Tags: bases loaded, Kelly Johnson, Mets, Mets game 133
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Is there anyone else you want up with the bases loaded?!
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 1, 2016
Including last night, Kelly has made six plate appearances as a Met with the bases loaded. In those appearances, he’s 2 for 6 with a 1.000 SLG: the expectation is that he should get exactly one base. As a team, the Mets hit .245/.242/.436, pretty abysmal; MLB in general hits .264/.299/.414. The Mets’ lower on-base percentage and higher slugging average indicates that hits are comparatively rare but are more likely to go for extra bases than the league as a whole. Kelly is better than other Mets and better than the league.
24 Mets have appeared with the bases loaded; 14 have hits. Justin Ruggiano hit a grand slam in his only appearance; Travis d’Arnaud hit singles in both of his and Alejandro De Aza is 3-4. The next three OBP leaders are David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Neil Walker, all of whom are out for the season. James Loney comes in at a .286 OBP, followed by Wilmer Flores and Yoenis Cespedes at .250, before things get ugly.
Travis hit .333/.556/.333 last year in 9 bases-loaded appearances; Cespedes was 2-5. So is there anyone else you want up? Maybe d’Arnaud – I still believe if he stays healthy he’ll make an excellent hitter, even though it will require moving him to another position to make it happen. Of course, it would have been impossible for d’Arndaud to come up, since he was on first base. (Cespedes was on third and Curtis Granderson was on second.) Given that, Johnson was the best we could have hoped for, and he delivered.
Fewer runs, grouped more tightly (Mets Game 133 Preview) August 31, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Mets, runs per game
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There’s no question that the Mets have had a different season than we expected. Part of that is due to the unexpected injuries to our pitching staff – this would be a different season if Matt Harvey had been healthy, if Zack Wheeler had recovered more quickly, if Steven Matz had been consistently himself – but part of it is due to the Mets’ run-scoring.
In the regular season of 2015, the Mets were shut out 15 times, a little over 9% of their games. That’s higher than this year’s 9 shutouts, which are just a shade under 7% of their games so far. Still, the Mets had more high-scoring games last year than this year, as well: about 6.8% of games scored double digit runs in 2015, versus 5.3% this year. The Mets scored 4.2 runs per game last year, and that’s dropped to 3.9; all this is happening while the average runs per game in the National League is rising, so the impact of that .3 R/G is amplified. Finally, last year, the Mets spread their run production; the standard deviation of runs per game was about 3.25, versus 2.9 this year. To put it differently, this year fewer runs are being scored, and they’re having fewer blowout games. A lower level of variability would be an improvement if the Mets hit more, but as it stands their consistency is harming them.
Bartolo Colon starts tonight against right-hander David Phelps. Yoenis Cespedes, who has as many home runs as Lucas Duda had all season last year, is 2-12 with 2 walks against Phelps, while Jay Bruce has hit 3-7 and walked three times. James Loney has a .333 OBP facing David, while Wilmer Flores has a .400/.429/1.000 slash line in 7 plate appearances. Even Bartolo has a hit in three at-bats against Phelps.
Having held down the last two games with shaky starters, it would be criminal for the Mets to collapse in a game like this. As long as Terry Collins finds a place to stash Flores, as long as Jay Bruce brings his old self with him, as long as Asdrubal Cabrera or Jose Reyes hits the way he has against Phelps in the past, this should be strong performance for Colon. Though current Marlins have hit him well, he can hold it down until Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia can finish the game off.
One down, three to go (Mets Game 132 Preview) August 30, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Marlins, Mets, Mets Game 132, Tom Koehler
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Rafael Montero exceeded expectations last night, tossing five innings of two-hit baseball; his command wasn’t where we’d hoped, but his six walks didn’t end up hurting the team. Jose Reyes manufactured a tying run and Yoenis Cespedes‘ tenth-inning homer snagged the win for Josh Smoker.
Smoker has pitched each of the last three games; Terry Collins obviously didn’t want to use him last night, but the tenth inning left him few options. (I half expected Bartolo Colon to warm up.) The night did get Jim Henderson some rest, though, and Jerry Blevins is rubber-armed. Collins isn’t shy about using Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia every night in key situations. Hansel Robles is also available and may need to redeem himself. It was telling that Collins went to the exhausted Smoker rather than Robles for a back-to-back outing.
