Mets Merized Online » Jeffrey Bellone http://metsmerizedonline.com Sun, 01 Feb 2015 12:00:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.5 Featured Post: A Puzzling Asking Price and Return for Gregorius http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-a-puzzling-asking-price-and-return-for-gregorius.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/featured-post-a-puzzling-asking-price-and-return-for-gregorius.html/#comments Mon, 08 Dec 2014 01:33:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171172 Didi+Gregorius

The Yankees decided to swoop in and get themselves a shortstop this week, something that seems impossible for the New York Mets.

What is confusing is the return for Didi Gregorius. As David Lennon tweeted out, the asking price to the Mets centered on Noah Syndergaard.

That was confirmed tonight when Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters at the Winter Meetings in San Diego and said the Mets were never in play for Gregorius.

“There’s some young pitching we weren’t prepared to trade,” said Alderson who added that the two clubs “never had extensive conversations.”

The Mets were wise saying no to these demands, causing Arizona to look elsewhere and eventually secure prospects Robbie Ray and Domingo Leyba from the Tigers’ system.For the Diamondbacks, Ray and Leyba were greater than or equal to Noah Syndergaard.

The Yankees, in turn, gave up 26 year-old Shane Greene, who surprised many with his solid performance in 2014 (3.78 ERA / 3.73 FIP).

So what gives?

First, Shane Greene. The Tigers were looking for an inexpensive back-end starter to fill out their rotation in 2015 and beyond. Greene fits that mold. But by no means is he the type of young pitcher you would usually acquire for a combination of top prospects. Coming into the 2014 season, Greene ranked 27th on a composite list of Yankee prospects. At 25, he is a late bloomer, and despite his solid pitching last season, looking at his history throughout the minors, it is hard to believe that he will turn into anything above a fourth or fifth starter.

I don’t think the Tigers are expecting much more from Greene, which is why it is quite clear that they don’t place very high value on either Ray or Leyba.

Which brings us back to the original question. Why would Arizona refuse to engage with the Mets on any prospect below Syndergaard, who is one of the top prospects in all of baseball, when they were willing to take less of a package from Detroit?

For the Mets, it means that Sandy Alderson was wise not to overpay for Gregorius, who is a solid defensive shortstop, but at a projected 1.2 fWAR next season per Steamer, not necessarily a huge upgrade in comparison to the offensive value of in-house talent such as Wilmer Flores.

(Updated 12/7)

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Citi Field is Not for Craig Breslow http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/citi-field-is-not-for-craig-breslow.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/12/citi-field-is-not-for-craig-breslow.html/#comments Sun, 07 Dec 2014 13:00:53 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=171219 craig breslow

As the Winter Meetings approach, we know that the Mets are interested in left-handed smart guy, Craig Breslow. The Yale alum pitched to a staggering 5.96 ERA in Boston last season over 54.1 innings of relief work. Of course, this followed a much more impressive campaign in 2013 when his ERA was a microscopic 1.81 on the season.

The difference between his successful 2013 season, in terms of ERA, and his much more disappointing 2014 performance can be found in the long ball. Using xFIP, which adjusts for a league-average home run rate, we can see that Breslow was pretty much the same pitcher in each of the past two seasons.

stat 2

Having pitched most of his career in Oakland and Boston, as a southpaw, Breslow has found the majority of his games in homer-friendly ballparks, particularly against left-handed sluggers, which helps explain his career 6.9% HR/FB rate.

We can look at park factors to see how his home ballparks have helped him. Between 2010-2011, while in Oakland, his xFIP was 4.16 and 4.38, respectively, with his unadjusted ERA (3.01 / 3.29 in 2010 / 2011) improved favorably by those low Oakland HR factors. In 2014, we can see what we already know by picturing Fenway Park with the triangle in center field and the deeper gap in right-center versus the short wall in left.

stat 1

It is harder for a lefty to hit a home run than a righty in Fenway. And in 2014, Breslow surrendered only two of his eight home runs allowed to lefties at home. He served up no such homers in 2013. This from a pitcher who faces lefty and righty hitters, equally. Thus, it’s not hard to imagine that he would have allowed more home runs over the past few seasons had he not pitched half of his games in Fenway.

If Breslow were to sign with the Mets, his protection of a deeper right field would be gone thanks to the new Citi Field dimensions.

New Citi DimensionsWe can imagine that Citi Field’s park factor for HR as L will increase in 2015.

What this means is that while the Mets are looking for a lefty reliever who can pitch to hitters who stand on both sides of the plate, which Breslow does, they would be putting their faith in the assumption that Breslow’s 2013 performance is more realistic than his 2014 disaster based on an “inflated” HR/FB rate.

This is a difficult assumption to make given that Breslow’s HR/FB rate ballooned in a ballpark where left-handed hitters have difficulty finding power. Put Breslow in Citi Field next season, and the likelihood of him falling victim to the long ball only increases given the new dimensions.

Craig Breslow is essentially a replacement-level reliever (-0.6 fWAR in 2014). His ERA was impressive in 2013, and one could look at his increased HR/FB rate in 2014 to decide that it was an anomaly given his career totals. But we know better than that. We know that he pitched for much of his career in Oakland where home runs go to die, and then Fenway, where match-ups against lefties gained advantage due to the deeper parts of right field.

Again, Breslow was essentially the same mediocre pitcher in 2013 as he was in 2014, if we look at his numbers using a league-average home run rate.

If Breslow’s peripherals maintain in 2015 (career 7.22 K/9, 3.65 BB/9) and his HR/FB rate remains high, he is surely a pitcher the Mets can live without.

*Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.

