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Well, That’s a Thor Spot (Mets Game 2 commentary) April 6, 2016

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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Noah Syndergaard pitched six innings and gave up three hits and one walk, striking out nine, in his season debut. Jim Henderson and Addison Reed notched holds, and Jeurys Familia grabbed his first save of the season. Noted pest Eric Hosmer walked in the sixth inning following a steal by Lorenzo Cain, but was otherwise kept from buzzing around.

Kansas City’s Chris Young took a tough loss (game score of 54) with 93 pitches over 5 innings. Ordinarily, holding the opposition to two runs would be good enough for a win – Kansas City averaged 4.47 runs per game in 2015 – but Syndergaard and the bullpen kept it quiet. Luke Hochevar was a bright spot. He’s come in as a fireman in both games this season, pitching a third of an inning each time with two inherited runners. This season, he’s allowed 0 runs on four inherited. Last year, Luke had 20 inherited runners and scored six, all of which came when he inherited two runners and both scored. Thus far, Hochevar has been excellent as a bridge between a struggling reliever and the next inning, and used like this, he could potentially work every day. He allowed David Wright a high-leverage walk to load the bases, but struck out Yoenis Cespedes to end the inning with Juan Lagares and Travis d’Arnaud on base.

By slgckgc on Flickr (Original version), UCinternational (Crop). CC BY 2.0

By slgckgc on Flickr (Original version), UCinternational (Crop). CC BY 2.0

Meanwhile, Jim Henderson struck out two for a perfect frame in the seventh, bridging the Mets from Syndergaard to setup man Addison Reed. Henderson lost some velocity on his fastball following Tommy John surgery but averaged 95.86 mph last night. I was expecting him to slow it down as a contrast from Syndergaard, but he kept the pressure on very nicely.

Travis d’Arnaud is having a slow start to the season, on base twice (walks) in eight plate appearances; Salvador Perez, the Royals’ catcher, is on once (single) in six. Catchers are expected to have slow beginnings, but some of them are in great shape so far. Oakland catcher Josh Phegley singled and doubled before being lifted for a pinch hitter; he’s got an OBP of 1.000 in those two appearances. Fellow catchers Chris Iannetta (.750/.857/.750), Nick Hundley (.500/.625/1.000) and Buster Posey (.333/.556/.833) all have OBPs over .500 to start the season. Noted try-hard Blake Swihart is 0-2 (one K) but walked twice; he’s hitting .000/.500/.000 in his only game so far. The median catcher has a .268 OBP so far this year, compared to .294 across last season.

The Mets are idle until Friday afternoon. Jacob deGrom is slated to start, with Bartolo Colon to start on Saturday, but if Baby deGrom makes an appearance, the Mets haven’t ruled out using Bartolo or Steven Matz on Friday. Future Mets closer Hansel Robles has now completed his suspension; expect him to be used in a role similar to Henderson’s moving forward.


The state of the bullpen is wrong August 20, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Over at CloserMonkey, the current Mets closer hierarchy has Jeurys Familia as the closer, Tyler Clippard in the second slot, and …. Carlos Torres third in line? Fascinating.

Torres was upgraded above Bobby Parnell on August 16, at which point Torres promptly allowed 3 runs, 2 earned. Over Torres’ last 15 appearances, stemming back to June 27, Torres has 17.1 IP and a 3.12 ERA – solid for a reliever, but not closer stuff.

Meanwhile, my current favorite pitcher, Hansel Robles, has pitched a similar 17.1 since June 28 (in his last 15 appearances), but with an ERA of 2.60. However, Robles has two issues:

  • Torres has allowed an alarming 50% of his 10 inherited runners to score. Robles has allowed an inexcusable 100% of his 6 inherited runners to score.
  • Torres is battling a .348 BAbip against; Robles has gotten lucky with a .206 BAbip.

Robles is 25 this year. He’s going to be a fantastic reliever, and I’m looking forward to seeing his development.

Everybody’s Stupid Except Me April 21, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Or, why is there a guy being paid to manage the team when I already do it?

There have been quite a few extra-innings games this year for the Mets. The pitching situation has been stressed a couple of times; thankfully, yesterday’s 14-inning monstrosity against the Braves worked out okay. This is due almost entirely to Dan Uggla‘s status as one big walking, talking error. His Jeter-esque defense ticked me off in the All-Star Game a few years ago, but it’s been hilarious since.

Poor Gus Schlosser took a bullet for the Braves, pitching nearly four innings before giving up the game-winning sac fly to Curtis Granderson (who can’t even get a hit when he’s playing hero) after a previous career-high 1.2 innings earlier this year. Schlosser was the Braves’ sixth pitcher of the night. Jose Valverde got the win for the Mets, their seventh pitcher of the night. Valverde was an odd choice to go to in a high-leverage situation, since Jeurys Familia hadn’t pitched the previous day. Gary Cohen speculated that Familia was simply unavailable, meaning that we’ll find out today that he’s healthy as a horse but was getting a drink of water when the phone call came. Gonzalez Germen had a rough third of an inning, but Scott Rice cleared it up for him.