The Marlins will start Tom Koehler tonight against Seth Lugo. The Mets’ bullpen is where the Marlins are likely to get an edge; however, Koehler has had a solid August, with a 2.61 ERA and a .237/.278/.381 slash line allowed with a .278 BAbip. That’s slightly luckier than his 4.18 ERA, .262/.348/.394 and .307 BAbip through July. Koehler may be turning it up, or he may be benefiting from slightly better or luckier defense.
Travis d’Arnaud has hit Koehler hard: he’s 7-17 (.412) but has four walks in 21 plate appearances. Jay Bruce is also 2-3 with a walk, with Neil Walker and Jose Reyes other Mets at or above the .500 OBP mark against Koehler. Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera have OPS marks above 1.0. Koehler has a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Mets this year, allowing 1.364 baserunners per inning pitched but with a 4.9 K9. A well-constructed lineup with a healthy Cabrera-Walker middle infield would go a long way tonight, but the Mets should still be able to put this one away behind Lugo.
|Alejandro De Aza||8||8||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000||.000|
Dig Deep, Rafael (Mets Game 131 Preview) August 29, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Marlins, Mets, Mets game 131
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The Mets open a four-game series against the Marlins tonight. The Marlins are 8 games behind the first-place Nationals with a magic number of 25; the Mets can be eliminated from NL East contention by any combination of wins by the Nationals and losses by the Mets totaling 24. With 32 games left for each of those teams, even a .500 finish by the Nationals would require the Mets to go 25-7 over the stretch. That means nearly 4 wins for every loss – difficult to achieve.
Meanwhile, the Mets are 2.5 games behind the second wild card in the NL (St Louis) and 5 games behind wild card leader San Francisco. Since overtaking the second wild card necessarily involves passing the Marlins, this series is crucial – up to an 8-game swing hangs in the balance.
Surely, the Mets are bringing their best hurlers, right?
Rafael Montero starts for the Mets tonight against Jose Fernandez. In 24 games in relief for AAA Las Vegas, Montero has a 6.54 ERA. Although that’s a bit inflated, he’s still got a 2.95 ERA at AA Binghamton, and has started only twice. Montero is, of course, a bit of a sore spot for Mets fans after Terry Collins_going_to_see_injured_ra.html”>taking most of last season off. With Montero’s depth in question, and with him making his first major league start of the year, the Mets’ bullpen will be crucial. However, Josh Smoker and Jim Henderson each pitched both of the last two games; Hansel Robles has had a difficult August following a fantastic July, carrying a 10.38 ERA in 13 innings over 12 games. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia are both available, and Jerry Blevins pitched only 2/3 of an inning last night, but otherwise the bridge to the 8th inning will be Sean Gilmartin.
With Seth Lugo starting tomorrow’s game, this is a crucial win for the Mets. Tomorrow, Henderson and Smoker will be rested and Terry Collins will have a bit more flexibility. If ever there was a time for Montero to dig deep, it’s today.
Do the Mets have it right against the Diamondbacks? August 7, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Diamondbacks, Mets, Platoon splits
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The Mets are idle on Monday but begin a homestand on Tuesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They’ll also see the San Diego Padres before heading to Arizona to face the Diamondbacks and play a four-game series against San Francisco and three against the Cardinals.
The Dbacks are notable as one of the most right-handed lineups in the majors. Arizona’s left-handed batters have made only 1149 plate appearances as of Sunday morning; for comparison, the Phillies have had 1896, Miami 1477, Washington 1881, and Atlanta a whopping 2386. Fortunately, the rotation is leaning toward some of our least effective starters against lefties.
Although Tuesday night starter Steven Matz is a southpaw, he takes a beating against lefties. He allows a .308 OBP to righties but a .348 OBP against left-handers. Wednesday night starter Bartolo Colon is about even (.298 OBP regardless of handedness), and Thursday afternoon starter Noah Syndergaard allows a .333 OBP to left-handers but holds right-handers to a .257 mark.
Outfielder Jake Lamb is likely to be the hardest lefty to get rid of. Fortunately, Erik Goeddel has held lefties to a .219 OBP in 32 plate appearances (.220 vs right-handers in 59 PA). Goeddel has really been a sleeper for the Mets this year, although those numbers are deflated a bit by a lower-than-average BAbip. That means that the Mets can confidently use Goeddel regardless of the arrangement of batters. In addition, traditional LOOGY Josh Edgin is available for crucial outs, even as alleged left-handed specialist Jerry Blevins has allowed a .275 OBP to left-handers against a .250 OBP to right-handers.