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Who would you protect if there was another expansion draft? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/who-would-you-protect-if-there-was-another-expansion-draft.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/who-would-you-protect-if-there-was-another-expansion-draft.html/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 18:30:44 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161674 noah Syndergaard

Thanks to this post on reddit, the writers over at Beyond the Box Score came up with the idea of conducting a mock expansion draft. That means, as a first step, for all 30 teams, each writer needs to select the list of 15 players they would protect as acting general manager. Any player left off the protected list of 15 is available to be drafted by the expansion teams (as the draft progresses, more players can be protected).

Of course, I took the Mets. And I thought it would be fun to get your feedback.

Before I reveal my list, skim over the guidelines.

  • You can protect 15 players in your organization — including minor leaguers and guys on the 60-day DL.
  • Guys drafted in the last two years (2013 and 2014) are automatically protected, as are any players signed in 2012 who were 18 and under. To make this easy and to account for non-US players, we assumed any amateur player drafted/signed/whatever since 2012 is automatically protected, regardless of age.

Without further ado, here is the list of 15 Mets that I would protect if an expansion draft was held at the conclusion of this season.

Mets protected

There are several obvious picks, like David Wright and Matt Harvey. But then there are some tricky ones.

I decided to leave off Lucas Duda. Although he is proving to be an effective power hitter and has several years of arbitration-eligible seasons remaining, he is already 28, and for me, holding onto the top young prospects (in their lower-20s), as well as a current piece like Murphy is more important. Murphy is due to be a free agent in 2016, so the Mets can decide if he is part of a competitive team by then, or a valuable trade piece.

Another tricky one is Juan Lagares. I really wanted to include him, but ran out of room. Curtis Granderson is 33 and on the way down, but it’s hard to pick Lagares over one of the few veteran bats the Mets have in their lineup. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a decision of Lagares versus Granderson. How about Dillon Gee? There are a few other places you can argue Lagares to take a spot.

I also decided against Bobby Parnell. Coming off a major injury, he turns 30 this year, and there are plenty of young arms, like Mejia’s, ready to take the closing role for the long-term.

Now the fun begins. Let’s hear from you! Which players do you agree or disagree with from my list?

Keep in mind that some potential choices from the 2012-2014 draft/signing years like Dominic Smith, Kevin Plawecki, Gavin Cecchini, Amed Rosario, Marcos Molina, Michael Conforto, Milton Ramos, and Andrew Church are all automatically protected.

 

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Are Gee’s Struggles Because of Mechanics? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/are-gees-struggles-because-of-mechanics.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/are-gees-struggles-because-of-mechanics.html/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:30:04 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161653 dillon gee

Dillon Gee has made three starts since returning from the disabled list, and after last night’s beating at the hands of the Brewers, two of them have been bad. In his past two starts, Gee has allowed ten earned runs over ten innings, struggling to keep the ball in the ballpark, having allowed three home runs.

“There’s no excuses,” Gee said. “There’s no excuse for me. It’s not that perplexing either. The ball’s just not coming out right the last couple of starts. I’ve been in this situation before. I’ve had bad starts before. I’m probably going to have some more sometime else in my career. The key is just try to bounce back as fast as you can.”

- Courtesy of ESPN New York

What caught my eye reading Gee’s comments after last night’s game was the thought that the “ball’s just not coming out right the last couple of starts.”

Gee missed nearly two months of baseball due to a strained right lat muscle. For those unfamiliar, the lat muscle is found in your back, and it extends up towards your arm. A strained lat on your pitching side, therefore, can affect your mechanics and throwing motion. Studies have shown that the lat muscle is most used just prior to the release of the baseball.

LD muscle stores energy during cocking phase to prepare for the large acceleration required before ball release.

- Hwai-Ting Lin (1,2), Fong-Chin Su (2), Terry K.K. Koo (1), Atsushi Yokota (1), Jun Hashimoto (3), Nozomu Inoue (1), Mari Nakamura (3), Katsuya Nobuhara (3), Edmund Y.S. Chao (1)

While Gee checked out healthy upon his return, it seems that he may be overcompensating for his injury. As he suggested, the ball is definitely coming out different on release. We can see below Gee’s vertical release point before and after the injury.

Gee Vertical Release Point
Before his injury, Gee was releasing most of his pitches much lower than he has since returning. As a consequence, his four-seam fastball, the pitch he uses most often, has lost some movement. Typically, his four-seam moves towards right-handed hitters with a horizontal movement of about 4.5 inches. In July, it is only moving 2.9 inches, which is the lowest monthly total of his career. His vertical movement has also been affected by the higher release point. He seems to be aiming the pitch lower in the zone to compensate for less movement.

And as a result of his four-seam falling flat, opposing hitters are teeing off against it.

SLG vs Gee Fourseam
The good news is that Gee recognizes the problem in his release point, which, hopefully, means he can remedy it soon. What the Mets need to be cautious of, is that he isn’t still feeling sore in his right lat, which is suggestive in Gee’s higher release point since returning to the rotation.

Statistics courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

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The Mets Against Grooved Pitches http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/the-mets-against-grooved-pitches.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/the-mets-against-grooved-pitches.html/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 01:15:24 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=161073 eric young

When there is no real baseball for four days, stories like Adam Wainwright grooving a pitch to Derek Jeter in the All-Star game has legs. The game is an exhibition, except it is not, since now home field advantage in the World Series is decided by the winner. Really, it’s just silly, and baseball’s attempt to market the game has overtaken what makes sense.

All of this grooved baseball talk got me thinking about grooved pitches in actual games. No, pitchers don’t intentionally groove a pitch when the games count in the standings, but there are plenty of pitches that end up right over the plate, as meatballs. Luckily, thanks to Baseball Savant, we can look up how the Mets performed against meatball pitches this year. We will define a meatball as not only a pitch right over the middle of the plate, but also a fastball. Essentially, we are looking for “grooved” pitches in the form of fastballs in the middle of the strike zone.

