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Without Grandpa Burt in Attendance …. (Game 153 Preview) September 24, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Photo by Bill Kostroun (NY Post)

Photo by Bill Kostroun (NY Post)

Tonight’s game is a replay of July 28th, when a guy from Ward Melville High School, previously best known for having a delicious sandwich named after him, went 3 for 3 with a double and 4 RBIs up against a fellow rookie.

Steven Matz, whose grandfather was shocked and awed at Steven’s performance, has continued to maintain high performance standards since his debut. Meanwhile, Josh Smith of the Reds was laid off after July 4th, only to come back as a September callup. Since then, he’s been used twice in relief – a two-inning, one-hit appearance on September 8 and two runs and three hits in a third of an inning on the 13th – before being moved back into the rotation. In his most recent appearance, Smith started against the Brewers on September 19 and was lifted for reliever Brennan Boesch after four innings, 6 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts.

In 18 plate appearances in the July game, Mets had 4 hits and 4 walks (2 intentional). If you remove 3 IBBs from Smith’s 2015 line, his KBB is an anemic 1.17. His AAA numbers are significantly better (69 strikeouts and 23 unintentional walks [3.0 KBB] over 86 1/3 innings pitched), but Smith has been looking outclassed.

Matz faced the Reds only once, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. Since then, his KBB is at 2.6, so his control has improved since his debut. He’s been in front of a .250 BAbip, which is slightly better than the league average, but has helped his own cause with 3 hits.

The Mets enter with some defensive difficulties and Tyler Clippard has pitched the last three days; though Terry has used Clippard often, expect him to sit tonight unless the game goes into extra innings. Bobby Parnell hasn’t pitched since the 19th, so he’ll probably see some work tonight.

Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t homered since September 14 but is hitting .357 with a 1.114 OPS in his last four games; Michael Conforto is 2 for 12 over the same stretch. Lucas Duda will likely start against the right-handed Smith. Duda is hitting .100 over the last 4 games, but with a .400 OBP due in large part to 5 walks (2 intentional).

The Reds are 0-3 against the Mets with a -7 run differential; in September, they are 9-12, scored 95 runs and allowed 103 for a -8 run differential. Their last series was visiting the Cardinals, so the numbers don’t compare directly, but they were outscored 15-4.

The Mets’ magic number is 5, so a sweep of this 4-game series would leave them in position to clinch with a win in any of three games visiting Philadelphia.