Future Mets closer Hansel Robles has continued his weird reverse split; he’s holding lefties to a .272 OBP while allowing a .333 OBP to righties (inflated a bit by a high BAbip). That’s not as good as Addison Reed (.193 vs RHB, .262 vs LHB), but it’s still fairly solid. Robles, incidentally, is 5-0 with 3 holds and a 2.28 ERA on a very slightly high BAbip since his 3 2/3 of relief for Bartolo Colon. Although he melted down against Mark Teixeira, he’s still maintained a 3.0 KBB ratio in those last 16 games.
Home runs and non-homer RBIs May 31, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: home runs, Neil Walker, RBIs, weird lines
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While at yesterday’s Mets game, a friend of mine pointed out that Neil Walker had a surprisingly high ratio of home runs to RBIs – at the time, it was 12 homers to 23 RBIs, or a ratio of about .522 homers per RBI. That boils down to Walker hitting a ton of solo homers, including the only run scored in yesterday’s game. True, a lot of that is because Yoenis Cespedes tends to clear the bases before Walker gets a chance to drive in the runners, but that does beg the question – what does the typical hitter’s ratio look like?
Of players with 150 plate appearances or more, the surprise leader isn’t Walker, but Curtis Granderson. As a leadoff hitter, that makes sense: he gets more chances than Walker to hit homers with no one one, since he gets an opportunity every game. Grandy’s hit four homers to open the first inning and 5 midgame, including his walkoff against Pedro Baez.
As a curiosity, there are seven qualified batters who have no home runs this season: Cesar Hernandez, Billy Burns, Francisco Cervelli, Austin Jackson, Erick Aybar, Alcides Escobar, and Martin Prado. Escobar is bringing up the rear with 230 plate appearances. Of the top 10 players in HR per RBI, only Walker and Giancarlo Stanton are in the double digits for home runs (each with 12).
Unsurprisingly, there’s a strong correlation (ρ = 0.78) between HR/RBI and number of home runs; longball hitters tend to hit them whether there are runners on base or not. Probably the strongest statistical interpretation we can offer here is that RBIs are a pretty lousy way to evaluate hitters; they contain little information that simply measuring home runs, slugging average (ρ = 0.46) or OPS (ρ = 0.315) doesn’t offer.
It’s possible that a high HR/RBI ratio would indicate that a batter performs poorly in the clutch: the player doesn’t hit homers with men on base. In order to justify that interpretation, though, we’d need significantly more evidence and to do some statistical testing to see if he really did hit differently with runners in scoring position than without. It may be that, like Walker, there just aren’t that many opportunities. The only time this seems to be a red flag statistic would be for a hitter who plays with a team full of high-OBP, low-SLG hitters, indicating that there are usually men on base and he doesn’t drive them home. Otherwise, for guys like Walker and Stanton, it’s just a fun eye-bugging stat.
Tags: Mat Latos, Mets Game 50, Mets Game 51, Steven Matz
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After two rough outings including notching a condor win and allowing the winning runs in a tied ballgame, Jeurys Familia was back to his old form on Monday afternoon. Familia pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, to save Matt Harvey‘s seven innings of shutout baseball. Harvey’s last regular season sniff of the seventh inning came on August 11 of 2015. Addison Reed also showed closer-level stuff, striking out two in a perfect inning of his own. Jim Henderson and Jerry Blevins were warmed up in case of emergency, but the game was otherwise a B-squad gem, with solid defense from Alejandro De Aza, Ty Kelly, and especially Wilmer Flores during their rare starts.
The series against the White Sox continues Tuesday, with Steven Matz seeing most of the White Sox for the first time. Todd Frazier is 1-6 against Matz and Austin Jackson is 0-1; meanwhile, many of the Mets have hit against Mat Latos with mixed results. Neil Walker has a .280/.400/.560 line, owing to 4 walks and 2 home runs in 20 plate appearances. Yoenis Cespedes is 0-5, while De Aza and Juan Lagares have had a bit more success. Lefty James Loney is expected to start at first base; he’s hit Latos at a .350 clip with 2 home runs in 20 plate appearances. Eric Campbell is 2-4 with two walks against Latos, for a monster .750 OBP. With Lagares quite successful, expect him to get the start and Michael Conforto to sit as a pinch hit threat.