Mets Grooved Pitches

Of Mets’ hitters with at least ten at-bats ending on a meatball pitch, Eric Young is the best slugger. Surprisingly, none of the four qualified Mets hit with a slugging percentage above .500. However, of the 75 players in all of baseball with at least ten at-bats decided by a grooved fastball, close to half slugged below .500. Andrew McCutchen was the best hitter, slugging 1.750, and, wait for it, Ruben Tejada, was the worst hitter in all of baseball against fastballs down the middle of the plate with a measly .083 slugging percentage.

Does any of this mean anything? Not really. But if we are going to talk “grooved” pitches, we might as well in the context of the Mets.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Savant.

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At 45-50, Do The Mets Have Hope? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/at-45-50-do-the-mets-have-hope.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/07/at-45-50-do-the-mets-have-hope.html/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 01:00:34 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=160928 sign man miracles

It’s the Wednesday after the All-Star game, and there’s no baseball, only dreaming. For the majority of teams, the ones not condemned to last place, or somewhere close to it, there is renewed hope coming out of the break, sort of a second Opening Day. The Mets created this hope for themselves with an impressive 8-2 homestand. They sit five games under .500, seven back of Atlanta and Washington, and have a beatable opponent in San Diego waiting for them to start the second half (or game 96 by the way the schedule wraps around the All-Star break).

The question for a hopeful Mets fan is how hopeful can they be? At 45-50, how have Mets teams of the past finished the season? Has a Mets team ever turned it around to win the pennant (I bet many of you already know this answer)?

Mets 95 Games

Through 95 games, the Mets have had several seasons when their record was around their current mark of 45-50. Unfortunately, not many of those seasons turned into winning ones except the famous 1973 pennant winning season. A season, mind you, when they still only won 82 games.

In fact, over the Mets 53-year history, they have been under .500 twenty-nine times at the 95-game mark, and only TWICE (1973 and 2001) have they finished the season above .500.

Of course, every season is new, and this doesn’t mean hope is lost for the 2014 Mets. It just means they have history working against them, something that is not new to the franchise nicknamed the Amazin’ Mets.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.

Presented By Diehards

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Why isn’t Rafael Montero doing what he does best? http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/why-isnt-rafael-montero-doing-what-he-does-best.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/why-isnt-rafael-montero-doing-what-he-does-best.html/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 19:00:20 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156442 rafael montero

Depending on the degree to which you may follow the progress of Mets prospects in the minor leagues, from a little to intently, most people know Rafael Montero as a pitcher who throws strikes. In 2012, upon being promoted to the Mets High-A affiliate, his K% was 23.3 points higher than his BB% (K-BB% = 23.3%). The following season, his K-BB rate jumped to 23.8% in AA ball. He was striking out north of nine batters per nine innings, while walking less than two per nine. This was a guy who threw strikes.

Montero was called up to the Mets on May 14 to face the Yankees. He has only made two starts, pitching in only 10.1 innings, but a disturbing trend has developed. He is walking too many hitters.

If Montero throws strikes, why hasn’t he in his first two starts for the Mets?

Rafael Montero has thrown strikes, just not with his secondary pitches.

Montero throws four main pitch types.

  • Four-seam fastball (64%)
  • Two-seam fastball (5%)
  • Slider (14%)
  • Change-up (17%)

His four-seam fastball finds the strike zone 58.1% of the time. For comparison, Bartolo Colon, who has the second highest overall zone % in baseball, throws his fastball in the strike zone 61.6% of the time. In other words, Montero is having no problem getting his fastball over for strikes. Where the problem lies is with his secondary pitches. None of his slider, change-up, or two-seam fastball find the zone more than 27% of the time. He has four pitches. Three of them he throws for strikes less than half as much as his four-seam fastball.

Perhaps his biggest concern is with his change-up. While his slider doesn’t find the strike zone often, he throws it mostly to right-handed hitters, as the pitch darts down and away, and often times, 14.7%, gets them to swing and miss. His change-up is a concern because he is only throwing it in the zone 12% of the time, and not getting hitters to chase it like his slider. It is not a “chase” pitch, so really, he is just missing his targets.

Is his change-up the reason for Montero’s control problems so far?

As I mentioned before, Montero needs to get more than just his four-seam fastball over for strikes. That being said, his change-up has been the most fatal deviator. Montero uses his change-up almost exclusively to left-handed hitters. Like his slider to righties, his change darts down and away, but to lefties. Perhaps darts isn’t the best verb since the movement is less pronounced than his slider, but you get the point.

Montero Change LHH

We can see in the heat map that all of Montero’s change-ups end up in the bottom left area of the chart. Remember, this zone profile is from the catcher’s perspective, so the red areas represent down and away to a left-handed hitter. What we can clearly see is that the majority, in fact, all except two, of Montero’s change-ups have fallen out of the traditional strike zone. He may get some help on a few calls from the umpire, but he is missing the zone far too often.

Again, is his change-up the reason for his control problems so far?

What is interesting about Montero’s first two starts is that he has faced a fairly equal number of lefties (26) as righties (23). That makes comparing his performance against the handedness of batters more meaningful.

Overall, Montero’s BB% is 12.2% in his first two starts. Against righties, it is 8.7%. Against lefties, it nearly doubles to 15.4%. The reason being that against righties, he uses his slider, and while missing the strike zone, gets them to chase. Against lefties, he relies on his change-up, which opposing batters are less likely to chase, and consequently, end up as balls.

