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Mets Game 2 Commentary: Sometimes, you just know. April 6, 2017

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Hansel Robles entered last night’s game looking nervous. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and promptly gave up a tying run.

Hansel’s a tough pitcher to have in your bullpen, and we saw why last year and during the World Baseball Classic. Despite a thoroughly impressive outing in the Mets’ opener, he seemed easily shaken last night and allowed a Nick Markakis triple that turned into a run. He promptly walked Brandon Phillips, allowed an Adonis Garcia double on which Phillips was thankfully held at third, and then plunked Kurt Suzuki. Though Hansel has had his anger issues in the past, this one wasn’t intentional; Terry Collins removed him for Jerry Blevins because Hansel was having one of his trademark meltdowns.

You never know before the game which Hansel will come in, but he was visibly shaken when he got started. I’m starting to wonder, especially after the Mark Texeira incident, whether he should be on a beta blocker or something.

Despite a strong hitting performance by Jay Bruce (3-5, HR, 2B), 0-4s from Lucas Duda and Asdrubal Cabrera and 0-5s from Neil Walker and Curtis Granderson meant that the team couldn’t recover from Robles’ one run and Blevins’ cleanup. Though the backbone of the bullpen – Fernando Salas and Addison Reed – got us through the regular innings, lefty specialist Josh Edgin uncharacteristically had to work a full inning and the Mets went to erstwhile long man Rafael Montero. Montero was so-so, allowing three walks (one intentional) and three hits in an inning and 2/3.

Matt Harvey starts tonight against Jaime Garcia. Harvey has held Freddie Freeman to a .167 OBP in 18 plate appearances but has had considerably more trouble with Ender Inciarte and Jace Peterson. Curiously, Chase d’Arnaud is 1-3 against Harvey, but probably won’t be wedged into the lineup tonight. Meanwhile, Garcia has allowed OBPs over .400 to Lucas Duda (.750), Asdrubal Cabrera (.500) and Wilmer Flores (.429). Bruce has seen the most of Garcia but fared poorly – .224/.235/.306 in 51 plate appearances. It’s too early in the season to play mix and match, especially with Michael Conforto the main option to relieve Bruce against the lefty Garcia – not going to happen. I wouldn’t be stunned to see Ty Kelly start the game in the field, since he’s got a very good numbers in a small sample against left-handers (.368/.500/.474 in 12 plate appearances), but the blowback against that decision and the chance it would disrupt Bruce’s positive reception make that unlikely.

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Mets Game 1 Recap: It’s Good To Be Back In The Balkans April 4, 2017

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Robert Gsellman, closer, apparently

Although the absence of Jeurys Familia loomed large for the Mets, the bullpen didn’t end up being as much of a concern as many of us expected for the first several innings of the Mets’ first game of the season. Although Hansel Robles pitched a perfect inning to relieve Noah Syndergaard in a 0-0 game, by the time Fernando Salas came in the game was well in hand. Fifth starter Robert Gsellman closed the game, presumably on his throw day, to avoid using an additional reliever to finish off a game that was already over.

This was a three-part story: first, the Mets’ productive batters; second, the Braves’ depressing bullpen; and third, bullpen pitchers stepping up.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit in 3 of 5 plate appearances and stole a base, totaling a .191 increase in the Mets’ win probability. That was more than double the next best Mets hitter, the surprisingly patient Jay Bruce, who added .073 win probability going 0-1 with three walks. Bruce currently has a .750 OBP and a .000 batting average, but he’s never been much of a walker: his OBP-BA split was .059 last year and has hovered between .06 and .07 for most of his career.

As soon as Julio Teheran handed the reins to lefty Ian Krol in the seventh inning, things started to unravel. Catcher Rene Rivera singled, followed by pinch hitter Wilmer Flores getting on via fielder’s choice and swiping second, Jose Reyes walking, and Cabrera driving Flores home. In a weird matchup decision, righty Chaz Roe came in and walked Yoenis Cespedes, only to be immediately lifted for lefty Eric O’Flaherty to face Curtis Granderson. A sac fly later, Reyes was home. The aptly-named Neil Walker took first on balls after Cespedes stole second. Bruce walked to force Cabrera in, Lucas Duda doubled the bases clear, and Travis d’Arnaud walked. Jose Ramirez came in to pick up the pieces, and despite a passed ball by Tyler Flowers, he coaxed a groundout from Flores to end the six-run, four-walk inning.