As this was being written, the Mets hadn’t announced who they’ll send down to make room for Loney. I think the right move is to keep Kelly as the second-round pinch hitter behind De Aza to allow Campbell to play every day in Las Vegas. Kelly runs reasonably well and with Flores back up we don’t have as imminent a need for an infielder who can play shortstop. With a seven-man bullpen, and with roles well-defined, sending down a reliever is a bad move at this point.
With David Wright possibly headed to the disabled list due to a herniated disc, Flores may get the start at third; Ty Kelly or Eric Campbell is likely more useful off the bench to enable a double switch or as a pinch runner. That opens up another option to make room for Loney – keep both Campbell and Kelly, but put Wright on the disabled list.
Whichever direction the Mets go, they built up quite a bit of momentum against Jose Quintana on Monday. The White Sox’ anemic hitting, Matt Harvey’s strong start, the bench’s solid performance in the field, and Jeurys Familia pulling himself together mean that they should be able to knock Mat Latos out of the box early and gain on the one-game lead the Nationals currently hold. The Nationals won 4-3 against Philadelphia Monday night; they see the Phillies again Tuesday.
Tags: Bartolo Colon, Clayton Kershaw, Mets game 48, Mets game 49
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After a 9-1 loss last night, the Mets have thus far split the season series with the Dodgers 3-3. The final game is this evening at Citi. Tensions are high following Chase Utley‘s extremely strong performance and Noah Syndergaard‘s ejection for throwing behind Utley in the third inning.
You can’t comment on game 48 without weighing in on the Utley-Syndergaard controversy, so let me just say this: it’s ridiculous that Syndergaard’s manager is worried he’ll be suspended for not hitting Utley, after Utley never served a suspension for a malicious dropkick slide at Ruben Tejada. For Syndergaard to be ejected the same day Tejada is designated for assignment, and for Utley to then hit the go-ahead homer and hit a grand slam, seems almost like a lazy literary device in a bad baseball novel.
The Mets, though, have work to do. Hansel Robles seemed listless; he allowed Utley’s grand slam in his first inning of work, relieving Antonio Bastardo in the seventh, but otherwise got out of the inning with two strikeouts and a fly ball. In the eighth, though, Hansel allowed two more home runs and two walks (sneaking a double play in in the process). Robles wasn’t the same during the eighth, and it seemed like he had lost interest in it by the time Jerry Blevins relieved him.
As for Syndergaard, he half-jokingly suggested he’d be available:
I'm fresh. Can be available from pen. Just saying. #LGM
— Noah Syndergaard (@Noahsyndergaard) May 29, 2016
Logan Verrett is probably unavailable after throwing 43 pitches in 3 2/3 innings last night; Bastardo tossed only 13, Robles 27, Blevins only 8 and Jim Henderson 16. Robles is almost surely available only in a pinch, but Bastardo is probably available. Nevertheless, having Syndergaard ready to pitch out of the bullpen does give the Mets some much-needed bullpen flexibility from a confident reliever. I’d be unsurprised to see him pitch Monday or Tuesday, but pitching him today might throw off his schedule.
Bartolo Colon starts tonight. Bart is unflappable; expect very little in the way of aftershocks from him. Utley has hit him mercilessly, 10-20 career with 2 doubles and a home run. Adrian Gonzalez is 13-28 (.464) with two doubles and three homers. Catcher Yasmani Grandal also has an OPS near 1, with a .250 average on 8 plate appearances including a homer of his own. Otherwise, the usual suspects are quiet: Justin Turner is 1-12, Carl Crawford 6-36, Howie Kendrick and anemic 3-25.
Still, it’s going to be hard to hit Clayton Kershaw. James Loney is 1-1 against Kershaw, but hasn’t joined the team yet. Likely first baseman Eric Campbell is hitless in 6 plate appearances against Clayton, as is Kevin Plawecki (6 PAs) and Alejandro De Aza (5). Usual threats Neil Walker, Yoenis Cespedes, and Juan Lagares are each 1-12, with David Wright and Asdrubal Cabrera each also at or below the Mendoza line. In fact, only Asdrubal Cabrera (.286/.375/.286) and backup catcher Rene Rivera (.250/.333/.250) are above the .200 mark. Wright, however, has walked 7 times in 28 plate appearances; one of those came on May 12 of this year in Colon’s uncharacteristic 5-0 loss to Kershaw. Wright sat on Saturday and will sit on Monday.