What does it all mean?

Rafael Montero has pitched in 10.1 big league innings. It is impossible to draw any real conclusions off such a small sample size. There has to be some concern that a trend has developed along with his climb through the minor leagues. He has seen his overall BB% climb from 3.8% (AA) in 2013, to 6.9% (AAA) in 2013, to 10.6% (AAA) in 2014, before being called up to the majors, where the trend continues. There isn’t data available to see how his change-up performed in the minors, but we know from his first two starts with the Mets, that it is a pitch he is having trouble throwing for strikes. And it is at least something to look out for as we watch him develop.

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

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MMO Game Recap: Dodgers 9, Mets 4 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-dodgers-9-mets-4.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-dodgers-9-mets-4.html/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 03:24:40 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156403 rafael montero debut 2

Starting a nine-game homestand, the Mets got off to a bad start. The Dodgers defeated them 9-4. Josh Beckett collected the win. Rafael Montero, making his second major league start, got the loss, not having his best stuff. He lasted only 4.1 innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits and four walks.

The Dodgers opened the scoring on a pitcher base hit (it seems torturous every time this happens against the Mets) by Josh Beckett in the second inning. Quickly, in the bottom frame, Wilmer Flores singled home Curtis Granderson to tie the game at one.

The game remained knotted at one until the fifth inning when things fell apart for Montero. He walked Puig to open the inning. Two batters later, Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer. Matt Kemp then doubled and Carl Crawford drove him in. Montero was pulled, and Jeurys Familia would allow the inherited runner, Crawford, to score through a stolen base, wild pitch, and base hit by Juan Uribe. It was 5-1 Dodgers at this point.

The Dodgers added a sixth run in the sixth inning off Carlos Torres. It would prove to be a useful tack-on run because the Mets would find some power in the bottom of the sixth. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run and Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run to cut the Dodgers lead to 6-4.

The Mets didn’t lack the chances to score more runs. Four times they came to the plate with the bases loaded, and failed to execute in all four at-bats. In the fifth, they loaded the bases for Daniel Murphy and David Wright. An ideal situation. Murphy struck out swinging. Wright grounded out to second. In the seventh, they loaded the bases once again, this time, for Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores. Duda flied out. Flores grounded out.

By the ninth, the game was starting to feel too long as it approached four hours. In fact, it turned out to be the second longest nine-inning game in Mets history, as the Dodgers added a few more runs for good measure.

The Mets will look to recover tomorrow when Jacob deGrom faces off against Hyun-Jin Ryu.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 5, Nationals 2 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-5-nationals-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-5-nationals-2.html/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 23:26:56 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=156117 juan lagares scores

The Mets scored three runs in the first and never looked back. Behind eight good innings from Bartolo Colon, they beat the Nationals 5-2 to take the second game of a three game series.

The Mets opened the scoring on a base hit by Eric Campbell to score two runs. Then Twitter sensation, #FreeLagares, Juan Lagares, drove in the third run. It was 3-0 against Gio Gonzalez, so it was up to Colon to hold the lead, which thanks to a spectacular defensive play by Lagares, he did.

It really was Juan Lagares day. After his RBI hit in the first, he drove in two more runs on a home run in the third to make it 5-0 Mets. Then in the sixth, he robbed Jayson Werth of a home run.

Lagares Steals HR

Jenrry Mejia, in his new closing role, pitched the ninth, allowing a meaningless hit, but striking out two batters to retire the side.

The win was the Mets first against the Nats in nine tries. They will try to win the series tomorrow when Zack Wheeler faces off against Jordan Zimmermann.

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 12, Yankees 7 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-12-yankees-7.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-mets-12-yankees-7.html/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 03:18:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155639 granderson post  Paul J. Bereswill

The Subway Series used to be a frustrating event for Mets fans. Not anymore. After sweeping all four games last season, the Amazin’s have swept the two Yankee Stadium games of this year’s series.

Behind another offensive explosion, including two three-run home runs, one by Curtis Granderson in the first inning, and another to ice the game by Daniel Murphy in the fifth inning, the Mets beat the Yankees 12-7.

Zack Wheeler was far from effective, but it didn’t matter with the Mets offense. After the Mets put up four runs in the first inning, Wheeler tried to give the lead right back, allowing three runs in the bottom of the inning. Brian McCann hit a two-run home run to cut the lead to 4-3.

The Mets would continue to tack on runs. Juan Lagares plated the fifth run on a sacrifice fly. Then Daniel Murphy added another run on a sac fly as well, before David Wright, who was 3-5 on the night, made it 7-3 on a liner to left field.

In the fifth inning, facing Alfredo Aceves, Juan Lagares started the inning on a hustle double on a bloop hit, and was drove home by Ruben Tejada. A Eric Young walk later, Daniel Murphy came to the plate, and drilled a three-run home run to put the Mets ahead 11-5.

In a game a lot of runs were scored, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched 3.2 innings of one-hit relief to hold the Mets large lead. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth.

The Mets will look to extend their six game winning streak against the Yankees tomorrow night by trying to give Masahiro Tanaka his first loss in over two years. After a dreadful week last week, amazingly, the Mets are back to .500 at 19-19.

Mets Yanks WE 5.13

Key Play

Curtis Granderson’s three-run home run in the first inning set the tone that it was going to be another Mets night.

Granderson 3-run HR

Mets Starter Focus

Zack Wheeler

It was clear from the start that Wheeler didn’t have it tonight. Terry Collins inexcusably left him in for 117 pitches chasing the win, but Wheeler would only last 4.1 innings. He allowed seven hits, five earned runs, walked six, and only struck out two batters.

