Hello, boys and girls, and welcome to the second official installment of the Mets 10-Game Report, brought to you with the confidence that Johan Santana will make it 2 series wins in a row today for the Amazins and get them off on the right foot for Volume 3.
Previous Results:Volume 1: Games 1-10: Record: 5-5
And the latest:
vs MIL W 1-0
vs MIL L 4-2
@ STL L 6-4
@ STL L 5-2
@ STL L 12-8
vs WAS W 4-3
vs WAS W 8-2
vs WAS L 8-1
vs FLA W 7-1
vs FLA L 7-4
Runs Scored: 41
Runs Allowed: 48
Team BA: 92/330 = .279
Team BA with RISP: 28/100 = .280 (really? that high? strange.)
Team BA with RISP and 2 outs: 16/55 = .290 (sometimes, the numbers just don't tell the whole truth)
HRs: 3 (Citi Field seems to be more conducive to triples than homers. I mean, Sheffield and Delgado each have a triple at Citi. But yeah - it is hard to hit the ball out of this park. Which I much prefer to a bandbox wind tunnel like they have in Philly and in that gaudy monstrosity in the Bronx.)
Team ERA: 87IP, 47ER = 4.86
Starter ERA: 55IP, 32ER = 5.23 (Considering that Johan currently has an ERA of 0.70, this does not speak well of the other starters. But as of late they have actually come around a bit. More on that in the analysis.)
Bullpen ERA: 31IP, 16ER = 4.65 (Sean Green = bad, very bad.)
HRs allowed: 10 (way too high)
BAA: 91/335 = .271 (way too high)
Fielding DP: 8
Volume 2 MVPs:
Starter: Johan Santana: As advertised. His ERA is 0.70.
Reliever: Bobby Parnell: This young kid has got nasty stuff. He's got a hard slider, and a 96 mph fastball. And he's our 7th inning man. Parnell, Putz, K-Rod. Wash, rinse, repeat. And we have yet to see this fearsome threesome really prove their value to the Mets.
Hitter: Carlos Beltran: He's hitting .400 and has just been totally locked in at the plate lately, which is nice, because he usually gets off to slow starts. Beltran is not the flashiest of players, but he's by far the best defensive center fielder in baseball. And when he's locked in at the plate as he is right now, he makes it look easy.
Volume 2 Maker's Mark Specials:
Starter: Oliver Perez: He's gone from good-Ollie/bad-Ollie to just plain bad-Ollie. But we all hope that his start against the Phillies this saturday will get his season finally going. Last year he gave up a total of 1 run to the Phillies.
Reliever: Sean Green: Well, this worthless arm is the only guy who brings back memories of last year. No more, please. And Jerry - NEVER bring this guy in to protect a 1 run lead in the 7th again.
Hitter: David Wright: I hate to pick on my boy, but he deserves it. He's off to a slow start. He can't get a hit with runners in scoring position. He's late on the fastball. He whifs at the low and away slider. His last two games he has looked a bit better. But in any case - in 2007, DW hit .240 in April with o homeruns. He looked even worse then. But he fixed it and went on to have one of his signature 25+ HR 100+ RBI seasons. He will do it again. I'm not worried about David Wright.
Summary Analysis: Oddly enough, despite the terrible 4-6 result, this volume has me feeling better than volume 1 had me feeling. Volume 2 was pretty lopsided, with the Mets putting themselves in a hole by starting out 1-4, and then going 3-2. You can pick on the offense about not getting the clutch hits, but at the end of the day - it's all about pitching. Starting pitching, in particular. And the Mets starting pitching has been just awful. With the exception of Johan Santana, these guys have all pitched to ERAs over 6.
Now, there is some good news on the horizon. Mike Pelfrey, John Maine, and Livan Hernandez all had good starts their last times out. They were awful in their starts prior to those, which is why Volume 2 is so lopsided. I'm more worried about Big Pelf and Johnny Maine. Hernandez is what he is. But Maine and Pelf looked very solid their last times out and I'm confident they will now get on track. Once the starting pitching gets consistent, this team will start to roll. The bullpen is top notch. The numbers are skewed for them this time around because Sean Green really stunk a couple times and gave up a whole lot of runs, but this bullpen is not Sean Green. This bullpen is Parnell, Putz, and K-Rod. Once the starting pitchers start doing their thing and give these guys a chance to really do their thing, the Mets will start rolling off those 4-6 game winning streaks and play.600+ baseball.
The offense still concerns me as far as the clutch factor goes. And - they still are not able to dig deep late in games when they are down by 2 or more runs. That's a mental thing that they must get over. But as far as the basic numbers go - everyone in this lineup, for the most part, is hitting well. I love that Jerry Manual has put Beltran in the 3-hole and Wright back in the 5-hole. This is the formula that worked so damn well in 2006.
All that said, I do still worry about the overall sense of urgency and psyche of this team. I'll have a better sense of all this, as we all will, once April turns into May and May turns into June.
Next on the docket for the Mets in Volume 3 is the final game of the Florida series, then what I'm sure will be a fun weekend in Philadelphia, then Atlanta, then back home for Philly and Pittsburgh. This, in my view, is the Mets' first real test. Division rivals. The defending champs. the hated Braves. It's time for the Mets to make their mark. 6-4 is not going to cut it. I mean, that would be fine, but that would put the Mets at .500. We need a nice 7-3 or 8-2.
Records of other teams of interest:
Phillies: 4-6, 7-2
Braves: 5-5, 5-5
Marlins: 9-1, 3-7
I hate the Phillies. All they do is win when they are clearly not supposed to - like when they are down by 1000 runs in the 8th inning. But when you play in Citizens Bank Park, where routine pop flies turn into homeruns, anything is possible. The Braves continue their half and half play, while the Marlins finally come down to earth. And in the American League, the Yankees are sitting at 10-10 while the Red Sox just had their 11 game winning streak snapped - a winning streak which included a pretty nice beat down of the Yanks - a sweep - which surely pleased the Fenway faithful. Jacoby Ellsbury stole home on Andy Pettite. He stole home! Who does he think he is, Jackie Robinson?
And speaking of the Yankees - they are lowering their ticket prices for those "Legend" field level seats. You wouldn't believe this, but even with all that tradition, even with all that history, all that mystique; even with all that pride, all that power, and all those pinstripes, people still don't want to spend 2600 bucks a pop to watch Chin Meing Wang give up 8 runs in the first inning. Now, normally, major corporations would be buying up these seats and send their CEOs to go there and type away on their blackberries while they entertain clients. But thanks to the fact that said corporations have all been bailed out courtesy of the US taxpayer, less money seems to be available for luxuries like 2600 dollar Yankees seats. IMAGINE - the Yankees might actually try to sell these seats now to real Yankees fans.