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Sunday Links

>The Mets still have the third best record in the NL. I have no idea what to say . . . so here are links instead.


Baseball

– Johan Santana is not as good as he used to be. Nobody panic, nobody panic . . .  Everyone panic! (New York Times)

– The R.A. Dickey refutes that he is, in fact, a nerd. (Ted Berg)

Ron Weasley Prince Harry threw out the first pitch at Citi Field yesterday. Sadly, due to being a ginger kid, he expired moments later from exposure. (Daily News)

– Jesus Felicano is rooting for the Marlins interim manager, and David Wright may be booed in Puerto Rico. (ESPN New York)

– A whole lot of Wally Backman being crazy, or perhaps just being Wally Backman. (MetsToday)

– Baseball Reference uses a different WAR formula for pitchers than Fangraphs. Here’s a look at the differences. (Beyond the Box Score)

– Chris Carter never got his home run ball back. (NY Times)

– The Dodgers made some base running mistakes the other night. It’s probably all Rhianna’s fault . . . does anyone else ever wonder if the song “Rude Boy” is about Matt Kemp? (Memories of Kevin Malone)

Sharks or Dinosaurs, and something else:

This showed up in my Google reader, and is presented without comment. (NotCot)

– Also, this is too weird not to pass along. Some guy has a nipple on the bottom of his foot (with pictures). The foot is that of a man, and the link is to a science website, so I assume it’s all safe for work, depending on where you work. What does that feel like to walk around on? (Discover)

That’s all I got. I’ll be back with something wordier tomorrow. Until then, I don’t know if any of us will ever recover.

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>Sunday Links

>Some possibly enjoyable links after a relatively blah Father’s Day game.

Baseball:

Wonder why Johan is struggling? Maybe it’s because Santana is having trouble putting hitters away with strike 3. (ESPN New York)

This made me laugh: Elmer Dessens is on the low BABIP train. (Amazin’ Avenue)

Bernie Brewer — as in the Milwaukee mascot, Bernie Brewer — was once accused of stealing signs. (Wezen-ball)

Uncomfortably warm baseball players are more likely to throw baseballs at other players in a not so nice way. (Discover)

Tom Fesolowich, who captains the New York Mutuals, a “base ball” team that plays under 1864 rules, talks to New York Magazine.

Sharks or Dinosaurs, and something else:

Researchers have found the oldest known mammalian gnaw marks on a dinosaur bone. My dog, also a mammal, sticks primarily to cow bones. (Discover)

Someone created a Netflix application that adds every Nic Cage movie to your NetFlix cue with one click. It’s called CageFlix. Why didn’t this exist already? (via Hacking NetFlix)

That’s all the links I got for now. Tigers and Twins coming up for the Mets.

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>Come See Bloggers in Something Resembling Real Life!

>Come on down this Thursday, 7 p.m., to River in Hell’s Kitchen (500 West 43rd St., at 10th Avenue) for the Blue and Orange Open Mic. Per Blue and Orange:

Though the vitals are the same as December’s Hot Stove Huddle, this gathering will be different. There’s an actual baseball game to talk about! We’ll be watching the Mets take on the Nationals, in the finale of their eight-game road trip. There will be beers, cheers, uh,  jeers — and most importantly, a live microphone.

So if you’re in the area, come on down. I’ll be there, other Mets bloggers you actually like will be there, so come say hello, tell me how awful and unfunny I am, explain to me how I’m wrong about the merits of Gary Matthews Jr., ask me to marry you, whatever . . . not that any of you will recognize me to do this, because you don’t know what I look like, but maybe I’ll wear a name tag or something. Probably not.

Just come and get out of your mother’s basement for a while. Go hang out in a bar, watch the Mets, yell at the people on the TV in funny uniforms.

Facebook event page is here.

