Finally! After weeks of unconfirmed reports of being offered a contract, not being offered a contract, the truth has finally emerged: Chris Young will be pitching for the Mets in 2011.
Tag Archives: Johan Santana
Big couple of days for big Mike Pelfrey. After posting 15 victories in 2010, the Mets rewarded Pelfrey with a hefty raise. Pelfrey, who earned $500,000 last season, will earn $3.9 million in 2011.
But wait, it gets better. Not only will Big Mike be cashing bigger checks, manager Terry Collins has already announced Pelfrey as the opening day Continue reading
July, let’s be real, was miserable. The Mets went 9 and 17 with a -11 run differential. They only allowed 99 runs but could only muster 88 runs themselves. The hitting disappeared. The Mets hit .227/.293/.353 good for a whopping .646 OPS. Their OPS and a 284 wOBA both ranked last in the league. Angel Pagan continued his stud play hitting .337/.402/.594 with a .257 ISO and 7.7 SPD score. They got little production out of second base as the trifecta of talent that is Luis Castillo, Alex Cora, and Ruben Tejada all struggled getting on base. Luis Castillo’s .282 OBP was about 40 points higher than Tejada’s and 80 points higher than Cora’s. There’s no excuse to be starting Cora, even if Castillo is struggling. There’s barely an excuse to even have him on the team. David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Ike Davis all performed well in July, but the struggles continued for Jason Bay. Carlos Beltran walked 14% of the time in July but struggled early with his triple slash. He’s still struggling at the plate but has walked 17% of the time in his past 14 games. Jeff Francoeur maintained his sneaky persona of generating outs more than practically all of baseball, all while capturing the adoration of anti-sabr Met fans. Haters.
The Mets pitching had it’s bright spots in July, though Mike Pelfrey’s regression seemingly masked the other starters’ strides. The Mets are a hittable staff without strong strike out numbers. They’ve been able to limit home runs all year likely due to ground ball tendencies and Citi’s park factor. Mike Pelfrey had a horrific July. His k/9 continued it’s descent and for the month of July was a measly 4.35, but worse was his 5.66 bb/9. Opposing hitters hit .419 off of him. Jonathon Niese, Johan Santana, and R.A. Dickey turned in spectacular Julys. Fun fact: Jonathon Niese had a 98% strand rate in July. The Mets had the sixth best FIP in all of baseball in July. Imagine what it could have been if Pelfrey didn’t self destruct.
I wrote on Friday that there was no reason the Mets shouldn’t win their weekend series with the Diamondbacks. Well, I forgot about one major reason why they couldn’t (and didn’t): they’re the Mets.
All signs point to this season being over. The Mets are currently tied for third place in the NL East and 6.5 behind Atlanta for first. As tough as that is, they are 7.5 games out of the Wild Card with 5 teams ahead of them and Florida tied. The last time the Mets won two games in a row was June 22-23 vs. Detorit. Now they have to embark on a six game road trip against the Braves and the Phillies in order to save the season, when the last time they won consecutive games on the road was June 11-18 against the Orioles, Indians and Yankees. In fact, that was the only time all season the Mets won two or more games in a row on the road.
A 4-2 roadtrip will do the Mets no good. Even taking two of three from Atlanta still puts them 5.5 games out of first place. Picking up one game in three days when you’re as far out as the Mets are does nothing. They need to go 6-0 or 5-1 at the least, in order to stay in this thing. And that’s a lot to ask considering Atlanta is 34-13 at home, Philly is 34-18 and the Mets are 20-33 on the road.
The good news is the Mets have had success against both teams this season. They’re 5-3 vs. the Braves, outscoring them 20-15, and 4-2 vs. the Phillies while outscoring them 30-22 (everyone remembers the shutout sweep back in May). However, the Phillies did torch the Mets 10-1 and 11-5 back in May. And the last time the Mets played the Braves on July 9-11, Atlanta took two of three in Citi Field.