Wheeler 5.13

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

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Being Too Patient at the Plate http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/being-too-patient-at-the-plate.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/being-too-patient-at-the-plate.html/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 13:47:59 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155502 david wright curtis granderson

A point of frustration for many Mets fans, watching an anemic lineup night after night, is their indiscriminate approach to taking pitches at the plate. No, I don’t mean indiscriminate as in they can’t recognize a ball from a strike, although that has been an issue, too. I am talking about their inability to separate being “patient” from being appropriately aggressive. There are times to take pitches. There are times to work the count. And then there are times when it makes sense to swing at a pitch.

Mets Pitches/PA

Mets hitters have seen the fifth most pitches per plate appearance in the National League this season. They have done so while looking at the third most strikes, or better phrased, they have swung at a strike the third least amount in the NL. Overall, the Mets have swung at a pitch, ball or strike, less than any other National League team, offering at only 44.2% of pitches (league average 46.8%). The Amazin’s are not hitting and they are striking out a lot, all while watching good pitch after good pitch go right by them.

Success by teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees have proven that a patient approach at the plate can be beneficial. Where the Mets seem to be missing the point is that there is a difference from being what I will call selective at the plate versus just taking pitches, good pitches, for the sake of taking them.

A good example of this came on Sunday when Travis d’Arnaud took a called third strike late in the game on a pitch right down the middle of the plate. After throwing my arms up in disgust, it made me wonder. How many pitches have the Mets taken for a called third strike that were right down the middle of the plate? Howie Rose brought up the same question on the radio.

To answer that question, first, think of the strike zone as a dart board. If we think about pitches right down the middle of the plate as the bullseye, any pitch right around the middle of the plate would be that next circle on the dart board. We can draw a picture of how many pitches the Mets have inexplicably taken for a called third strike by focusing on the area in the strike zone right around the middle of the plate.

Strike 3 Down Middle

We see in the chart above that our frustrations have merit. More than any team in baseball, the Mets have taken called third strikes on pitches around the middle of the plate.

The worst offenders?

Mets Called Strike 3

The Mets desperately need to start hitting before the 2014 season is lost. Maybe they can start by doing the simple thing, and take their bats off their shoulders when the pitch is coming down the middle of the plate, especially with two strikes.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Savant and Baseball Reference.

Presented By Diehards

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The Mets’ Mistake with Josh Satin http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/the-mets-mistake-with-josh-satin.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/the-mets-mistake-with-josh-satin.html/#comments Sat, 10 May 2014 14:15:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155280 josh satin

Ike Davis or Lucas Duda.

Lucas Duda or Ike Davis.

It took until mid-April for Sandy Alderson to finally make a decision that he was going with Lucas Duda at first base, and therefore, trading away Ike Davis. Since then, a day on Twitter can’t pass without some Mets fan tweeting the comparison numbers between Ike and Duda. It never stops.

But what has been lost in the ongoing debate about who the future first baseman of the Mets should be is the handling of Josh Satin.

The Mets have a player in Satin who presents a perfect platoon opportunity. He hits lefties and hits them well. His career OPS numbers vs. LHP relative to the league’s split of right-handed hitters against lefties is 33% above average. The only thing preventing him from hitting lefties is playing time.

If we leave Ike Davis out of the conversation, since he only had a few at bats vs. southpaws while he was still on the Mets this season, and compare Lucas Duda to Josh Satin, we notice a disturbing pattern.

Satin vs Duda LHP

Satin has more plate appearances vs. LHP than Duda this season, but not by a wide margin. This is because the Mets see Duda as an everyday first baseman now that they have traded Davis. It doesn’t seem to matter that Satin is clearly the better option against southpaws considering his career statistics. And this is where the Mets are missing the point.

The debate to start the season, when the Mets inexplicably came up with the idea of playing three different first baseman in three straight games, should have been a simple one. The Mets had two left-handed hitters who can’t hit lefties, and one right-handed batter who can. They should have made an early decision on trading Ike, thus keeping Duda, but from the start, playing him in a pure platoon role with Josh Satin.

Instead, there was mass confusion surrounding the first base position, it took too long to make a decision on Ike, and Satin is 3-28 so far this season. He is not receiving enough regular at-bats, both because it isn’t often the Mets face a lefty to begin with and, for some reason, he is not guaranteed a start when they do. It makes it hard for a player like Satin to get into a groove.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Marlins 3, Mets 0 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-marlins-3-mets-0.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-marlins-3-mets-0.html/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 01:46:50 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=155052 giancarlo stanton

The problem with throwing away two games in three days, first a 6-0 lead on Saturday, and then a 3-0 lead last night, is that a night like tonight comes, when the opposing pitcher is good enough to pitch a shutout. Bartolo Colon started out shaky, but found his way through seven innings, but three runs were all the Marlins would need to beat the Mets 3-0 and take the second straight game of a three-game series. The Mets have not scored a run in 14 consecutive innings.

The Marlins jumped on Colon in the first inning. After Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch, Giancarlo Stanton doubled him home, then Casey McGehee would drive in Stanton, and before you could adjust your radio dial or settle into your couch, it was 2-0 Marlins.

Neither team would pose much of a threat through the next several innings until the Marlins added a run in the fifth on a string of two-out hits, McGehee, once again, getting the run-producing hit to drive in Dietrich.

Daniel Murphy was the Mets lone offensive bright spot. He had two hits, continuing what has been an impressive road trip for him at the plate.

The star of the game was without a doubt the Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez. He pitched a complete game shutout, striking out seven Mets along the way, allowing only six hits, and walking none.

The Mets will look to avoid the sweep tomorrow with Zack Wheeler facing Tom Koehler.

