Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mostly Mets Podcast

Hey ya’ll. Here’s a new Mostly Mets Podcast, recorded in the middle of Thursday’s game. So we’re not quite as jovial as we might have otherwise been. ITunes link may be found here, and send us questions at MostlyMetsPodcast at gmail, via voicemail at 347-915-METS, or on Twitter.

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Maybe This is True

 

 

I was going to look up some statistics in order to refute the opinion of Mets people*, as reported by Andy Martino above. But then I did  look up Parnell’s splits in high, medium, and low leverage situations — that is, his splits depending on how important the situation is — and Mets people may have a point:

*Mets people = Mr. Met and family?

Split G PA R H HR BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
High Lvrge 92 291 64 87 5 27 56 2.07 .344 .412 .455 .867 .425
Medium Lvrge 94 218 20 47 4 26 50 1.92 .249 .343 .360 .702 .319
Low Lvrge 123 414 27 90 5 33 85 2.58 .239 .304 .314 .618 .297
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/17/2012.

Parnell’s .425 BABIP in high leverage spots should set up little sabermetric warning lights and beanie propellers, but Parnell’s struggles in big spots are not driven just by his poor batting average against on balls in play. Scoot over to Fangraphs, and Parnell’s FIP (3.03 in low, 3.61 in medium, and 4.24 in high) and xFIP backup an ERA that grows proportional to the importance of the spot.

So, yeah, Mets people are correct. Bobby Parnell has pitched poorly in high leverage situations thus far in his career. The real question is whether or not that’s likely to continue, or if it’s just a fluky thing that happened and now saddles Parnell with an undeserved reputation.

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Arsenio + Carson = Carsenio

Murphy carried a personal-best 11-game hitting streak into the Mets’ series opener against Cincinnati on Tuesday night at Citi Field. From 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, he dropped in on the nine Cave Dwellers, did a Facebook chat, surprised fans and taped a video down in the basement with comedian Arsenio Hall, who will either be fired by Donald Trump or will make Clay Aiken a runner-up again when the live finale of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice” airs on Sunday night . . .

Hall congratulated Murphy and said he was a fan.

“Three thirty-three (actually .336), even to a comedian, sounds good. That is good, right?” Hall asked.

“It’s a lot better than I thought I was gonna do, so I’ll take it,” Murphy replied.

“You’re a young man, so you’ve got a lot of years of .333 ahead of you.”

Mets.com

Emphasis mine. Obviously.

Oh, by the way, D.J. Carrasco was just designated for assignment. The Mets called up LHP Robert Carson to take Carrasco’s place in the bullpen. Carson throws hard, has a sweet southern drawl, and Toby Hyde seems to like him.

And yes, putting these two topics into one post was just an excuse to post Carsenio:

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I Don’t Know What We’re Yelling About

The Brewers blew out the Mets 8-0 on Tuesday. But — outside of those concerned with the Mets’ growing runs scored/runs allowed gap — you know, who cares about the game itself. The most interesting moment of the night was the spirited discussion betwixt Terry Collins and David Wright in the Mets’ dugout during the seventh inning.

Here’s the setup if you missed it: In the top half of the seventh, D.J. Carrasco was ejected by home plate umpire (and SNY announcer portnameteau) Gary Darling for plunking Ryan Braun with the first pitch immediately following a home run. The plunking appeared unintentional, for it would have been the most accurate pitch Carrasco has ever thrown in a Mets uniform. Regardless, Collins feared the Brewers might retaliate with similarly errant pitches. He removed his best hitters, Wright and Daniel Murphy, for their protection. Wright was visually displeased, caught on camera speaking emphatically with Collins and reportedly demanding to stay in the game. Collins said “no,” Wright said “what,” Collins said “You can do what you want Dave, but the next time you see me coming you better run.” Jordany Valdespin pinch hit for Wright. The third baseman appeared to speak calmly with Collins later in the same inning, so I assume things are cool now.

Breaking down reactions of the various parties:

1. I liked David Wright’s reaction. He didn’t want anyone else taking a pitch for him, and he made sure his teammates knew as much. Nevermind the baseball side of things — as a human being, that’s pretty cool. If someone you admire refuses to let you to take a punishment intended for him or her, that means something. Leadership is a buzzword now beaten into meaninglessness by politicians, and job and college applications. But I think Wright’s reaction is what leadership is supposed to be. Wright unofficially captains the third-youngest team in the National League. That sort of stuff matters coming from him.

Also he’s hitting .400.

I suppose yelling at your manager on camera may not be the best example for the Padawans, but in this case — Wright showing his teammates he’ll literally fight to take a pitch for any one of them — it can be excused as a necessary display.

Oh, also, Wright is hitting .400.