The Mets also have their work cut out for them with the pitching they will face this week. The series against Atlanta is as follows:
Tonight: Johan Santana vs. Tim Hudson
Tuesday: RA Dickey vs. Derek Lowe
Wednesday: Mike Pelfrey vs. Kris Medlen
When the Mets head to Philadelphia, they will miss Roy Oswalt. They will not miss Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, however.
Friday: Hisanori Takahashi vs. Joe Blanton
Saturday: Jon Niese vs. Hamels
Sunday: Santana vs. Halladay — if the Mets have a miracle run this week, this matchup will be HUGE.
On paper, it doesn’t look too good this week but like the cliche says: that’s why they play the games.
Let’s Go Mets!
While things seem to be falling apart in Metsland, the team rolls into the City of Angels to face a team that might actually be in an even worse predicament. Like the Mets, the Dodgers are only 1-6 since the All-Star Break. They’re ownership is going through a bitter divorce settlement that handcuffs them financially and they now have to deal with suspensions to Clayton Kershaw, Joe Torre, and the oh-so-important bnch coach Bob Schaefer.
Meanwhile, the Mets offense seems to still be on vacation. Since the second half, the Mets have been outscored by their opponents 34-15 in seven games. They were outscored by the putrid Diamondbacks alone 20-7. They sport a Herculean team batting average of .192 and an even more impressive .249 OBP and .318 slugging percentage. I just threw up in my mouth a bit.
Still, starting today the team is only 3.5 games out of the Wild Card lead and only 1 game behind the Dodgers.
The pitching matchups for the four-game series are as follows:
Hisanori Takahshi vs. Hiroki Kuroda (tonight)
Johan Santana vs. Vincente Padilla (Friday) — If they lose this game then I give up
Mike Pelfrey vs. James McDonald (Saturday)
RA Dickey vs. Clayton Kershaw (Sunday) — Kershaw was just handed a 5 game suspension, but will appeal and is allowed to play until that’s all settled. Sucks, I know.
As bad as the Mets offense has been, the starting pitching still hasn’t been all that stellar. Yes, Santana and Niese have been solid and RA has been formidable, but then you look at these facts:
- Takahshi hasn’t gone 6 innings since June 18th at Yankee Stadium
- Pelfrey hasn’t gone 5 innings since June 25th vs. Minnesota
- RA hasn’t won since June 23rd vs. Detroit — though, again, that’s not all his fault
Add in the fact that their closer can’t close games, Fernando Nieve is still in the bullpen and Oliver Perez is back — ugh, I just threw up in my mouth again.
Whatever. Go Mets!
These are busy days for general managers as they scramble looking to make the best trades that will solidify their teams for a post reason run before the July 31st trade deadline. Phone calls are being made, emails and being sent and general managers and owners have a firm grip on their Blackberry’s.
No doubt, Omar Minaya is faithfully scanning the trade market looking for a way to sure up the Mets. The area of focus that needs improving, from most people’s opinion, is starting pitching and I would have to agree with that sentiment. The urgency to find another arm has been somewhat pacified by R.A. Dickey’s surprising resurgence to relevancy. But in truth, I remain skeptical that Dickey will continue to rival Johan Santana’s ERA this season and that he will end up being closer to his career ERA of 5.04. It’s tough to take much stock in what he is doing. How many pitchers redefine their careers at the age of 35? Not to say that I want Dickey to fail. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the team needs the extra arms, if not for Dickey at least for Hisanori Takahashi.
But there are several variables involved with the Mets landing a quality arm at the deadline:
- The pitcher they seek needs to be improvement over what they currently have and that is not always easy to find in the current trade market.
- The price has to be right. Apparently the commercial real estate business isn’t booming and the Mets are claiming that their ability to take on salary is limited.
- Then there are the players that the Mets must give up in order to land a pitcher. Are they willing to part with a player on the parent club? A minor leaguer? And for a team that needs to replenish their farm system with strong talent, it’s is a slippery slope as they don’t want to give away too much for what could be a “rent-a-pitcher” situation for the remainder of the year.