In order for the Mets to take the season series against the Dodgers, Colon will need to neutralize Utley. Defense is more important than usual, since Kershaw makes so few mistakes. Kershaw hasn’t allowed a home run since April 26 and has surrendered only 3 this year, so it’s incumbent on players like Wright and Granderson to get on base regardless of the circumstances and players like Cabrera and Walker to move them over. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Mets can squeeze a longball out of Kershaw – they’ve been very good at it this year – and as long as they keep the defensive pressure on, this game is eminently winnable.
Syndergaard and Utley (Mets Game 48 Preview) May 28, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Kenta Maeda, Mets game 48, Noah Syndergaard
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Tonight, Noah Syndergaard takes the mound against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda. The Mets enter tonight’s game 3-2 on the season against the Dodgers, following a near miss by normally lights-out closer Jeurys Familia.
The Dodgers’ Chase Utley has been, frankly, ridiculous this year. Utley has been producing in key positions for the Dodgers. After last year’s disappointing .212/.286/.343 season, Utley has raised his batting average to .292 and added almost a full .100 to his on-base percentage (chiefly by walking more). Utley is dangerous on base, scoring a run over 40% of the time. Though there’s speculation that Syndergaard will murder Utley, the Mets seem to have made their peace with him and are letting the fans exact his punishment – although, frankly, he’s batting in so many runs that I wish they’d just hit him instead of giving him the chance to clear the bases.
However, Syndergaard has had his way with Utley. In 8 plate appearances, Utley has only gotten on base once – a single. Noah has been similarly effective against Howie Kendrick (1-11), Yasmani Grandal (1-7), and Yasiel Puig (1-6). On the other side, former Met and current troll doll Justin Turner has been successful (2-6, both doubles). Enrique Hernandez is 1-1 with two walks, one intentional.
As for Maeda, Mets fans may recall him as the dude Noah hit two home runs off of a few weeks ago. Other Mets haven’t been as effective: Michael Conforto, Neil Walker, and Asdrubal Cabrera are each 1-3, but no one else has hit him. This one is going to require Syndergaard to pitch effectively and our batters to leave it on the field. Syndergaard’s numbers versus current Dodgers are below.
Jeurys Familia earns the rare Condor Win May 28, 2016Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
Tags: Jeurys Familia, Mets game 47
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I thought the story of last night’s game would be Julio Urias, but I was wrong.
May 27 was the worst outing Jeurys Familia has had since 2012. He came into a non-save situation – four runs up, but he hadn’t worked in a few days – and promptly allowed singles to Adrian Gonzalez and Howie Kendrick before striking out Joc Pederson. Yasiel Puig singled, followed by Yasmani Grandal walking to force in a run. Trayce Thompson struck out, but Chase Utley squeaked a two-out double to clear the bases. With the game now tied, Familia struck out Corey Seager to end the inning. (Fortunately, Curtis Granderson picked him up with a home run.)
I’ve heard some people describing Jeurys’ win last night as a ‘vulture win,’ but I disagree. A vulture win is granted when a pitcher blows the save but wins the game anyway. Familia didn’t blow the save – he blew a non-save situation. That’s much bigger than a vulture win – it’s a condor win.
The lore around Familia has become that he’s a high-pressure worker – that he pitches well in save situations, but that he can’t manage to bring it home when he just comes in to stay busy. I’m not so sure that’s true.
First, this year’s numbers: Jeurys has had 16 save oppportunities in 2016, over which he’s had 60 plate appearances, held opposing batters to a .207/.233/.224 slash line, and walked 2 batters while striking out 12 for a 6.00 KBB. In 2015, there were only eight relievers (who pitched in 40 games or more and relieved 95% of their games) to keep a KBB above 6; that number will likely come down a bit, although Familia’s pitching style means it’s likely to stay above average. (A list of last year’s relievers sorted by KBB is here.) Meanwhile, in his 8 non-save situations this year, Jeurys has allowed a .371/.421/.486 slash line over 38 plate appearances with 9 strikeouts but 3 walks. Hm – not closer stuff, definitely, but keep in mind that Jeurys’ defense tends to help him out more in save situations. His BAbip in save situations this year has been .261 – below the league average, which hovers around .300, by a bit – but in non-saves it’s been considerably worse, at an even .500. This could indicate that the defense behind Jeurys plays a role in those results.
In fact, last year’s numbers bear out a significantly similar trend:
|in Sv Situ||49||199||185||12||37||5||12||55||4.58||.200||.247||.314||.561||.254|
The results are similar, with a slight nudge upward in non-save situations, but Jeurys gets significantly ‘luckier’ with BAbip when he’s in for the save.