O’Flaherty had a difficult 2016, and despite being a left specialist, he was nothing special against either group of batters: he allowed lefties a .288/.329/.439 slash line, and his numbers against right-handers were even worse.

Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas both acquitted themselves admirably, Salas with two strikeouts and Robles with two groundouts and a K. Those two groundouts are key for Robles, who struggles with the longball. He allowed 7 homers in 77 2/3 innings with around a .44 ground/fly ratio on a close-to-average .308 BAbip. In a small park like Citi Field, that low ground/fly is a dangerous number, so it was great to see him keeping the ball down.

The Mets are idle today and line up against Bartolo Colon on Wednesday. Expect a similar bullpen, with Robles in high-leverage situations to keep closer Addison Reed fresh, and probably expect to see Reed either way.

I’m Still With 47 September 21, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Hansel Robles took the loss last night on an ugly line – 2/3 of an inning pitched, 5 runs on 3 hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. It was a tough way to lose – the story of the game was Matt Harvey leaving after five shutout innings of one-hit baseball and, so the narrative goes, Robles coming in to crap it up. I’d like to suggest that it’s not entirely fair to throw this all on Robles.

Robles’ first batter was Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on a throwing error by second baseman Daniel Murphy. His second batter was Brett Gardner, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Ellsbury was safe on the fielder’s choice due to a catching error by David Wright. Let’s keep track of that – although the official scorer considers Gardner to be Robles’ only earned run, Gardner should have grounded out.

At that point, Carlos Beltran hit a double, which should have been a completely innocuous hit with no one on. Brian McCann struck out – inning over, in a parallel universe where Juan Uribe hadn’t suffered an injury coming out of the game (or where Wilmer Flores or Kelly Johnson comes in to play second, rather than Murphy). Even allowing for Gardner to reach safely and Beltran to bat him home, that gets followed up by a wild pitch with Greg Bird at the plate, followed by walking Bird, and a swinging strikeout of Chase Headley. Worst case scenario, Robles gives up the tying run.

From there, it’s a totally different ballgame – Sean Gilmartin or Addison Reed comes in to at worst a tied game in the 7th, followed up by a chance for Tyler Clippard or Reed to take the eighth and Jeurys Familia closing to the strains of “Danza Kuduro” in the ninth. Don’t get me wrong – Collins has made a lot of excellent moves this season. Last night’s sixth was a comedy of (literally) errors, but a few other moves made it look like Collins had decided the game was already out of hand by the seventh.

World’s Worst Mets Preview, Game 145 vs Miami September 15, 2015

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Jacob deGrom at bat. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III

Jacob deGrom at bat. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III

Last night’s win against the Marlins of Miami had several positives:

  • The triumphant return of Hansel Robles
  • A baserunning error by Juan Lagares that in the end was still not that big a deal
  • Kyle Barraclough allowing his second earned run of the season, causing his ERA to grow to 0.96. You heard what I said. ERAs can grow to .96.

Several indicators tonight point toward the positives continuing. With a magic number of 10, the Mets are starting Jacob deGrom against Stony Brook alum Tom Koehler. Since August 1, Koehler has a 5.48 ERA; over his last five games, that drops to 5.34 with a 1-3 record. That is, however, working with a pretty nasty .345 batting average on balls in play. His season BAbip is .276, which indicates that the defense behind him may be lacking.