From this list, only Haren and Myers are making less than $10 million this year, but even for Haren, the Mets would still have to be responsible for about $4 million and the number of prospects that Arizona would demand in return makes Haren a long shot.
Oswalt is too expensive and would cost too much in return for players. Besides, the Yankees will probably land him.
Westbrook wouldn’t cost the Mets a lot of players, but his $5 million salary is a lot to take on for a mediocre pitcher with a history of injury problems and a lifetime 4.34 ERA.
Ted Lilly is my personal choice but there are some issues even with him. First, from reports, the Mets are souring on Lilly as they have been concerned with his loss of velocity this year coming back from injury. Also the players the Mets would have to give up would be higher than Westbrook, but not as high as Haren or Oswalt. And there’s the matter of money, Lilly is probably more expensive than what the Mets are willing to spend. But the nice thing about Lilly, despite the loss of velocity, is that for the past 4 seasons Lilly has a cumulative WHIP of 1.14. He’s an attractive control pitcher but allows a lot of fly balls which gets him into trouble, especially at Wrigley Field. Home runs have been his downfall this year. But CitiField would be suppress some of those home runs and might offer him more success.
Lilly is also in his walk year and will become a free agent at the end of 2010, so he has a great deal of personal motivation to do well and New York would provide a nice stage to audition from. He’s also positioned himself as a type A free agent, so at the end of the year if the Mets offered him arbitration and he declined, the Mets could secure a couple of high draft picks from the team that eventually signs him. Something to think about for Omar.
However, the most attractive pitcher out there that really fits all of the Mets criteria is Brett Myers. He’s cheap, wouldn’t cost the team a lot of players and he’s done well enough this year to provide enough improvement of a pitcher like Takahashi who the Mets would prefer to send back to the bullpen. He’s not a bad option considering the Mets limitations and he has shown health this year which he has been the issue in the past. Even if something were to happen to him injury-wise, the $1.5 million the Mets would have to pay would be a low enough risk to take a gamble on Myers.
So those are some of the nuts and bolts of what the Mets are dealing with as the trade deadline approaches. The most likely scenario is that the Mets will go after Myers but not so much as to compromise their farm system. If the Mets don’t land Myers, there may be other options like Westbrook, with Cleveland eating a good portion of the salary. But at the end, the Mets might just stand pat which would be a shame as they are in the mix of things. But don’t be too disappointed if that happens, the Mets are so very good at raising the hopes of their fans and falling short. We should be used to it by now. The trade deadline may come and go with no significant changes. But of course, we’ll hold our breath and hope for something different, as Met fans do every year.
Though the Mets were only able to take 1 game from the Giants, the starters were not the ones to blame. Hisanori Takahashi was beat up as he made a spot start for Mike Pelfrey, but the hitting was missing in action as they only scored 7 runs in 4 games. Look for the Mets bats to rebound against the Diamondbacks as the starting pitching continues to impress.
|as of 7/15||6.65||2.63||0.55||0.314||76.8||55.0||6.9||2.77||3.31||3.73|
R.A. Dickey was strong on Thursday, lasting 7 innings while giving up 1 run on only 5 hits and 1 walk. He struck out 3 and induced 9 groundouts to 6 flyouts. He’s seeing the most success of his career thanks to his nice mix of walk prevention and a 55% groundball rate. He’s been a bit lucky on home runs, but nothing too troublesome for a starter who is pitching well and getting a fair share of his starts at Citi Field. Add in a respectable 6.38 k/9 and a faster knuckleball and you have what should be a mainstay in this rotation for the rest of the season. Dickey has been worth 1.6 WAR so far in 11 starts.
|as of 7/16||7.33||2.81||0.90||0.321||76.3||49.5||10.2||3.61||3.95||3.98|
Jonathon Niese is due for a lot more recognition as the season progresses. He put together another great outing on Friday, going 7 innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits. He did walk 3 and only struck out 4, but continues to be a groundball out machine. Niese doesn’t have a large enough sample to make too many conclusions, but he looks like a pitcher who is going to get outs from balls in play and limit walks enough to be successful. A k/9 above 7 is also promising and as his secondary pitches develop there’s no reason to think he can’t rack up the strikeouts. Niese was left off a lot of prospect lists and in his first full season he’s doing his best to change (at least some) of the perception of recent Met prospects. Every team covets a 23 year old lefty who can strike guys out, limit walks, and induce ground balls 50% of the time.
