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

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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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.

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.