Posted by JD on April 27, 2011
I have to apologize in advance for this post. This series was never meant to be a recap: it was meant to highlight the reasons why watching Mets baseball was enjoyable even when they didn’t walk away with a win. Games like this were not what I had in mind when I came up with this re-occurring bit.
Why am I apologizing? Because the “Something Nice” tonight was the top of the eighth and ninth innings. Is that a cop out? Yes. But it was one thing after the other: Jose Reyes getting jobbed at third, Dan Murphy tying it with a “Blue Collar Blast” (copyright Amazin’ Avenue), Jason Bay reaching on an infield single, Willie Harris benefiting beating out a bunt due to some ugly defense, Chin-lung Hu’s first RBI as a member of the Mets, Josh Thole’s fielders choice RBI, Murphy’s two-run double, and Francisco Rodriguez closing the door. I guess if I had to pick one player I’d go with Murph, but everybody deserves credit for the win (especially the Nationals).
I tried to tweet my feelings about this win immediately after the game ended. I’m not sure I said it right, so I’ll try again here. I fully understand that it’s April and this was a game between two teams that have lost more games than they’ve won. I know this game does not represent a “turning point” in the same way that I know it’s not an indication that the Mets have “figured it out” or that they displayed a willingness to “do whatever it takes to win.” This win symbolizes nothing: it’s just 0.62% of the schedule. I get all that, but it doesn’t diminish the fact that this game was freaking awesome. “Double comeback! What does it mean!”
Not all that much, but boy was it fun to watch. If you watched (or listened) to this game and didn’t get at least a little caught up in it, well, I’m sorry: I’m not sure what to say to you. But if you did? If you cheered wildly when Murph went yard, died a little when Wilson Ramos gave the Nats the lead again, perked up a bit when Hu drove in the tying run, cheered wildly when Thole got the winning “ribeye steak”, and totally lost your shit when Murph doubled in some insurance runs*? Hang on to that. Soak every second of it in. Set your DVR to record the replay and watch it as much as you want: it’s in the books.
Posted in Daniel Murphy, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: Chin-lung Hu, Daniel Murphy, Francisco Rodriguez, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Mets, Something Nice, Willie Harris, Wilson Ramos | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 23, 2011
That was an interesting game to watch. Dillon Gee had a strong showing, Jason Bay knocked in three runs and was named Player of the game, Daniel Murphy had some adventures in the field but knocked in the go-ahead and insurance runs, and Bay and Ike Davis hit back to back titanic home runs (I think Ike’s may have dented the Pepsi Porch steps). There were lots of moving pieces in the Mets’ third consecutive win.
For today’s “Something Nice”, I’m going with Jose Reyes’ performance. He walked to lead off the first inning and, upon advancing to third, walked a quarter of the way toward home taunting Diamondbacks pitcher Barry Enright (he and David Wright would go on to score when Jason Bay singled). It was classic Reyes gamesmanship and even though it didn’t work, it was great to see him agitating the opposition again. He would finish 2-4 with two runs scored and, to top it off, he successfully generated a balk in the eighth inning. He didn’t steal a single base, but it was a classic Jose Reyes game. I’m just happy I was there to watch it in person.
Posted in David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: Barry Enright, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dillon Gee, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on April 22, 2011
Where to start? Jason Bay returned from the disabled list and had a nice game, going one for four with two runs scored (one of which was courtesy of a dropped fly ball by Hunter Pence). Terry Collins single-handedly willed the Mets to win by switching up their uniforms and getting tossed in the first inning. Ike Davis picked up two more RBI, one on a home run to center (not exactly the easiest thing to do at Citi Field). Chris Capuano had a quality start, and Taylor Buchholz closed the door in relief. Good candidates all, and certainly worthy of honorable mentions, but not quite it.
