Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Posts Tagged ‘Braves’

A Note About Walks, and The 1962 Mets

Posted by JD on April 4, 2011

Mets batters walked nine times in yesterday’s win over the Marlins. For some reason that struck me as an unusually high number of walks, so I used Baseball Reference’s Play Index to do some research. Here’s what I found:

  • Nine walks is a lot, but not uncommon: over the years the Mets have had nine or more walks in 152 games (1.94% of total games played). This means it will happen about three times a season.
  • The 2010 Mets achieved the feat four times, including almost exactly one year ago against the Marlins (in a 7-6 loss on April 7th). That was the second game of the season and it took 10 innings to complete. Three Mets had two walks apiece, including everyone’s favorite centerfielder, Gary Matthews Jr. It was arguably his second most productive game of the season (his performance on Opening Day wasn’t too bad), but it was all downhill from there.
  • The 1970 Mets hold the franchise record for most games with nine or more walks with 12.
  • Surprisingly, the 1962 Mets had eight games of nine or more walks, highlighted by back-to-back games against the Dodgers on June 28 and 29 in which Dodger pitchers gave out 11 and 16 free passes, respectively (this being the 1962 Mets, they managed to lose the 11-walk game). Given that team’s reputation for being comically inept, I was more than a little surprised. Digging deeper I found that the Mets actually lead the league in walks by a healthy margin, accruing 35 more than the Milwaukee Braves (616 to 581). Of course they finished last in hits by an even healthier margin (their 1,318 was 52 less than the next closest team, the Houston Colt 45’s), which resulted in a lower-than-league-average OBP of .318. Lower than average, but not lowest: the Chicago Cubs (.317) and Houston (.310) had that “honor”.
  • The Cubs have only themselves to blame for having a lower OBP that season: they walked the Mets 15 times in a game on May 15, 1962. Had they limited the damage to eight walks or less the Mets would have finished percentage points behind them.

So, there’s your walk-related Mets trivia for the day. Use it in good health.


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The Rotation – My Two Cents

Posted by JD on May 16, 2010

Well, that just happened. The Marlins swept the Mets in a four game series at Dolphins Stadium and the rotation was torn apart in the process. Jon Niese injured himself fielding a bunt (@StevePopper tweeted the following during today’s game: Niese aggravated his right proximal hamstring. He will return to NY for further evaluation). John Maine imploded on Saturday, and Oliver Perez was Oliver Perez on Friday. For a such a mediocre club, the Mets sure seem to deal in extremes. Well, where do we go from here?

In the short term, let’s call up R.A. Dickey to start on Wednesday. The beat writers’ post-game tweets seemed to indicate that this is the most likely course of action, and I heartily endorse it. His 4.63 K/BB and 5.5 K/9 ratio are most likely unsustainable at the major league level, but what’s the harm in giving him a shot?

I understand the calls for Dillon Gee: he’s earned his shot, too. But there’s a bigger picture to consider. Win, lose, or draw, Dickey can take the long-man spot in the bullpen, which may come in handy if Hisanori Takahashi winds up taking Niese’s spot against the Yankees on Friday. H-Tak has been a life saver an inning-eater as the long man in the bullpen, and Dickey is far better suited to that role than Gee (or Oliver Perez, for that matter). Tobi Stoner is also on track for a Wednesday start and the Mets have already used his option for this season, so that’s on the table, too. His development is better served by getting a regular turn in the Buffalo rotation but then again, I’ve said that about Jenrry Mejia, so what do I know?

A patchwork quilt of Dickey and Takahashi will have to due because, unfortunately for us, the Wilpons’ irrational inability to understand the concept of sunk costs has irrevocably tied us to Oliver Perez. If the Mets can’t bring themselves to eat the $2 million owed to Gary Matthews, Jr., why should we expect them to take the necessary actions with Oliver Perez?

As soon as that $36 million contract was signed, Perez was ours until July of 2011, at the earliest. That contract a gamble from jump: either he would succeed (in which case, he would be well worth the $12 million a year) or he would go down in flames, rendering him virtually untradeable. It’s now clear that ownership won’t step up to to back the gamble: they’re simply incapable of admitting that it didn’t work out, cutting ties, and moving on.

Listen; I know I’ve been an Oliver Perez apologist. I’ve consistently argued that he might someday (somehow) achieve the consistency needed to harness his underlying talents (I like Ollie and, unlike most, I find his personality quirks endearing). But even I understand that he’s shown nothing to indicate that he can pull himself together. We’ve moved well past the point of hoping for a miraculous breakthrough: Oliver Perez must be removed from the major league roster, for his good, and the team’s.