Terry Collins did a few very strange things. First, he pinch-hit Andrew Brown for Omar Quintanilla and immediately used Ruben Tejada to pinch-hit for the pitcher, apparently counting on Brown to get on base and planning to use Tejada to bunt him over. Of course, using a pinch-hitter for your shortstop counting on the pinch-hitter to get on base is risky, and Brown didn’t, leaving Tejada to pinch-hit when Travis d’Arnaud and Kirk Niewenhuis were still sitting on the bench. Granted, it worked out okay, since Tejada hit a nice single to get on base, but Quintanilla has had a .375 OBP this year; unless he was injured or something, using Brown to hit for him is weird. Forcing Tejada into the game was weirder, since letting Quintanilla hit and then allowing the game’s situation to dictate the double switch would have allowed Terry a bit more control over the situation. As it is, Terry used Quintanilla in the top of the ninth, Brown to hit in the bottom of the inning, and then Daisuke Matsuzaka in the same slot to start the tenth. Considering that the Mets were at the end of their bench by the end of the game, keeping Brown around to hit for someone later in the game would have been a more conservative move with no smaller an upside.

Second, and much less sinfully, he benched Anthony Recker as part of a double switch in the 13th to 14th to make room for Papa Grande. Recker was exhausted, certainly, and was in the ideal spot to allow for the double switch. However, suppose Granderson hadn’t hit his sac fly but had grounded out to leave Eric Young and Kirk Niewenhuis at second and third, respectively, with two outs. That requires David Wright to get on base, and then (if Schlosser made the reasonable decision to walk Wright and pitch to Daniel Murphy) you’re counting on Murphy to make a clean hit. At that point, you have a choice – either you ask Valverde for a second inning, you ask Familia to pitch even though he seemed to be unavailable, or you ask a starter to pitch. Leaving Recker in at first base and removing Lucas Duda would have put Valverde in the #4 slot instead of the #5 slot, but would have maintained Recker’s eligibility to pitch. Granted, that still involves moving an outfielder to first and having a starter play the corner a la Kyle Lohse and Roy Oswalt a few seasons ago; on the other hand, if Quintanilla had been allowed to bat for himself, you then also have either Ruben Tejada or Andrew Brown on the bench, in which case Brown has experience at first and Tejada has experience at second, allowing Daniel Murphy to take over at first.

I did, however, love using DiceK in the long-reliever role in extra innings. I’m glad Terry had him on hand, and I’m thoroughly impressed with Matsuzaka’s ability to adjust to the relief role.

Side note: the Mets have actually been outscored game for game in extra innings, 23-22, leading to a weird .480 Pythagorean expectation. Small sample sizes and walkoffs make that a bit difficult to draw real conclusions from.

Bartolo Colon, plus the Bullpen April 8, 2014

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The Mets were idle yesterday; after going 2-1 against the Reds this weekend, they’ll face Atlanta tonight with Bartolo Colon starting. I was a Bartolo skeptic at first, but having done a bit more deep diving on his statistics, I think he’s likely going to be a strong anchor in the rotation and I’m happy to see him coming up tonight.

Colon averaged 6 1/3 innings per start last year; his two nine-inning complete games came late in the season but his seven- and eight-inning games were sprinkled relatively evenly throughout the year, and he was hooked early (in the fourth) only once (as well as one 5-inning start). That’s comforting considering the Mets’ bullpen issues, assuming a rested Jose Valverde does what he does and we get the Dr. Jekyll version of Kyle Farnsworth tonight. Depending on the game situation, I’d like to see Jeurys Familia given an opportunity to push that 20.25 ERA down by a couple of points, assuming Colon pitches 6 innings; Gonzalez Germen seems to be the other single-inning option for the Mets. I like John Lannan off the bench as a long-relief option, but hopefully Bartolo won’t require that.

But what about Carlos Torres? Carlos appeared in 24 games and pitched 36 2/3 innings last year as a reliever, in addition to his 9 games and 49 2/3 innings pitched as a starter. The splits are huge here – Torres’ ERA as a starter last year was 4.89, compared to 1.47 as a reliever. This isn’t entirely due to Torres facing the same batters more often during starts, since his batting average allowed in his first time pitching to an opponent as a starter (.267) is still significantly higher than the same stat as a reliever (.200). Torres’ best innings are 4-6, allowing opposing hitters to hit only .188/.250/.267 – the mark of a great mopup man. He actually pitched better (.167/.200/.167) in extra innings, but there were some sample size problems there (only 26 plate appearances). That said, Carlos also pitched pretty well (.220/.238/.317) in the 8th inning, despite a total turn for the worse when he pitched in the ninth. Torres may well show up as a more reliable setup man than Farnsworth, and although Familia and Germen need the time in the 7th inning for development purposes, I’d like to see what Torres can do in higher-leverage situations.