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Good news, everyone! April 5, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Perhaps I’m just giddy with the excitement of the Mets notching their first win of the season last night. Everything seemed to fit together – Jenrry Mejia was solid early on, and despite two brushes with injury, he pitched six excellent innings (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (earned), 4 BB, 8 K) before turning it over to the bullpen. John Lannan is struggling as a reliever, credited with a hold despite allowing two runs on as many hits (one home run) and striking out one in his 2/3 of an inning; Kyle Farnsworth pitched a baffling perfect inning and a third before Jose Valverde came in and struck out one, walking one, to get his first save of the inning.

Professor Farnsworth was similarly perfect in nineteen games last year. Those include three appearances with one batter faced, four with two batters faced, thirteen complete innings, and one five-out situation. Three of the complete innings were finished games for Pittsburgh, where he finished seven games, most of them losses. Shockingly, Farnsworth blew only one save, earning two saves in Pittsburgh and two one-out holds in Tampa Bay. That means with last night’s hold, Farnsworth is halfway to last year’s mark. Hopefully, Farnsworth won’t be pressed into service as an emergency closer this year: His time in Tampa Bay had a 5.70 ERA and a .337 batting average on balls in play against a .298 league average BAbip. Since Tampa Bay’s team BAbip was .286, that means they got a little lucky, and Farnsworth got unlucky sometimes. When he headed to Pittsburgh, though, it was like Farns was a totally different player – and he was. Against an NL with a league average .296 BAbip, and playing for Pittsburgh with a team .289 BAbip against, Farnsworth’s BAbip was a surprisingly low .250. That’s a .087 drop from his Tampa Bay average, or about 2 hits every 23 balls in play. Hopefully, Farnsworth can keep up the luck in 2014, but frankly the better news would be if we had a more reliable setup man.

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