Monthly Archives: April 2012

Series Preview: Mets-Astros

The Mets play the Houston Astros in Houston this week. Here’s some stuff about that.

The Astros (8-14) are managed by Brad Mills. Whether or not it’s Mills fault, this is his third season and the Astros keep getting worse. So I’m going to assume his seat will warm up soon.

The Astros are in last place in the NL Central, but they’ve outscored their opponents 100-97 on the season. So they’ve been pretty decent at scoring as many runs as their opponent, just not on a game-by-game basis.

Here’s what the Astros lineup looks like:

CF — Jordan Schafer – L
SS — Jed Lowrie – S
LF — J.D. Martinez – R
1B — Carlos Lee – R
RF — Brian Bogusevic – L
3B — Chris Johnson – R
C — Jason Castro – L
2B — Jose Altuve – R

Uhhhhhh. Carlos Lee is day-to-day with an ankle injury, and may not play this series. Houston has a young team: Lee is the only regular over 30, and Lee, Jed Lowrie, and Chris Johnson are the only three with 150 or more major league games under their belts. They’re young, they draw walks, get on base, and don’t really hit home runs. We’ve seen this show before.

Here are the pitching matchups:

  • Monday night: R.A. Dickey vs RHP Bud Norris. Norris has started slow, 5.84 ERA, but he was a popular breakout pick on fantasy teams run by Patrick Flood. Norris is a two-pitch pitcher, fastball and slider, and he’s struck out 410 batters in 420 major league innings as his walk rate improved each season.
  • Tuesday night: Jon Niese vs LHP J.A. Happ. Yup, the same J.A. Happ once on the Philles and once traded for Roy Oswalt. Happ’s career took a FIP-predicted downturn in Houston, and now he’s a replacement-level lefty. Pitch f/x says Happ throws a 90 MPH fastball, accompanied by a curveball, slider, and occasional changeup.
  • Wednesday afternoon: Chris Schwinden vs LHP Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a frontline lefty pitcher, often forgotten because he developed late and plays for the Astros. Small by pitcher standards and lacking velocity, Rodriguez is a curveball machine. Basically Ike Davis’ nightmare.

Another Phillies castoff, Brett Myers, closes games for the Astros. The rest of Houston’s bullpen is a who’s who of “who the heck is that guy?”

And there’s some stuff about the Astros.

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Lacuna

After a brief road trip across the middle of the country, I have returned. I was able to catch part of Tuesday’s game and the second half of Sunday’s game, but missed Wednesday-Saturday’s game. Brief thoughts on things that I missed:

– The big story: Robert Carson is a Ghost Met, having been on the roster without getting into a game. I think we’ll see him again, either at Citi Field or in a supernatural baseball game that takes place in an Iowa corn field.

– The other story: Mike Pelfrey is probably done for the year with a torn UCL. That’s rough news for the Big Pelf and the Mets. His performance quality (4.27 ERA over the past four seasons) is easier replaced than his performance quantity. The Mets will miss his 200 inning durability, particularly with this staff: Johan Santana last topped 200 innings in 2008, while Jon Niese and Dillon Gee never have in their careers. That leaves some combination of Chris Schwinden, Miguel Batista, Chris Young, Jeremy Hefner, Garrett Olson, Orlando Hernandez, and various relievers to eat Pelfrey’s innings and then some. We may discover that the known meh often is better than the unknown bleh.

– Okay, Orlando Hernandez will probably not take any of Pelfrey’s innings. But I can wish. And is that really a more ridiculous suggestion than Chris Young and Miguel Batista?

– Jason Bay is on the DL, too. The 2012 Mets are without a whipping boy for the moment. If Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres are hitting when Bay returns, those three may split playing time between the LF-CF spots.

– Yes, I do know what Ruben Tejada has been up to. His season line is now .310/.366/.405, and Tejada has outplayed all his NL East shortstop counterparts through the season’s first month.

– Ditto for the other hitters atop the Mets’ order: Nieuwenhuis’ line is at .316/.381/.474, while Daniel Murphy’s is at .311/.364/.378.

– Also worth noting: The top of the Mets’ order is now Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Ruben Tejada, and Daniel Murphy. FWIW, Daniel Murphy batting third has finally stopped being funny, but probably only because we’re all used to it now.