2. I also liked Terry Collins’ reaction. Wright and Murphy have been the Mets’ best hitters in 2012. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.) Wright is playing with a broken pinkie, and he’s (maybe) just now recovered from being beaned by Matt Cain in 2009. The Mets can’t afford to lose either one to an errant pitch. Collins’ job is to protect his players from opposing pitchers, umpires, and even the player himself. Collins did his job in this case.

3. D.J. Carrasco is the goat here. He had one job last night: soak up innings in a blowout. The only way Carrasco could fail — the only way! — was to get himself ejected. The only way he could get himself ejected was to give up a home run and then plunk the next batter with a first pitch fastball. I guess he could have flipped off the umpire or something. Whatever. Carrasco did the one thing he couldn’t do, and made things even worse by hitting the opposing team’s best player. He gets a double F* for this one.

*A Double F = a Frank Francisco. Like an F-minus, but worse.

4. Collins kinda sorta totally threw Carrasco under the bus during the postgame presser. I’m not sure the long reliever is long for this team. You know how the Knicks originally hired Mike Woodson as a “defensive coordinator” of sorts? The Mets should get a “bullpen coordinator” for Sandy Alderson.

5. The Brewers did not plunk any Mets in retaliation. It seemed Carrasco’s pitch was without intent, and the Brewers may have seen it as such. All may have been for naught. We’ll see how it goes when the Mets meet the Brew Crew again in  . . . looks at calender . . . oh, September. That’s a long way off. We’ll probably all have forgotten by then.

6. If any game demanded a pitching appearance by Mike Baxter, this was the game.

The final grades: David Wright get an A+ because he’s hitting .400. Terry Collins is downgraded to a B for refusing to pitch Mike Baxter. D.J. Carrasco has probably flunked out.

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Link Synergy!

Two links to pass along from “The Mets bullpen is awful” day on the internet:

1. Ted Berg responded to an email from reader-and-presumed-person Brian, asking Ted about the team-wide effects of Frank Francisco’s blown saves.

2. Toby Hyde wrote a lengthy post  about the Mets’ options (or lack of such) for fixing the bullpen. Not to give away the ending, but he concludes that the best course of action may be holding steady and waiting for the good pitchers to pitch well. Also there’s a picture of Frank Francisco rocking a sweet business suit.

I’m looking forward to “Miguel Batista is awesome?” day on the internet tomorrow. Hugs and kisses everyone.

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Who Should Pitch the Ninth Inning?

Frank Francisco disappointed in a pair of save chances over the weekend, and the Marlins defeated the Mets in both games. Francisco’s ERA is 8.56,  though his strikeout rate is fine, his walk and home run rates are up only slightly, as is his FIP. All things considered — or, because this is the internet, very few things considered — whom would you want pitching in the ninth inning if tonight’s Mets game is close? The only options are relievers on the Mets’ current roster, because you’d all vote for R.A. Dickey if I put him as an option.

[poll id=”9″]

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Are the Mets Any Good?

The short answer is that I have no idea. But here’s a little bit about the difference between their runs scored and runs allowed this season.

The Mets have won an inordinate number of close games this season: They’re 11-3 in one-or-two run games. They have not fared as well in blowouts, 0-5 in games decided by six or more runs.

Because the Mets have won so many close games and lost a number of blowouts, they have been outscored by 18 runs. Over the course of a full season, it’s difficult for a team to have a winning record and allow more runs than they score. In the last five seasons, only six teams – the 2011 Giants, the 2009 Tigers and Mariners, the 2008 Astros, and the 2007 Diamondbacks and Mariners – were able to do just that, and only the Diamondbacks topped 88 games and made the postseason. Basically, good teams tend to blow out bad teams, the reverse rarely happens, and close games go either way. So if this Mets team isn’t blowing anyone out . . .

Think of it like the Knicks-Heat games over the last two seasons: Miami has taken nine of the 12 meetings, and the Heat have won by margins of eight, eight, ten, ten, 12, 14, 17, 22, and 33 points. Meanwhile, the Knick’s three victories against the Heat came by two, five, and five points. Maybe you could argue the Knicks are better at winning close games. But would anyone argue that the Knicks are better than the Heat? When everything clicks for Miami, they win a blowout. When everything clicks for New York, they win by five in the last minute.

The scoring in the Mets’ season has followed a similar pattern. They win the close ones (of their 18 wins, 14 have come by one, two, or three runs) and lose the blowouts (of their 13 losses, nine have come by four or more runs). That type of scoring pattern tends to be unsustainable, because teams that only win close games and then lose blowouts tend to prove less talented than their opponents in the long run. If the Mets are outscored by 18 runs over their next 31 games, they probably won’t go 18-13 again.

On the other hand, it’s only 31 games, so small sample size warnings still apply. We’re at the point in the season where you can find the numbers to support any argument regarding a team or a player or whatever. The Mets are both good and not good, so you’ll just have to poison a cat in a box to find out which.

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