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One down, three to go (Mets Game 132 Preview) August 30, 2016

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Rafael Montero exceeded expectations last night, tossing five innings of two-hit baseball; his command wasn’t where we’d hoped, but his six walks didn’t end up hurting the team. Jose Reyes manufactured a tying run and Yoenis Cespedes‘ tenth-inning homer snagged the win for Josh Smoker.

Miami's Tom Koehler. Photo: fressica

Miami’s Tom Koehler. Photo: fressica

Smoker has pitched each of the last three games; Terry Collins obviously didn’t want to use him last night, but the tenth inning left him few options. (I half expected Bartolo Colon to warm up.) The night did get Jim Henderson some rest, though, and Jerry Blevins is rubber-armed. Collins isn’t shy about using Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia every night in key situations. Hansel Robles is also available and may need to redeem himself. It was telling that Collins went to the exhausted Smoker rather than Robles for a back-to-back outing.

The Marlins will start Tom Koehler tonight against Seth Lugo. The Mets’ bullpen is where the Marlins are likely to get an edge; however, Koehler has had a solid August, with a 2.61 ERA and a .237/.278/.381 slash line allowed with a .278 BAbip. That’s slightly luckier than his 4.18 ERA, .262/.348/.394 and .307 BAbip through July. Koehler may be turning it up, or he may be benefiting from slightly better or luckier defense.

Travis d’Arnaud has hit Koehler hard: he’s 7-17 (.412) but has four walks in 21 plate appearances. Jay Bruce is also 2-3 with a walk, with Neil Walker and Jose Reyes other Mets at or above the .500 OBP mark against Koehler. Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera have OPS marks above 1.0. Koehler has a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Mets this year, allowing 1.364 baserunners per inning pitched but with a 4.9 K9. A well-constructed lineup with a healthy Cabrera-Walker middle infield would go a long way tonight, but the Mets should still be able to put this one away behind Lugo.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS ▾
Jose Reyes 4 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 .333 .500 1.333 1.833
Jay Bruce 4 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 .667 .750 .667 1.417
Asdrubal Cabrera 7 7 3 0 0 1 0 1 .429 .429 .857 1.286
Yoenis Cespedes 15 14 6 3 1 0 0 1 .429 .467 .786 1.252
Travis d’Arnaud 21 17 7 2 0 1 4 1 .412 .524 .706 1.230
Neil Walker 15 10 3 1 0 0 4 1 .300 .533 .400 .933
James Loney 11 10 3 1 0 0 1 2 .300 .364 .400 .764
Wilmer Flores 16 15 4 2 0 0 1 3 .267 .313 .400 .713
Kelly Johnson 13 12 3 1 0 0 1 3 .250 .308 .333 .641
Curtis Granderson 32 28 6 0 0 1 3 6 .214 .313 .321 .634
Jacob deGrom 10 9 1 0 0 0 1 5 .111 .200 .111 .311
Alejandro De Aza 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Bartolo Colon 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Rene Rivera 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Noah Syndergaard 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 162 142 39 10 1 4 17 27 .275 .364 .444 .808
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/30/2016.

World’s Worst Mets Preview, Game 145 vs Miami September 15, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Jacob deGrom at bat. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III

Jacob deGrom at bat. Photo: Arturo Pardavila III

Last night’s win against the Marlins of Miami had several positives:

  • The triumphant return of Hansel Robles
  • A baserunning error by Juan Lagares that in the end was still not that big a deal
  • Kyle Barraclough allowing his second earned run of the season, causing his ERA to grow to 0.96. You heard what I said. ERAs can grow to .96.

Several indicators tonight point toward the positives continuing. With a magic number of 10, the Mets are starting Jacob deGrom against Stony Brook alum Tom Koehler. Since August 1, Koehler has a 5.48 ERA; over his last five games, that drops to 5.34 with a 1-3 record. That is, however, working with a pretty nasty .345 batting average on balls in play. His season BAbip is .276, which indicates that the defense behind him may be lacking.