Mike Pelfrey was scratched from his start on Saturday due to a stiff neck and was replaced by Hisanori Takahashi who got tagged for 6 runs on 7 hits including 2 home runs in 2.2 innings of work. Takahashi has been hurt recently by a both homeruns and being too hittable. His leash is probably short, especially with Oliver Perez coming back to the lineup despite Perez being pegged as a $12 million dollar LOOGY.
|as of 7/18||5.88||2.91||0.57||0.272||77.6||34.3||4.5||2.98||3.62||4.69|
Johan Santana looked great despite the Met relievers blowing the win for him again. Santana went 8 innings, yielding 1 run on 8 hits while only walking 1. He struck out 5 and induced 10 groundouts and 9 flyouts. He’s been able to maintain success with a k/9 below 6.0 and has limited homeruns significantly this year. Santana’s xFIP isn’t a great metric to evaluate him, considering he’s limited home runs below the league average the past few years and with the help of Citi Field he should be able to maintain a lower hr/fb% than the rest of the league and a lower rate than his career 9.0 hr/fb%. Santana’s continued success will be pivotal to the Mets chance at a playoff birth.
Cheer up Mets fans, LeBron might not be coming to New York but the Braves are!
Before MLB takes a mini-vacation for the All-Star celebrations, the Mets and Braves will battle in Citi Field with implications that bring back memories of the Mike Piazza days. Indeed it feels like this season may be bringing back the rivalry from the late 90′s/early 2000′s and really, can anyone complain? — Unless, of course, the Mets miss the playoffs.
This series could be a huge one for the Mets. As of now, New York leads in the NL Wild Card race. If they sweep this weekend, they will be tied for first place heading into the All-Star break which I think all of us would have signed up for at the start of the season. If they get swept, there’s a possibility they could be in third place.
The good news is, like the Mets, Atlanta has found much of their success at Turner Field where they are 30-10 so the Mets hold a distinct home-field advantage for this series. We all know by now Citi Field has helped the pitching staff, but the Mets sport some pretty impressive offensive numbers at home as well. Met hitters are batting .271 with a .343 OBP, .763 OPS, 202 runs, 75 doubles, and 17 triples at Citi.
The pitching matchups are as follows: Tommy Hanson vs. RA Dickey tonight, Tim Hudson vs. Mike Pelfrey Saturday and Derek Lowe vs. Johan Santana on Sunday.
On the surface, it looks like Tommy Hanson is struggling in his sophomore campaign. But don’t let his 4.19 ERA fool you; his 3.37 FIP and 9.12 K/9 say that he’s faring much better than you think. The problem for Hanson has been the walks, as he averages 3.07 base-on-balls per 9 innings. It should be an interesting matchup to see the young flamethrower face off against the revitalized knuckleballer, much like last weekend with Strasburg.
Mike Pelfrey takes the mound Saturday, which lately has not been a good thing. Many fans have been referring to Pelfrey as an All-Star snub, but I’m not one of them. He has allowed 4 or more earned runs in 3 of his last 4 starts, and failed to get out of the 5th inning in his last two starts. The problem may lie in the fact that Big Pelf has lost the ability to get outs on the ground as of late. Going back to his start against the Padres on June 8, Pelfrey has gotten 76 fly ball outs while getting 65 outs via the ground ball, 11 less. Also, going back to that same date, Pelfrey has allowed more fly ball outs than ground ball outs in every game except June 30 in Puerto Rico, when he got 11 outs on the ground and 11 in the air. This is not good news for a pitcher who has been referred to as a ground ball pitcher since the day he was drafted.
