For those who have read Moneyball, we know now that on-base percentage is the name of the game.
In the early going this season, the Mets have done a great job of getting guys on base. The team is tied for third place in the NL with a .335 on-base percentage with the Washington Nationals.
However, driving in those runs has been a more difficult task. Just in Wednesday’s game against the Braves, the Mets left 11 runners on base.
While the team’s on-base percentage may be third, their batting average with runners in scoring position is ninth in the league at just .236. That average drops to .208 with two outs.
Driving in the clutch run with two outs, especially late in the game, separates the men from the boys. There have been a few instances of guys coming up big with two outs (David Wright, Ike Davis and Kirk Nieuwenhuis) this year, but this needs to become a recurring trend.
Of course, even the best teams will not be effective every time in driving in clutch runs. But the team’s that can do so consistently tend to rack up in the wins column.
Now it’s definitely still early, and I’m sure many of us are content with a 7-5 start, which included road trips to Philadelphia and Atlanta—places where the Mets rarely win. But two-out hitting will be key this upcoming homestand when the team squares off against the solid pitching staffs of the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins.
Ike Davis seems to be coming around in the middle of the order, but Jason Bay and Lucas Duda continue to struggle. Yes, they’ve hit some home runs, but the strikeouts—especially with runners on base—have piled up for both.
Breaking out of an early season slump may take some time, but a great way to build confidence is driving in runs with two outs. Bay or Duda can go 1-for-5 in a game with four strikeouts, but the one hit can be a key run-scoring hit that ties a game or gives the Mets the lead. Those types of hits can really get a player going.
So on the whole, two-out hitting has been one of the few causes for concern early on, but if the Mets can turn this trend around, this team can have a special first few months, especially if the starting pitching continues to flourish (except for R.A. Dickey Wednesday).