Mets have hit Koehler reasonably well:

Name PA AB H HR SO BA OBP SLG
Kirk Nieuwenhuis 8 5 2 1 0 .400 .625 1.200
Travis d’Arnaud 16 12 5 0 1 .417 .563 .583
Yoenis Cespedes 6 6 3 0 0 .500 .500 1.167
Kevin Plawecki 2 2 1 0 1 .500 .500 .500
Ruben Tejada 27 22 7 0 1 .318 .423 .500
Curtis Granderson 23 19 4 0 5 .211 .348 .211
David Wright 27 24 6 0 6 .250 .333 .375
Lucas Duda 30 24 3 0 6 .125 .300 .208
Daniel Murphy 30 27 6 1 2 .222 .300 .333
Wilmer Flores 11 11 3 0 2 .273 .273 .455
Juan Lagares 23 23 6 0 2 .261 .261 .348
Michael Cuddyer 8 8 2 0 1 .250 .250 .375
Jacob deGrom 8 7 1 0 4 .143 .250 .143
Eric Young 14 12 1 0 1 .083 .214 .167
Kelly Johnson 10 10 2 0 3 .200 .200 .200
Michael Conforto 5 5 1 1 2 .200 .200 .800
Anthony Recker 9 8 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Dilson Herrera 3 3 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000
Juan Uribe 3 3 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Eric Campbell 2 2 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000
Total 275 242 53 3 47 .219 .308 .347
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/15/2015.

If Terry wanted to start a lineup based on those stats, we’d have an outfield made up of Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson; Lucas Duda at first, Ruben Tejada at short, Daniel Murphy at second, David Wright at third, and Travis d’Arnaud catching. (Aside from starting Kirk rather than Michael Conforto, that’s pretty much our standard lineup anyway.) Since Kirk got the start on Sunday, starting him again so soon, and leaving Conforto on the bench, might be a suspect move, but there’s quite a bit to be said for the strong bench that gives Terry a left-handed option (in Conforto) and a right-handed option (Juan Uribe) who both have some pop.

Marlins closer A.J. Ramos last pitched on the 12th; his last blown save was September 4, and he hasn’t allowed a run since. The overall Marlins bullpen has a 3.40 ERA, but performs slightly worse in high-leverage situations than in other situations; the Marlins as a team have a 5.19 ERA against the Mets this year.

This is a game where a few runs early on will make a big difference for the Mets, and as long as they leverage their high OBP against Koehler, they can keep pushing the magic number down.

The Three-Inning Save is an Endangered Species April 7, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Yesterday, Manny Parra pitched two perfect innings to pick up the save against the Mets. It was a natural save situation – the Reds were leading 2-1 and used their best reliever to maintain that lead. Usually, saves are only one inning, but two-inning saves aren’t unusual.

The save rule (Rule 10.19) does, however, allow for a less-common type of save:

  1. He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
  2. He is not the winning pitcher;
  3. He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and
  4. He satisfies one of the following conditions:
    1. He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning
    2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck
    3. He pitches for at least three innings.

Brad Hand of Miami picked up that sort of save on April 4th, saving starter Tom Koehler‘s win in a rout of the Padres. It was Hand’s first career save; he’s in his fourth season with the Marlins and has been excellent from the bullpen, but this was his first save opportunity. It was also the first three-inning save of 2014.

The king of the three-inning save last year was Brett Anderson, then of Oakland and currently of Colorado. Anderson recorded three of the long saves – coincidentally his only three career saves. He’s starting for Colorado this year, so his days as long man are probably over. These long saves were more common in the past, when starters finished games far more often and specialized relievers weren’t used; the all-time leader for this type of save is Hoyt Wilhelm, who notched 53 of them between 1952 and 1971, often pitching four full innings. Bob Stanley, Dan Quisenberry, and Bill Campbell share the single-season record with 11 three-inning saves in 1982, 1983, and 1977, respectively. Since 2005, only Anderson and John Wasdin of the 2005 Texas Rangers have had three of them in a season. Don’t expect many more this year.