Mets Marlins WE 5.6

Key Play

It only took one long hit by Giancarlo Stanton to give the Marlins enough runs to win this one.

Stanton Double

Mets Starter Focus

Bartolo Colon

Outside of the first inning, Colon pitched well. As the graphic below shows, he traded line drives for fly balls, but avoided giving up the long ball, which has plagued him early this season. He threw strikes consistently, particularly with his secondary pitches. He relied more on his slider than his two-seam sinker. Overall, Alvarez was just better than him tonight, which is why he lost.

Colon 5.6

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Rockies 11, Mets 10 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-rockies-11-mets-10.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/05/mmo-game-recap-rockies-11-mets-10.html/#comments Sun, 04 May 2014 04:35:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154849 jenrry mejia

When the Mets play the Rockies, fans might as well expect torture. As if you can prepare for such a thing. The Mets blew a 6-0 lead, then came from behind to take a 10-9 lead in the 9th, before losing on a pinch hit walk-off home run. A gut wrenching loss for the Mets who have now lost three straight in the mile high city, dropping their impressive early season record to 15-14.

It looked like it was going to be an easy night.The Mets bats finally were alive. Facing Franklin Morales, the Amazins put up three runs in the top of the first inning. Daniel Murphy and David Wright sparking the early rally with back-to-back extra base hits, followed by RBI singles by Anthony Recker and Lucas Duda. In the third, the lead ballooned to six runs. Curtis Granderson joining the hit party with a RBI single. Recker collected another big hit with a double, and the sixth run scoring on an error by Nolan Arenado.

Jenrry Mejia looked a lot like he did in his last Saturday night start. He was retiring the Rockies in order, or close to it, before completely losing it in the fifth inning. Terry Collins made the fatal mistake of either warming up Dice-K too late or plain leaving in Mejia too long. Nolan Arenado hitting a grand slam home run to put an exclamation point on an eight-run inning.

Since it is Coors Field, no lead is safe, even for the home team. The Mets would fight back with two runs to tie the game in the sixth inning. Chris Young and Curtis Granderson providing the big hits.

The Rockies would take back the lead in the 7th on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Pacheco with the bases loaded. Chris Young wouldn’t let that lead stand for long, as he drove in the ninth and tying run in the top of the next inning. It was 9-9 heading into the 9th in a wild but typical Coors Field game.

Juan Lagares was having a tough night. He was 0-5 with three strikeouts when he came to bat with two outs and a runner at third in the 9th. He didn’t let his poor start to the night deter him, driving in Eric Young to give the Mets a 10-9 lead.

On a night like this, it was almost expected. The Mets gave Kyle Farnsworth a 10-9 lead to hold in the 9th, and the red hot Rockies stole the game back. Charlie Culberson the hero with a pinch hit walk-off home run.

The Rockies won the game 11-10.

Mets Rockies 5.3 WEKey Play

It has to be the walk-off…

Culberson Walk Off

Mets Starter Focus

Jenrry Mejia

In order to provide a better breakdown of the starter’s performance, the graphic below shows Mejia’s outing tonight in context of his season and overall league averages.

Mejia 5.3

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 6, Phillies 1 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-6-phillies-1.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-6-phillies-1.html/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 03:52:03 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154554 cole hamels

Cole Hamels can’t beat the Mets. The left-hander, who liked to call the Mets chokers, fell to 7-14 against the Amazins, with another loss on Tuesday. On a rainy night, that suffered through an hour-and-a-half rain delay, the Mets added six more earned runs to Hamels’ ballooning 4.65 ERA against them. Meanwhile, Jon Niese was fantastic. He pitched through periods of heavy rain, always in control, spreading out four hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking only one.

It was a big night for Daniel Murphy who collected three hits in his first three at-bats. His two-out hit in the third inning opened the scoring to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. In the fourth inning, Hamels lost sight of the strike zone. He walked four batters, including the pitcher, resulting in two more runs. After a Marlon Byrd home run cut the lead to 3-1, the Mets put the game away in the fifth inning. Ruben Tejada with the big blow: A bases loaded hit with two outs to give the Mets a commanding 6-1 lead.

With the win, the Mets improved their record to 15-11, good for third best in the National League (pending the end of the Giants game). The point is that the Mets find themselves at the end of April and playing competitive baseball. A small accomplishment on the long path back to relevance. Mets Phillies 4.29 WE

Key Play

Ruben Tejada’s two-out hit with the bases loaded broke the game open.

Tejada 6-1 hit

Starter Focus

Jon Niese

The Mets continue to get stellar starting pitching. Niese didn’t let the rain affect him at all, as he pounded the strike zone with his fastball, getting the two-seam over 61% of the time and the four-seam 70% for strikes. He allowed only four hits, striking out five and walking only one.

Niese 4.29

Cole Hamels

Hamels got kicked around by the Mets yet again. He had trouble finding the strike zone, walking five. He allowed eight hits and six earned runs.

Hamels 4.29

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Marlins 7, Mets 6 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-marlins-7-mets-6.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-marlins-7-mets-6.html/#comments Sun, 27 Apr 2014 03:07:27 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154288 bobby abreu

For a moment, after a two-out, two-run single by Lucas Duda, the Mets had a 5-1 lead, Jenrry Mejia was pitching lights out, and it felt like this 13-10 start in the standings was gaining more momentum each night. If you are a Mets fan, like me, you were probably texting or phoning anyone who would listen about the ground ball machine that is Mejia and about these Mets who somehow keep winning despite a lineup that includes the ageing (or ageless) Bobby Abreu. There was some giddiness among Mets fans early in the game tonight. Deservingly so, with a 5-1 lead and a win probability based on similar score and inning context at 94%.