Mike Nickeas opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with his first career major league home run, a solo shot to left field. I wish I was there to see it: despite his shortcomings, I can’t help but root for him. Not much of a hitter (he has a .680 OPS in 1,803 career minor league plate appearances), Nickeas is only on the roster until Ronny Paulino returns from injury. I’m glad he got to have a moment that he’ll remember (and likely treasure) for the rest of his life. It’s not every day that you see something like that happen, but as great a moment as it was, there was something more important for Mets fans.
Today’s “Something Nice” goes to David Wright, who snapped a career high 20 at-bat hitless streak with a solo home run. Wright would go on to get another hit and a walk and finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored. The Mets’ best player had his best game in a week or so and got himself a completely meaningless stat to boot: his fourth-inning home run was the “game winning RBI”. Only time will tell if Wright is about to go on a hot streak, but for one night it was awesome to see him display the talents that have made him the Mets best position player of all time*.
*Well, not yet. Not technically: Darryl Strawberry still holds that distinction. But Wright is blurring the line and it’s only a matter of time before he takes that title.
Posted in David Wright, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Terry Collins | Tagged: Chris Capuano, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Hunter Pence, Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Mike Nickeas, Ronny Paulino, Something Nice, Taylor Buchholz, Terry Collins | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on March 30, 2011
The final game has been played (the Mets won, if you care) and the final roster decisions have been made. Next stop: Miami. A couple of thoughts before Opening Day:
- Jason Bay is injured. You didn’t think this wouldn’t happen, did you? Not Bay’s injury specifically, but an injury to one of the team’s better players. I may be reading too much into my Twitter feed, but I think it’s fair to say that Bay’s injury solicited a fair amount of “same old Mets” reactions. Sure, it’s not a good thing. But injuries happen, especially to soon-to-be 32 year old outfielders. I could be alone here, but I think it’s at most a minor set back and is not at all related to anything that happened in 2009 or 10. Bay will be back at some point, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll probably exceed his 2010 production levels. Until then, some combination of Lucas Duda, Scott Hairston and Opening Day starter Willie Harris will tide the team over.
- Speaking of Willie Harris, he’s starting in left field on Opening Day. Well, that’s sub-optimal. But after they sing the anthem and watch the fighter jet-flyover, Opening Day is just one of 162 games. As long as Carlos Beltran stays healthy, the threesome listed above should be able to roughly approximate Bay’s production.
- Speaking of Carlos Beltran, he’s apparently healthy. Or, at least as healthy as he’s likely to get this season. I’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that I’m a big Beltran fan and I’m extremely happy that he’s going to play on Friday. I’ve come to grips with the fact that he’ll never be the player he once was: those days are over. But I’m excited about his bat. Maybe I’ve read to many articles, too many beat-writer tweets from batting practice or minor league games, but it sounds to me like his bat (and, just as importantly, his batting eye) are still as good as ever. He may not be able to cover ground like he once did and I’ll probably hold my breath every time he rounds first on his way to second, but he’ll help this team. I have no doubt about that.
I’m on record over at Mets Fever saying that I think the Mets will “go 87-75 and finish 2nd. I don’t think that will be good enough for the Wild Card, but they’ll be in contention late.” Despite recent developments, I still feel that way. Sure, it’s a bit optimistic and quite a few things have to go right, but I think they’ll get some breaks*. And even if they don’t, I refuse to dampen my optimism. Our long, cold winter is finally over: Mets baseball is back and we’re about to embark on another 162-game summer. Let’s get ready to enjoy it for all it’s worth.
*That’s as far as I’m willing to “show my work”. As much as I admire (and struggle to employ) statistical analysis and forecasting, I was unwilling to peek too far behind the curtains for my pre-season prediction. I’m aware of the flaws this team has and I know that banking on a few breaks to go the Mets way is lazy, but I’m going all in on optimism. Will I be disappointed if they don’t win 87 games? Not unless they lose more than 83: this team is better than last year’s. Anything in-between is acceptable to me, and I chose to bet on the high side. So there you go. And Let’s Go Mets!