As for Pelfrey’s counterpart on Saturday, Tim Hudson has had practically the opposite season of Tommy Hanson. His 2.44 and 8-4 record suggest he’s having a great season, but his 4.29 FIP and 4.16 xFIP say he’s been getting help from his defense. Hudson’s K/9 is also only at 4.57, down from his career mark of 6.04. Much of Timmy’s success this season has come from a .234 BABIP, so don’t be surprised if we see a second half regression from him.
On the flip side, don’t be surprised if we see a Johan Santana resurgance in the second half. He is well documented as an extraordinary second half pitcher as it is, and his last two starts suggest that may still be the case. The biggest thing to be highly encouraged by in Santana’s last two starts are the strikeouts, as he’s K’d 12 batters in 16 innings.
There’s a lot at stake here for a series in July and Citi field will definitely be rocking. Let’s go Mets!
The Mets offense seemingly exploded in June as David Wright mashed to the tune of .404/.447/.683; .475 wOBA. Jose Reyes finally found his stride, hitting .314/.360/.533; .397 wOBA. Overall, the hitters are still putting balls into play more frequently than most teams (8.1 bb%; 20.2k%). Their .301 BABIP is right in line with the league mean, and their team triple slash on the season rests at .261/.325/.403. Fans have yet to see a good month from Jason Bay, but he’s been excellent in his last 15 games or so. Should Carlos Beltran come back, Jerry would be wise to maximize RF production by playing Francoeur against lefties and Pagan against righties when Beltran is in the lineup.
The Mets pitching has been strong of late, but has benefited from a combination of luck, defense, and ballpark factor for most of the season. They are 24th overall (12th in nl) in WHIP with a 1.43 mark, but 6th overall (5th in nl) in ERA with a 3.83 mark. Essentially, they are putting runners on base, often via walks, but they are stranding those runners 76.3% of the time, good for 2nd in the NL behind the Padres. The Mets are middle of the pack in most batted ball against stats and have a .311 BABIP against with a 1.16 GB/FB%. They’ve thrown the 3rd most pitches in the NL. Dickey, Pelfrey, and Niese all throw 50% ground balls, in part why they’ve been able to limit homeruns against this year.
The Mets took two of three from the Twins, as they won their sixth series in June. Headed by strong performances by Mike Pelfrey and Jonathon Niese, the Mets went into the Florida series 11 games above .500. Johan Santana’s struggles continued on Saturday, and he is still unable to amass the strikeout totals we are used to seeing.
Mike Pelfrey got his 10th win of the season, throwing117 pitches (77 strikes) in 6 innings of work. He give up 2 runs, 1 of which was a solo shot to Denard Span, on 6 hits and 0 walks. He struck out 2 and induced 8 groundouts and 6 flyouts. Pelfrey’s k/9 has come back down the past few starts. His strand rate and babip are still better than his career marks, but with his strikeout rate regressing towards his career norm, you have to wonder how much of his success is luck. One stat that isn’t shown here is his first pitch strike % which rests above 65%, 7 points higher than his career average.
Johan Santana picked up his fifth loss of the season on Saturday, throwing 107 pitches in 6 innings of work. He gave up 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. 4 of those hits went for extra bases. Santana struck out 4 and induced 7 groundouts and 4 flyouts. His velocity, swinging strike percentage, and first pitch strike percentage are all decreasing, while his contact rates are increasing. It’s no secret his overall effectiveness has been on a decline. This year it is much more pronounced.
Jonathon Niese bounced back on Sunday to improve to 5-2 on the season. He threw 104 pitches (68 strikes) in 6 innings of work. He only yielded 4 hits, but walked 3 batters. Niese struck out 5, and induced an outstanding 12 groundouts, and 1 flyout. There’s not much to complain about with Niese right now. There still seems to be some room for improvement in his babip, though he can be a bit hittable at times with his fastball only topping out in the very low 90s. I don’t think he’ll need to be included in a package to net Cliff Lee, and I think Omar is smart enough to keep this young lefty stud in the rotation for years to come.