– After Sunday’s action, the Mets have been outscored by 19 runs on the year, yet their record stands at 13-9. This is partially because they’re 6-1 in one run games; it’s also partially because they’ve been blown out a handful of times. Generally speaking, teams that win a bunch of close games while losing blowouts are playing over their heads. But that’s speaking generally, which I believe means “speaking like a general.” So re-read this note in a Robert E. Lee voice with Ken Burns piano music tinkling in the background.

– On the flip side, the Mets’ hitting with runners in scoring position has been somewhat stinky, and their bullpen can be described similarly. Batting with RISP tends to even itself out over the course of a 162 game season. I don’t think (read: hope) their bullpen is this terrible.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got about games I didn’t really watch. Analysis!

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New Mostly Mets Podcast

Hey all. I’m still on the road, but I called into the Mostly Mets podcast last night. Toby and Ted filled me in on all the Mets news, the bad and the Nieuwenhuis. Here’s the podcast.

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Series Preview: Mets-Marlins

The Mets play the Miami Marlins this week. Here’s a short preview.

The stupid Marlins (7-8) are managed by stupid Ozzie Guillen. He’s got a big stupid manager contract and this is his first year in stupid Miami, so barring any PR gaffes, his seat is pretty cool.

Here’s what the Marlins stupid lineup looks like:

SS – Jose Reyes – S
CF – Emilio Bonafacio – S
3B – Hanley Ramirez – R
RF – Giancarlo Stanton – R
LF – Logan Morrison – L
1B – Gaby Sanchez – R
2B – Omar Infante – R
C – John Buck – R

The Marlins’ stupid lineup has struggled early in the season. Stupid Jose Reyes — sapped of his hair and his powers — stupid Giancarlo Stanton, stupid Gaby Sanchez, and stupid John Buck have started slowly, leaving stupid Hanley Ramirez and stupid Omar Infante to carry the offense. The Marlins’ lineup should prove all right, though not special: Stanton, Ramirez, and Reyes are good hitters relative to their positions, but the rest of the lineup looks average-to-weak. The Marlins’ stupid bench lacks depth, and an injury to any of the three big hitters might make for an unhappy summer in stupid Miami. If such a thing were possible.

And I’m done. Here’s the pitching matchups:

  • Tuesday Night: Johan Santana vs RHP Josh Johnson. Johnson has surrendered 28 hits and struck out eight over his first three starts. Pitch f/x claims his fastball is still a few ticks slower than it was in 2010, but it was slow last season and he pitched well in those nine starts. Then he missed the rest of the year on the DL. Johnson is one of the best if healthy, but how many pitchers can you say that about . . .
  • Wednesday Night: R.A. Dickey vs LHP Mark Buehrle. Buehrle, a changeup artist, has walked two batters, through his first three NL starts and has a 2.66 ERA. As noted on yesterday’s SNY broadcast, Dickey works fast, Buehrle works fast, so if both are on their respective games, be prepared for a quick one.
  • Thursday Afternoon: Jon Niese vs RHP Ricky Nolasco. A battle of the FIP-underperformers! Nolasco has a 4.49 career ERA and a 3.83 FIP; Niese has 4.32 ERA and a 3.73 FIP. Be prepared for low strand rates, high batting averages against on balls in play, and mounting frustration on the part of your sabermetrically-inclined friends who drafted either pitcher for their fantasy teams.

Heath Bell closes for the Marlins. He’s 2-4 saving games thus far. Alternatively, he’s 2-4 blowing saves thus far.

There’s some stuff about the stupid Marlins.

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Mets-Giants Series Wrap-up

Once again, that didn’t go all that well. Notes on the Mets-Giants series after the jump: Continue reading

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Zack Wheeler Face


Minor point here. The picture above, originally from Baseball America, has been on MetsBlog all weekend. I really need to know: Is the face Zack Wheeler makes in the above picture the face he always makes when pitching? R.A. Dickey and he could have much to discuss.

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Newest Mostly Mets Podcast

Our guest, Mark Simon of ESPN-New York, enlightens us about defense and defensive statistics. We answer email questions, voicemail questions, wonder how many people off the street could throw 80 MPH, and a performance of small sample size theater. iTunes link is here.

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