Someone in the front office should be on the phone to Scott Boras’ offices right now. Jeff Wilpon, Omar Minaya, or John Ricco or some other suitable proxy should be pressing the super-agent to get Perez to admit that his best interests will be served by a stint in Buffalo. The Mets would be better off starting R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Tobi Stoner, or Pat Misch, and Perez would be best served by experiencing success of any kind. Perez will get paid either way, and perhaps Boras can be convinced that, at the very least, success in Buffalo can increase his trade value.

For all I know they’ve already tried it. If they have, they need to try it again. And again and again and again, until it works. If they won’t cut Perez, or trade him at a deep discount, their only hope is to get him to accept an assignment to Buffalo.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I doubt very much that Perez will accept assignment. And I doubt very much that the Mets will eat their loses on him, which means that we all need to get used to the fact that Ollie will be on the mound for the foreseeable future.

On a side note, the Mets’ starting pitchers have now gone 15 straight starts without a win, a feat that was last accomplished in 1982. The Mets visit the Braves tomorrow to start a three game series, and Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana are starting the first two games. It could get real ugly, real quick, if they can’t end the streak. At the very least, we might be talking about a new manager. Stay tuned: the next week is going to be interesting. To say the least.

Posted in Jerry Manuel, Mets, Oliver Perez, The Rotation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Defending Wayne Hagin

Posted by JD on April 25, 2010

Tonight’s game will be on ESPN, so I’ll be muting it and listening to Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin on WFAN. The quality of the ESPN broadcast is much improved from last season, but only because Steve Phillips was kicked to the curb when he proved (once again) that he can’t keep it in his pants. It’s still tedious to listen to Morgan and Miller, so I’m going to avoid it altogether by tuning into the FAN.

I read tweets from time to time about the radio broadcasting crew and have noticed a bit of a disparity in how the members of the booth are viewed by fans. Howie Rose is a staple: his “Put it in the books!” call is second only to Bob Murphy’s “Happy Recap”. Often asked to MC major events at Shea Stadium or Citi Field, his voice is now synonymous with the Mets. On the other hand, Wayne Hagin, is still working his way into our good graces, to put it nicely. He joined the FAN in 2008 as a replacement for Tom McCarthy (who was unfairly criticized for trying too hard to sound like his predecessor, Gary Cohen). Hagin’s received an awful lot of negative comments though: this post on the Ultimate Mets Database neatly includes a pretty representative sample.

I admit that I didn’t like the hire initially, either, but Hagin’s really grown on me over the past three seasons. He’s not a native New Yorker, but he’s taken to the Big Apple with gusto. From discussions surrounding the origin of egg cremes to the proper usage of the term “schmuck”, Wayne has embraced our local culture with both arms. He brings an outsider’s view to the team we love, a fresh set of eyes that sees old problems in new ways. It’s true that he often refers to the A’s, Giants, Rockies, and Cardinals (the latter can be especially tedious), but he’s a baseball fan first and foremost, and that shines through no matter what team he’s discussing.

Most importantly, he’s established good on-air chemistry with Howie Rose. For all I know, the two of them hate each other off the air. But when the mic is on, they sound like old friends talking about a ball game, which is all I really want. When I turn on the radio, I want to listen to someone who makes me care about the game: someone who’s invested in the action and invested in the Mets, who cares about what they’re describing and who wants me to care about it, too. In his own unique way, Hagin does that. It may have taken me two-plus years to admit it, but Wayne Hagin is a welcome addition to the Mets on-air family.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go mute my television set and tune in the FAN. Howie, Wayne, and I have a ballgame to watch. And if @MetsWFAN (the Immortal Chris Majkowski) wants to chime in, the more the merrier. As always, Let’s Go Mets!

Posted in Mets | Tagged: , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Double Standard

Posted by JD on March 10, 2010

I missed today’s game because of work, but I was able to read the summary on Metsblog. It sounded like a typical Spring Training game to me, albeit with a dramatic game-winning home run thrown in. Then, I read the following:

However, (Jesus) Sucre’s home run was scored a single because he was mobbed by his teammates after reaching first base, and so only one was ruled to score on the hit.

My blood immediately started boiling. Not because of the act itself, but because of the implied double standard. After three years of hearing about how insufferable the Mets are, the Braves mobbed a player because he won a SPRING TRAINING (act like you’ve been there before). How often have we heard how annoying the Mets players are? How Jose Reyes’ clownish behavior was the reason why the other teams in the division tried extra hard to beat the Mets. Does anyone care to wager that we’ll hear that kind of crap directed towards the Braves? I didn’t think so.

Again, I’m not upset at the act itself. I like to see expressive players. I want to know that they’re enjoying themselves: it’s part of the fun of watching the game for me. But if you’re going to hold one team to an absurd standard, then it’s only fair to hold them all to it. I hate to sound like a defensive Mets fan, but I really doubt that will ever happen.

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