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>Sunday Stuff to Read

>I was going to write about the Mets rotation for tomorrow, but Jerry Manuel’s lineup construction is making it real tough not to write about that instead — because, as everyone knows, you usually want your worst hitter hitting second, your best hitter fifth, and the guy you just called up from AAA hitting cleanup. Sometimes I wonder if this is an Office Space sort of scenario, and Jerry Manuel is actively trying to get himself fired. Sunday links below.

Rob Castellano of Amazin’ Avenue talked with Cow-Bell Man (Cowbell Man?) for an inning yesterday.

NY Magazine explains to LeBron James why LeBron James is coming to New York.

Do sabermetrics detract from our enjoyment of the game? Ted Berg says no, they only make him like baseball more.

Anyone want Pat Burrell? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Bryce Harper apparently isn’t a jerk anymore, but instead “has handled the attention and expectations reasonably well for a 17-year-old.”

Dallas Braden threw a couple of screwballs — as in the actual pitch, and not a metaphorical screwball — in his perfect game, and Mike Fast of The Hardball Times investigates.

The Mets have a plan for Jenrry Mejia. Or something resembling a plan. Maybe “plan” is being too kind. The Mets have a bad idea for Jenrry Mejia.

In case you haven’t seen this yea, this is an amazing Mets-art-journal blog.

* * *

The Animal is out of his cage, and is now hitting cleanup.

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>Sunday Stuff to Read

>Links after two straight walk-off home runs:

Want to know what Mike Piazza is up to? Joe Brescia of the New York Times can tell you.

On a similar note, want to see what Turk Wendell is up to? Kevin Kernan can tell you, plus there’s a picture of Wendell holding a dead animal.

One last where are they now: Lastings Milledge is still doing, uh, interesting things.

Joe Posnanski lists his top 20 home runs of all time.

Eno Sarris takes a look at Mets swing rates over at Amazin’ Avenue.

For no reason at all, an old column by David Halberstam on Roger Maris and the hunt for 61.

“When it all works out, it’s going to be worth it.” Bill Simmons on the Phoenix Suns.

Finally, be careful if you win your fantasy league and you live in Louisiana.

* * *

A-how how how

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>Things We Know About the Mets so Far

>28 games into the season, and an off-day yesterday, seems like the perfect time to dive into the 2010 Mets baseball-reference page and see what it can tell us about this lovable group of second place losers. I also just figured out how to import B-R tables – and by “figure out” I mean follow the easy directions of the site – so I’m going to be going overboard with that. Here’s some stuff I find interesting.

Leading Off: I generally don’t think where people hit in the order makes all that much of a difference over 162 games, but maybe it is time to stick Reyes back in the lead-off spot. Batters making the first plate appearance in each game are hitting a combined .115/.179/.192 in those 28 first inning plate appearances, though I’m guessing that .130 BABIP is bound to go up.

Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
1st Batter G 28 28 26 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .115 .179 .192 .371 .130

Men on, Men Off: The Mets have an OPS of .713 with runners in scoring position – basically they’re hitting similar to how Ryan Theriot hit in 2009. That sounds bad
, but is actually impressive when compared to how they’re hitting with no one on base – their .666 OPS with no one on means they’re hitting comparably to 2009’s version of Kaz Matsui.

Split G PA AB BA OBP SLG OPS
RISP 28 293 234 .231 .332 .380 .713
28 606 552 .236 .304 .362 .666

Home Sweet Home: Mets pitchers have apparently been using Citi Field to their advantage over their first month, or they’re just getting hammered on the road – 19 of the 25 home runs they have allowed have come away from Citi Field. In the pitcher’s defense, I should note that the Mets have already played in hitter parks Coors Field, Citizens Bank Park, and Great American Ballpark – in fact, 13 of those 19 road home runs allowed were just surrendered on this last six game road trip through Philadelphia and Cincinnati – and since they didn’t allow any home runs Friday night, 13 home runs were just hit off Mets pitching in their last five games. In other words, a week ago, the Mets had surrendered six home runs at home and six on the road – twelve in total. One week later, they had allowed six at home, and nineteen on the road – twenty-five in total.