Posted in Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Mets, Spring Training | Tagged: Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay, Lucas Duda, Mets, Scott Hairston, Willie Harris | Leave a Comment »
Posted by JD on February 7, 2011
Last week, Sandy Alderson commented that “stolen bases are a footnote”. He’s right, though as James Kannengeiser of Amazin Avenue noted “the Mets have been an elite base stealing machine over the last few seasons.” Actually, Kannengeiser’s analysis thoroughly covers the issue (that’s not the first time I’ve said that about his work) and I pretty much agree with every word of it, especially his conclusion.
But it got me thinking about which Mets players were the most efficient base stealers. So, I went over to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index tool to take a deeper dive. Here’s a few highlights of what I found:
- 60 Mets have a perfect base stealing percentage. 55 of them stole 4 bases or less, including Tom Seaver (4-4), Kelly Stinnett (4-4), Josh Thole (2-2), Sid Fernandez (1-1) and Ron Darling (1-1).
- The five players who were 5-5 or better: Paul LoDuca (5-5), Shane Spencer (6-6), Dan Norman (8-8), Jason Bay (10-10) and Manny Alexander (11-11).
- The player with the best “non-perfect” stolen base success rate: Chico Walker, who went 21-22 in 222 games over the 1992-93 seasons. I liked Chico, because his name often reminded me of the immortal Chico Escuela.
- Shawn Green is the only other Met to exceed a 90% success rate, going 11-12 in 164 games over the 2006-07 seasons. He also owns a very, very expensive house.
Now, let’s look at some arbitrary thresholds (current Mets in bold text):
- Highest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Bob Bailor, 40-46 (.870), Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Roberto Alomar, 22-26 (.846), Kaz Matsui, 22-26 (.846), Cliff Floyd, 32-38 (.842).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Elliot Maddox, 6-28 (.214), Ed Kranepool, 15-42 (.357), Jerry Grote, 14-34 (.412), Jeff Kent, 12-28 (.429), Felix Millan, 11-25 (.440).
- Highest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Gregg Jeffries, 63–77 (.818), Luis Castillo, 55-68 (.809), Kevin McReynolds, 67-83 (.807).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Joel Youngblood, 39-75 (.520), Wayne Garrett, 33-59 (.559), Rey Ordonez, 28-50 (.560), Bernard Gilkey, 29-50 (.580), Lenny Randle, 47-79 (.595).
- Highest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Roger Cedeno, 103-135 (.778), David Wright, 138-180 (.767).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: John Stearns, 91-142 (.641), Cleon Jones, 91-139 (.655), Tommy Agee, 92-139 (.662), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682), Frank Taveras, 90-131 (.687).
- Success rates, minimum 200 stolen bases: Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Howard Johnson, 202-265 (.762), Mookie Wilson, 281-371 (.757), Darryl Strawberry, 191-266 (.718), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682).
Three observations came to me:
- The late 60’s-early 70’s Mets ran a little, but without much success.
- The 80’s Mets ran a lot, with a fair amount of success.
- The current team has the three most successful runners in franchise history, plus Castillo (.809) and Angel Pagan (55-71, .775).
That final point brings me back to Kannengeiser’s post. I share his confidence in Alderson & Co., but I worry just a bit that this edge will be blunted. Time will tell, but it will most definitely be an interesting sub-plot to follow this season.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Mets, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: Bernard Gilkey, Bob Bailor, Carlos Beltran, Chico Escuela, Chico Walker, Cleon Jones, Cliff Floyd, Dan Norman, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Ed Kranepool, Elliot Maddox, Felix Millan, Frank Taveras, Gregg Jeffries, Howard Johnson, Jason Bay, Jeff Kent, Jerry Grote, Joel Youngblood, John Stearns, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Kaz Matsui, Kelly Stinnett, Kevin McReynolds, Lee Mazzilli, Lenny Dykstra, Lenny Randle, Luis Castillo, Manny Alexander, Mets, Mookie Wilson, Paul LoDuca, Rey Ordonez, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, Ron Darling, Sandy Alderson, Shane Spencer, Shawn Green, Sid Fernandez, Tom Seaver, Tommy Agee, Wayne Garrett | 1 Comment »