Then, we all remembered that we are Mets fans. Nothing could come easy. The Marlins got a home run by Giancarlo Stanton to shorten the lead to 5-3. That started the sixth inning that Mejia would never escape. He faced seven Marlins, recorded two outs, and ended up surrendering six runs. The 5-1 lead completely vanished.

The Mets showed some fight in the bottom of the sixth inning. An Omar Quintanilla single tied the game at six. The score would remain that way through solid bullpen pitching by both clubs, including another stellar performance by Dice-K, who got the final batter of the 8th, and worked in and out of trouble in the 9th.

In the first frame of extra innings, it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia who broke the tie, hitting a home run off Kyle Farnsworth to give the Marlin the 7-6 lead.

Despite a first inning home run by Bobby Abreu, a 3-0 lead, and then a 5-1 lead, the Mets lost.

Mets Marlins 4.25 WE

Key Play

I suppose it has to be the game-winning home run…

Saltalamacchia GW HR

Starter Focus

Jenrry Mejia

It looked good early. Mejia got his first three outs via ground balls. He then struck out four of his next five batters. Then everything fell apart in the sixth inning. Two extra base hits and a walk leading to six earned runs.

Mejia 4.25

Kevin Slowey

Slowey got off to a rough start, surrendering three first inning runs, including a home run to Bobby Abreu. He struck out four and walked two, surviving only four innings, before Mike Dunn took over in relief.

Slowey 4.25

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Mets 3, Cardinals 2 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-3-cardinals-2.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-mets-3-cardinals-2.html/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 03:00:55 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=154054 jon niese

Fighting against a brutally windy night, Michael Wacha‘s fastball, and a frantic comeback in the 9th, the Mets found a way to scratch out three runs to beat the Cardinals 3-2. With the win, they improve their record to a respectable 11-10, and go for a series win tomorrow afternoon.

Michael Wacha pitched one of the strangest games you will ever see, and not just because the wind caught his cap and blew it off during the game. He recorded his first nine outs via the strikeout. It looked like the Mets boxscore would be as empty as the Citi Field seats tonight. Then, in the fourth inning, Wacha completely lost the strike zone. He walked three batters, two of which with the bases loaded, resulting in two runs. He would leave the game before the end of the fourth inning due to an inflated pitch count. Only the third pitcher in baseball history to pitch four or less innings with at least ten strikeouts.

For the Mets, once again, their starting pitching kept their meager offense in the game. Jon Niese pitched 6.2 innings, allowing only one run. It was then the bullpen’s turn to hold the lead and work out of some key jams. First, Carlos Torres allowed a double to Yadier Molina in the 8th to put the tying runs in scoring position with one out. He got Jhonny Peralta to pop out, before handing the ball to Scott Rice, who got Matt Adams to fly out, preserving the lead. Then in the 9th, things got scary. Facing Kyle Farnsworth in the closing role, the Cardinals put two batters on base with one out. Daniel Descalso promptly doubled in what looked like a game-tying hit, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis relayed the ball to Ruben Tejada, who threw a perfect strike to Travis d’Arnaud, who made a replay-confirming tag to get the tying run. Curtis Granderson would have to fight the wind to make the final out on a fly ball. And the Mets hung on to win.

Key Play

Since MLB wants to take forever to release the video of the game-saving play at the plate, we will use Lucas Duda‘s eventual game-winning home run as the key gif tonight.

Duda 4.23 HR

Starter Focus

Jon Niese

Niese threw a variety of pitches tonight for strikes. He struck out three and walked only two. A lot of balls went in play, which could have been unfavorable with the wind, but only six fell for hits.

Niese 4.23

Michael Wacha

As noted earlier, Wacha had a strange night, pushing up his pitch count to get pulled before the end of the fourth inning. In 3.2 innings, he struck out ten Mets, but walked five. He only allowed three hits.

Wacha 4.23

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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MMO Game Recap: Cardinals 3, Mets 0 http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-cardinals-3-mets-0.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/mmo-game-recap-cardinals-3-mets-0.html/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 02:43:37 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153974 dillon gee

Once again, the Mets got stellar starting pitching, and once again, the bullpen was solid with the exception of Jose Valverde, but unfortunately, as has happened far too often this early season, once again, the Mets bats fell silent. The Cardinals got a brilliant pitching performance by Adam Wainwright, who was forced to leave the game after seven innings due to an apparent knee injury, and beat the Mets 3-0.

With the loss, the Mets fall back to .500 at 10-10. They wasted a strong outing by Dillon Gee who pitched six innings of two run baseball. Curtis Granderson seems incapable of breaking out of his current slump, going 0-3, and extending his hitless streak to 22 straight at-bats. David Wright had a rare 0-4 night, breaking his 12-game hitting streak. The Mets and Cards will go back at it tomorrow night with Jon Niese facing Michael Wacha.

Mets Cards 4.22 WE

Key Play

It was a little too reminiscent of 2006. In a strange coincidence of characters and theatrics, Adam Wainwright had a curveball hit for what looked like a game-tying home run untll Matt Holiday stole it from the top of the wall. Of course, it was nowhere close to as spectacular as Endy Chavez play.

Holliday Robs HR

Starter Focus

Dillon Gee

It took 95 pitches for Gee to reach six innings of work. He allowed only two runs on six hits, struck out four, and walked two. He got lots of swings on his breaking pitches, but only one swing-and-miss on the curveball. The key was 17 of 25 batters he threw first pitch strikes.

Gee 4.22

Adam Wainwright

Wainwright was sharp through seven innings before landing awkwardly while running towards first base, forcing him out of the game. He only needed 79 pitches to retire the Mets with ease, allowing only four baserunners.