Split G PA HR SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS
Home 66 611 6 1.64 .229 .329 .335 .664
Away 55 506 19 2.13 .269 .345 .454 .800

Just Bull: Mets pitchers have thrown 253.1 innings, and 103 of those innings have been by the bullpen. If this current rate of bullpen use continues, Met relievers will throw 545 or so innings – for comparison, last year’s Dodger team used its bullpen for 571.1 innings and made the playoffs. On the other hand, five other teams used their bullpens for 540 or more innings and did not play into October. Most of them had awful rotations. I have no idea if bullpen overuse is indicitive of anything other than starters that don’t go deep into games, but the bullpen is being used a lot.

Split ERA IP SO/BB
as Starter 4.11 153.1 1.86
as Reliever 2.71 103.0 1.78

Speaking of Innings Pitched: Jon Niese leads the team in innings pitched, just inching out Santana. John Maine has somehow only gotten four less outs than Mike Pelfrey.

IP
Jonathon Niese* 35.0
Johan Santana* 34.0
Mike Pelfrey 30.0
John Maine 28.2
Oliver Perez* 26.2
IP
Francisco Rodriguez 12.2
Hisanori Takahashi* 18.2
Fernando Nieve 16.2
Jenrry Mejia 13.0
Pedro Feliciano* 13.0
IP
Raul Valdes* 12.2
Ryota Igarashi 6.2
Manny Acosta 5.1
Tobi Stoner 2.1
Sean Green 1.0
Team Totals 256.1
Rank in 16 NL teams 2
IP

Swing Away, Frenchy: Oh boy. Remember all that stuff about Jeff Francoeur learning to be more patient at the plate? Here’s the percentage of first pitches swung at by the starting eight.

Age PA Pit Pit/PA 1stS ▾
Jeff Francoeur 26 110 366 3.33 46%
David Wright 27 121 530 4.38 31%
Jason Bay 31 119 461 3.87 29%
League Average 3.86 25%
#Jose Reyes 27 110 430 3.91 25%
Rod Barajas 34 83 285 3.43 25%
*Ike Davis 23 57 236 4.14 21%
#Angel Pagan 28 101 391 3.87 13%
#Luis Castillo 34 96 364 3.79 9%
Team Total 1080 4153 3.85 25%

Ike Davis, controlling the strike zone – anyway, how does Francoeur compare to the entire National League?

Rk Age Tm PA Pit Pit/PA 1stS ▾
1 Jeff Francoeur 26 NYM 110 366 3.33 46%
2 *Kosuke Fukudome 33 CHC 95 364 3.83 43%
3 #Pablo Sandoval 23 SFG 116 376 3.24 42%
4 *Carlos Gonzalez 24 COL 106 335 3.16 41%
5 Mark Reynolds 26 ARI 119 493 4.14 40%
6 Yadier Molina 27 STL 103 373 3.62 39%
7 *Ryan Howard 30 PHI 120 440 3.67 38%
8 Hanley Ramirez 26 FLA 120 417 3.48 36%
9 Brandon Phillips 29 CIN 122 446 3.66 36%
10 Ryan Ludwick 31 STL 121 482 3.98 36%

Gotta lead the league in something, right? Now how does the French god of walks compare to entirety of major league baseball? Actually, a bit better. Vlad Guerrero takes over the lead by a sizable margin. I have no idea what the hell they’re teaching them down in Tampa.

