings with Pierzynski. With A.J. behind the plate, Perez allowed 3 runs to the Mets in a 6-inning no-decision on the way to a September 12 loss.
Despite Arodys Vizcaino‘s performance last night, the Mets can continue to beat up on the bullpen. Their best bet tonight is to wear Perez out as quickly as possible and get Fredi Gonzalez to go to his pen early.