Monday, June 1, 2009

The Mets 10-Game Report: Volume 5

Greetings, Mets fans, baseball fans, and internet junkies alike, and welcome to the 5th installment of the Mets 10-Game Report.  

Previous results:

And the latest:
Games 41-50
Record: 7-3

@ BOS W 5-3
@ BOS W 3-2
@ BOS L 12-5
vs WAS W 5-2
vs WAS W 6-1
vs WAS W 7-4
vs FLA W 2-1
vs FLA L 7-3
vs FLA W 3-2
@ PIT L 8-5

Runs Scored: 44

Runs Allowed: 40

Team BA: 80/322 = .248

Team BA with RISP: 29/87 = .333

Team BA with RISP & 2 outs: 12/45 = .266

HR's: 7

HR's allowed: 6

Team ERA: 90IP, 39ER = 3.90

Starter ERA: 63IP, 26ER = 3.71

Bullpen ERA: 26IP, 13ER = 4.50

Team BAA: 71/343 = .206

Errors: 6


Fielding DP: 10

SB: 9

Volume 5 MVPs:
Starter: Every starter outside of Redding has been great, but I'm going to give this one to Mike Pelfrey, who sported a 1.90 ERA in Volume 5 - including a very well pitched game at Fenway Park.  
Reliever: Bobby Parnell gets a slight edge over K-Rod for this volume only because he always seems to have the added pressure of having to clean up a mess left by Putz.  
Hitter: Omir Santos went yard on Jonathan Papelbon with 2 outs and 1 on with his team down by a run in the 9th.  He launched the 97 mph high cheddar offered by Papelbon over the Monster.  That feat alone gets him this award, but that's not the only good thing he did in this volume.  He came up clutch in several other situations as well.  He's starting to remind me of Paul LoDuca a bit with his plate presence, only he has much more pop in that bat.  

Volume 5 "Please serve me another shot of whiskey please":
Starter: Tim Redding's ERA is slowly approaching Ron Darling's IQ.  The biggest problem I see with Redding is that he is always pitching in hitter's counts.  It's hard to get good result when you find yourself at 2-0, 2-1, or 3-1 seemingly every batter.  
Reliever: There is clearly something wrong with J.J. Putz, who has allowed five hits, three walks and six runs with the last 29 pitches he has thrown.  
Hitter: I can't think of one hitter who truly deserves to be the goat for this volume.  Wait, actually, this must go to Fernando Martinez for not running out that pop fly in his second major league game of his life.  

Summary Analysis: Fingers, hips, calves, hamstrings, groins, and stomach viruses + the New York Mets = strange lineups.  But the Mets have been doing a whole lot of winning with these strange lineups featuring the likes of Ramon Martinez and Wilson Valdez at shortstop, Jeremy Reed and Angel Pagan manning center field, and even the occasional Fernando Tatis playing third base!  The no-names - from Martinez, Valdez, Santos, Reed, Pagan, and now Mr. F-Mart - have all held their own fairly well.  A lot of people have been saying: "Hey!  You take out the overpaid stars, and finally this team has grit again!"  I think there is some truth to that sentiment.  But, trust me, you want Jose Reyes back, and you want a healthy Carlos Delgado back too.  

But the Mets have shown that when you're whole team is on the DL, you can still win with solid starting pitching, lockdown relief, and timely hitting.  The stats don't need to be gaudy.  Look at the BA numbers.  The Mets hit only .248 this volume, but they hit .333 with RISP.  That's the difference maker.  We have also been seeing lots of effective small ball run by Jerry Manuel, which is great to see.  That's something the Mets should be doing more regardless of who is in the lineup.  

The Mets have also beat up on the bad teams - mostly the Nationals in this case.  The Phillies are 10-2 against the Nats this year.  The Mets are 5-1.  You have to put the cellar dwellers away to be a legitimate first place team, and the Mets have done that so far.  

Overall this was a very positive stretch of 10 games.  The Mets took 2 out of 3 the hard way in a very hard ball-park for a visiting team to succeed in against the Red Sox.  Then they had a sweet 5-1 homestand, capping off a wonderful month of May - finishing 19-9.  Of course, we ended on a downer here with the Mets blowing a 5-0 lead against the Pirates, thanks mainly to the ineptitude of J.J. Putz.  The Mets need to figure out what is wrong with this guy, and fast.  We can't have him going all 2008 on this team this year.  This is 2009, and Aaron Heilman was traded to the Cubs.  Scott Schowenweiss, too, is gone.  If Putz keeps this up, he needs to go join Mr. Heilman and Mr. Schowenweiss.  

The story remains the same for this team, for the most part: the starting pitching is very good, the bullpen (minus Putz) is lockdown.  The offense tends to have a hard time being clutch, but that's why we have Omir Santos!  Sometimes a starter will get shelled around, but this is rare and tends to happen only once every 5 days.  Sometimes Putz will come in like he did last night and lose a game.  Sometimes it might be Sean Green!  But these are the rarities.  Overall - the fundamentals of this team are solid, and they are starting to acquire some attitude.  

Forget about this most recent game in Pittsburgh.  They will shake that off and continue to roll, I believe.  This team is actually exciting for a change.  Believe, fellas, Believe.  

Next up for the Mets now in Volume 6: 3 more @ Pittsburgh, then 3 @ Washington, then 3 vs. the Phillies, and then into the first Subway Series for the new NY ballparks we go!

Around the NL East:

Phillies: 4-6, 7-3, 5-5, 7-3, 6-3
Braves: 5-5, 5-5, 4-6, 6-4, 5-5
Marlins: 9-1, 3-7, 4-6, 3-7, 4-6, 1-1

The Phillies are playing good baseball.  One thing that is so frustrating about them, as someone who hates their guts, is the fact that the always win these games in which they give up tons of runs.  They play well offensively, obviously.  Of course, they also play in Citizens Bank Park and have played the Nationals 12 times.  Take away those 12 games against the Nats, and Phils are only 1 game over .500.  The Braves are 25-25.  Nothing says .500 better than that.  The Marlins are now trying to avoid their FIFTH volume in a row in which they play sub-.500 baseball.  Their pitching outside of Johnson and Volstad (who the Mets can't hit!) is questionable, their offense is still too streaky and one-dimensional, and they still can't play defense.  

Meanwhile, in the league that allows teams to field 10 men, the Yankees really appear to have hit their stride.  The starting pitching is coming together, and the offense has been on fire since the return of A-Rod.  And now Posada is back, and the name Xavier Nady keeps getting thrown around as well.  Look out for that subway series coming up.  It's going to be totally kick@ss.  The Red Sox are going to have to make a decision about Big Papi at some point.  What are the odds of him pulling a 2008 Carlos Delgado?

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