Wainwright 4.22

Win Probability Chart courtesy of FanGraphs. Detailed pitching data courtesy of Brooks Baseball.

Presented By Diehards

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Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/series-preview-st-louis-cardinals.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/series-preview-st-louis-cardinals.html/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:00:31 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153789 MLB: Spring Training-Minnesota Twins at St. Louis Cardinals

It looked for a while like it would be a devastating start to a long homestand. The Mets had lost two of their first three against Atlanta, with all of the positive momentum built up on the road being washed away with each Curtis Granderson out, but then, in the series’ final game, in the bottom of the 14th, the man they call Grandy came through. A walk-off sacrifice fly to give the Mets a much needed victory at Citi. It improved their record to 9-9 on the early season. Surely, a respectable start for a ballclub that many expect 90 losses rather than 90 wins. The Mets will look to build off their Easter Sunday win with a four-game tilt against the Red Birds.

The Cardinals

Like the Mets, the Cardinals Easter Sunday ended in dramatic fashion via the sacrifice fly, except for them, in a loss. The Nationals beating them 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th to complete a four game series in which each team took two games. The defending National League champion Cardinals come to Citi with an 11-8 record, playing mostly hot and cold through the start of the season and you can go to Sportbet.com to see the latest MLB lines for the series. They have struggled to find much power, like the Mets, and haven’t done much better drawing walks, like the Mets. But they strikeout less and have hit a little bit more, with Yadier Molina leading the way with an impressive .344/.373/.547 slash line.

The St. Louis Cardinals strength has been their starting staff – second only to Atlanta in the National League in team ERA. Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha becoming one of the deadliest 1-2 punches in baseball. Of course, that leaves out Lance Lynn who is off to a 4-0 start. Their bullpen has not been quite as strong with closer Trevor Rosenthal off to a shaky start. Overall, the Cardinals are still a tough team to beat, and will only be tougher once they get clicking on all cylinders.

2014 Lineup

  1. Matt Carpenter 3B
  2. Kolten Wong 2B
  3. Matt Holliday LF
  4. Matt Adams 1B
  5. Yadier Molina C
  6. Allen Craig RF
  7. Jhonny Peralta SS
  8. Peter Bourjos CF

Key Injuries

Interesting Notes

  • Jhonny Peralta was a potential shortstop target for the Mets. He is off to a dreadful start in St. Louis, batting .183/.258/.433. The one bright spot is that he has 4 home runs.
  • With Joe Kelly batting back from injury, Tyler Lyons will take his spot in the rotation. He will start against the Mets on Monday.
  • The Mets have made a habit of scoring first, which will be helpful against St. Louis who is 7-2 when securing the first run.

Pitching Probables

Monday (7:10): RHP Jenrry Mejia (2-0, 2.81) vs. LHP Tyler Lyons (0-0, —)
Tuesday (7:10): RHP Dillon Gee (1-0, 3.71) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (3-1, 1.80)
Wednesday (7:10): LHP Jon Niese (0-2, 2.84) vs. RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 1.73)
Thursday (1:10): RHP Bartolo Colon (1-3, 5.40) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (4-0, 3.42)

mmo

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Series Preview: Atlanta Braves http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/153632.html/ http://metsmerizedonline.com/2014/04/153632.html/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 20:30:32 +0000 http://metsmerizedonline.com/?p=153632 freddie freeman

Well, the Mets find themselves in a familiar position. Coming home from a nine-game road trip in which they went 6-3, they open a ten-game homestand against Atlanta with hopes of maintaining their success. Their record at Citi Field has been a problem since the new park opened. If this season is going to be any different, if the Mets dream of meeting Sandy Alderson’s lofty 90 win goal, it has to start with playing well at home. The Amazins will play Atlanta for three, St. Louis for four, and and close the homestand with Miami for three.

The Braves – Since We Last Saw Them

It was just a week ago when the Mets went to Atlanta and won two out of three. Since then, the Braves have been taking advantage of their dominance against Washington, winning three straight, before taking two out of three from the Phillies. Atlanta leads the division with a 10-5 record. They have done so hitting home runs, playing exceptional defense, and getting excellent starting pitching despite a rash of injuries. Aaron Harang and Ervin Santana proving to be fantastic late acquisitions. Having lost Brian McCann to the Yankees, Evan Gattis has taken the catching reigns, batting .378 with 4 home runs in ten games played. Gattis joins Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton as the power group, all with four home runs on the young season.

2014 Lineup

  1. Jason Heyward RF
  2. B.J. Upton CF
  3. Freddie Freeman 1B
  4. Justin Upton LF
  5. Evan Gattis C
  6. Dan Uggla 2B
  7. Chris Johnson 3B
  8. Andrelton Simmons SS

Key Injuries

  • It is almost unfathomable to comprehend the amount of pitching the Braves lost to Tommy John surgery. Free agent SP Gavin Floyd is recovering from Tommy John, RP Jonny Venters is also recovering, but may not pitch until June. And both SP Kris Medlan and SP Brandon Beachy will miss the season due to Tommy John, as well as RP Cory Gearrin.

Interesting Notes

  • Chris Young is expected to be activated tonight. He hit .667 (8-12) with 2 home runs in his rehab play.
  • The Mets have scored first 10 times this season, yet they have had a better record when the opposing team strikes first. They are 4-6 when scoring first, and 4-1 when being scored upon.
  • Over the last 11 games, the Mets bullpen is 3-1 with 2 saves and a 3.00 ERA.

Pitching Probables

Friday (7:10): LHP Jon Niese (0-1, 3.46) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (2-0, 0.96)
Saturday (7:10): RHP Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64)
Sunday (1:10): RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.76) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 2.89)

mmo

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