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Somos Familia, and White Sox Meet the Matz (Mets Game 51 preview) May 31, 2016

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Steven Matz. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III via Wikimedia Commons.

Steven Matz. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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It was the best of pitching; it was the worst of pitching. April 8, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I’ll be honest. This was scheduled to be a ridiculous gushing post about Madison Bumgarner completing a totally meaningless milestone. After finishing the final game of the World Series and earning a save1, he pitched seven innings to open the season for the Giants this season. That means Madison threw twelve consecutive innings, which sounded pretty impressive.

Unfortunately for Madison, the 2003 version of Josh Beckett did it better. He pitched a complete game to clinch the World Series for Florida and then opened the 2004 season with seven innings of one-run ball.Fortunately, Mat Latos bravely crumbled during last night’s game to provide the sports blogging community with material. Mat was knocked out of the box after only two outs, having given up a respectable seven runs before getting the hook. According to Baseball-Reference, no pitcher has lasted less than one full inning on opening day since 1982.

Latos is, however, in good company with his season-starting ERA of 94.50. Jose Contreras started on Opening Day for Chicago in 2007 and lasted only one inning, giving up 7 runs; Carl Pavano did the same in 2009 for Cleveland, giving up 9 runs in the process. Both salvaged their seasons respectably, but – and this is my Mets homer bias coming out – let’s hope Latos is remarkably consistent this year.

1 This was the right call by the official scorer, but I really wish he’d declared Jeremy Affeldt “ineffective in a brief appearance” to give Mad Bum the win. Yes, I can call 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, no-run ball during which the Giants took the lead they never relinquished both “ineffective” and “brief,” compared to Bumgarner’s five-inning save.

Early one-hitters June 11, 2010

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Last night was an unusual confluence of events, in that the Mets lost the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Padres and won the second game, with Jonathon Niese pitching a one-hit complete game in his 18th career appearance. That seems fairly unusual, so I generated a table with pitcher W, Complete game, 1 hit or less. It turns out that since 1920 there have only been 55 of them, and one of them belonged to the Padres’ game one starter, Mat Latos.

The complete table is here.