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Fewer runs, grouped more tightly (Mets Game 133 Preview) August 31, 2016

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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There’s no question that the Mets have had a different season than we expected. Part of that is due to the unexpected injuries to our pitching staff – this would be a different season if Matt Harvey had been healthy, if Zack Wheeler had recovered more quickly, if Steven Matz had been consistently himself – but part of it is due to the Mets’ run-scoring.

RunspergameIn the regular season of 2015, the Mets were shut out 15 times, a little over 9% of their games. That’s higher than this year’s 9 shutouts, which are just a shade under 7% of their games so far. Still, the Mets had more high-scoring games last year than this year, as well: about 6.8% of games scored double digit runs in 2015, versus 5.3% this year. The Mets scored 4.2 runs per game last year, and that’s dropped to 3.9; all this is happening while the average runs per game in the National League is rising, so the impact of that .3 R/G is amplified. Finally, last year, the Mets spread their run production; the standard deviation of runs per game was about 3.25, versus 2.9 this year. To put it differently, this year fewer runs are being scored, and they’re having fewer blowout games. A lower level of variability would be an improvement if the Mets hit more, but as it stands their consistency is harming them.

Bartolo Colon starts tonight against right-hander David Phelps. Yoenis Cespedes, who has as many home runs as Lucas Duda had all season last year, is 2-12 with 2 walks against Phelps, while Jay Bruce has hit 3-7 and walked three times. James Loney has a .333 OBP facing David, while Wilmer Flores has a .400/.429/1.000 slash line in 7 plate appearances. Even Bartolo has a hit in three at-bats against Phelps.

Having held down the last two games with shaky starters, it would be criminal for the Mets to collapse in a game like this. As long as Terry Collins finds a place to stash Flores, as long as Jay Bruce brings his old self with him, as long as Asdrubal Cabrera or Jose Reyes hits the way he has against Phelps in the past, this should be strong performance for Colon. Though current Marlins have hit him well, he can hold it down until Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia can finish the game off.