Rk Age Tm PA Pit Pit/PA 1stS ▾
1 Vladimir Guerrero 35 TEX 111 337 3.04 52%
2 *Carlos Pena 32 TBR 113 439 3.88 48%
3 B.J. Upton 25 TBR 108 417 3.86 47%
4 Jeff Francoeur 26 NYM 110 366 3.33 46%
5 Vernon Wells 31 TOR 124 395 3.19 44%
6 Delmon Young 24 MIN 87 293 3.37 43%
7 *Kosuke Fukudome 33 CHC 95 364 3.83 43%
8 #Pablo Sandoval 23 SFG 116 376 3.24 42%
9 *Carlos Gonzalez 24 COL 106 335 3.16 41%
10 *Carl Crawford 28 TBR 117 435 3.72 41%

Two Headed Catching Monster: Henry Blanco has thrown out everyone who has attempted to steal off him. Rod Barajas has thrown out no one who has attempted to steal off him.

SB CS CS%
Rod Barajas 6 0 0%
Henry Blanco 0 5 100%
Team Total 6 5 45%

Okay, that’s all I have for now. Just thought it would be fun to see a few things that have been happening which you may not be aware of. And now you know . . .

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>Pelfrey Implosion Sunday Stuff to Read

>Some things to look at and read on an unseasonably hot Sunday.

Daniel Murphy is going to AAA after he recovers from his knee injury.

Ted Berg is in Milledgeville.

Is Mets-Phillies a rivalry again? What about the third place Nationals, who are just a game out of first? Or the Marlins, who are just two games out? Or the last place Braves.

In case you didn’t have enough with my explanations as to why Kevin Kernan is wrong about everything – particularly about the Mets pounding the strikezone – here is Surviving the Citi’s and Fire Jerry Manuel’s views on the subject.

John Maine has a wide range of emotions.

The Kentucky Derby is (still) Decadent and Depraved.

Rod Barajas is not happy about what is transpiring in Arizona.

How old is Jamie Moyer? Well, he started (and won) against the 1986 Mets.

* * *
Santana-Moyer tonight. More interestingly, I’m convinced Joe Morgan is going to strangle Orel Hershiser on air before the season is over. Maybe tonight?

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>Sunday Stuff to Read

>Some Sunday morning links, as usual.

Joe Posnanski on hating A-Rod and Duke. Every once in a while, I’m tempted to like A-Rod. I suspect it’s going to happen one day, but not yet.

Think the Mets bullpen is good? Think again.

Did you know Keith Hernandez wrote a book about the 1985 season? Even better, did you know that Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune reviewed the book in a somewhat odd but entertaining fashion?

Wunderkind and future Washington National, Bryce Harper, is apparently kind of a jerk.

An interesting, and excessively sane or insane, rethinking of the playoffs by Sky Andrecheck, though not one I agree with.

Deadspin takes a look inside the world of gay softball.

A Cuban-born baseball scout was released after 13 years in prison.

Will Leitch explains defensive statistics in an understandable way for New York Magazine.

Things going right for the Mets is going to make Adam Rubin’s head explode.

Tom Verducci notes the rise in the number of young African-American stars in baseball.

Now that we’re in the swing of the season, interesting reads are starting to appear.

* * *

Maybe you can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach?

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>Hey! Why is This Suddenly Easier to Read!

>I just messed around with the template – I think the narrower text column is easier to read, but I haven’t gone in and fixed the banner at the top, or the ads and whatever. Let me know if it is or isn’t easier to read. Thanks.

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>20 Inning Sunday Stuff to Read

>Links for the morning after 20-innings of baseball that nearly killed my father.

First, Amazin’ Avenue’s recap of the game is tremendous. Eric Simon lists 20 nuggets about the game, and Howard Megdal provides an epic poem for an epic game.

K-Rod reportedly threw 100 warmup pitches before coming into the game in the 19th inning.

Not Mets related, but Joe Posnanski on home run trots.

Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals tonight. Will Leitch points out the drastically different paths the two teams have taken since 2006.

Adam Rubin points out that had Jerry Manuel managed yesterday’s game as Tony LaRussa had, Manuel would probably be out of a job. On the other hand, I do think it’s worth pointing out that it took the Mets 3 innings to defeat the POSITION PLAYERS pitching for the Cardinals.

Oh yeah. Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter or something.

***

Don’t forget to mail in your Census form.

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