Mets have hit Koehler reasonably well:

Name PA AB H HR SO BA OBP SLG
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 8 5 2 1 0 .400 .625 1.200
Travis d’Arnaud 16 12 5 0 1 .417 .563 .583
Yoenis Cespedes 6 6 3 0 0 .500 .500 1.167
Kevin Plawecki 2 2 1 0 1 .500 .500 .500
Ruben Tejada 27 22 7 0 1 .318 .423 .500
Curtis Granderson 23 19 4 0 5 .211 .348 .211
David Wright 27 24 6 0 6 .250 .333 .375
Lucas Duda 30 24 3 0 6 .125 .300 .208
Daniel Murphy 30 27 6 1 2 .222 .300 .333
Wilmer Flores 11 11 3 0 2 .273 .273 .455
Juan Lagares 23 23 6 0 2 .261 .261 .348
Michael Cuddyer 8 8 2 0 1 .250 .250 .375
Jacob deGrom 8 7 1 0 4 .143 .250 .143
Eric Young 14 12 1 0 1 .083 .214 .167
Kelly Johnson 10 10 2 0 3 .200 .200 .200
Michael Conforto 5 5 1 1 2 .200 .200 .800
Anthony Recker 9 8 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Dilson Herrera 3 3 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000
Juan Uribe 3 3 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Eric Campbell 2 2 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Total 275 242 53 3 47 .219 .308 .347
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/15/2015.

If Terry wanted to start a lineup based on those stats, we’d have an outfield made up of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson; Lucas Duda at first, Ruben Tejada at short, Daniel Murphy at second, David Wright at third, and Travis d’Arnaud catching. (Aside from starting Kirk rather than Michael Conforto, that’s pretty much our standard lineup anyway.) Since Kirk got the start on Sunday, starting him again so soon, and leaving Conforto on the bench, might be a suspect move, but there’s quite a bit to be said for the strong bench that gives Terry a left-handed option (in Conforto) and a right-handed option (Juan Uribe) who both have some pop.

Marlins closer A.J. Ramos last pitched on the 12th; his last blown save was September 4, and he hasn’t allowed a run since. The overall Marlins bullpen has a 3.40 ERA, but performs slightly worse in high-leverage situations than in other situations; the Marlins as a team have a 5.19 ERA against the Mets this year.

This is a game where a few runs early on will make a big difference for the Mets, and as long as they leverage their high OBP against Koehler, they can keep pushing the magic number down.

Preview for Mets Game 140, September 10 September 10, 2015

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Coming into tonight’s game against the Mets, the Braves are on a Meh streak: they took two from a terrible Phillies team over the past few nights, with scores of 7-2, 0-5, 8-1. Closer Arodys Vizcaino hasn’t pitched since the first game of that series; over those three games, the Braves bullpen threw 6 innings and gave up 3 runs, but all of those were in the 0-5 loss. The bullpen has thrown 422 1/3 innings this year and has a 4.67 ERA, but expect to see Vizcaino regardless as it’s been a few days since he worked.

Starter Shelby Miller has been hot and cold; he’s coming off a 4 1/3, 6-earned-run outing on September 5th, and he’s allowed 3 or more earned runs in three of his last four. However, when he’s good, he’s good: he has 2 complete games this year, both shutouts. Miller will probably be given a lot of rope tonight, which is fantastic for Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy; Murphy is 3 for 7 lifetime against Miller with a double, and Duda is 3 for 8 with a double and a home run. David Wright is 3 for 6 against Miller, with Juan Uribe 1 for 7; Uribe’s OPS in Turner Field is an anemic .638, so expect to see Juan as a pinch hitter if you see him at all.

The Closer Monkey has Tyler Clippard on the vulture save watch because Jeurys Familia has pitched in the last three games, but Clippard has pitched in three of the last four and allowed runs in two of them; Clippard may come in for emergency firefighting, but with Clippard and Familia both fairly gassed (6 2/3 innings combined since September 6), I think it’s more likely we’ll see Hansel Robles handed the eighth and Addison Reed take the ninth. Again, that’s if we see them at all; Bartolo Colon hasn’t pitched back-to-back complete games since 2003, but the way the Mets have been hitting, Bart may get us seven or eight good innings and a strong lead. In that case we’d be more likely to see Bobby Parnell given an opportunity to win the fans back.