Mets-centric Monday notes

While most New York sports fans were transfixed by the latest overtime drama between the Rangers and Capitals in D.C., another thriller was taking shape just up the interstate.

— From the first inning to the last, and plenty in between, this Mets-Phillies game had as many big and surprising plays as any in recent memory. None was bigger or more shocking than this nine-iron for a memorable first big-league hit.

  • Roy Halladay had won his last 8 starts against the Mets, including all 7 since joining the Phillies.
  • Gary Cohen set up a classic Announcer’s Jinx with this bit of hyperbole just before the first pitch to Jordany Valdespin: “Papelbon hasn’t given up a hit with a runner in scoring position yet this year.” May you never hear a bigger fuss over three at-bats.
  • It was the first exactly 3-run HR ever hit off Jonathan Papelbon. He has allowed one grand slam (way back in 2007), twelve 2-run HRs and 20 solo shots.
  • The Mets came into Monday without an extra-base hit in their past 2 games, tying the MLB high since 2011. Out of 30 such streaks, only the Mets won both games. In the past 20 years, just 10 other teams have won consecutive games with no XBH; the lasst 3-game streak came in 1986.

Will Middlebrooks (2 HRs, 5 RBI) is the third player since 1918 with two games of 4+ RBI within his first 4 career games. All 3 such players (including Dave Kingman and Joe Cunningham) had a total of 3 HRs and 9 RBI in those games.

Welcome back, Doug Fister! Injured in his first start of the year, Fister blanked his former team for 7 IP in his return. In 81 IP since joining Detroit, he has a 1.56 ERA and just 6 walks with 63 Ks.

  • Please tell me that’s not Octavio Dotel trying to protect a 2-run in the 9th. Well, no, it can’t be; Dotel would have given up a HR. This sequence — walk, walk, wild pitch, wild pitch, double — only could have come from one man.

Big Z allowed 3 singles and 1 walk in his first shutout since 2009. The slimmed-down Zambrano put up 7 goose eggs in his last game. It’s just the 2nd time in his career that he’s had consecutive starts of 7+ scoreless innings.

  • Giancarlo’s 10-game hitting streak has just one multi-hit game, but 6 HRs.

Help me out here, guys. What else was eye-popping on this Monday night?

25 thoughts on “Mets-centric Monday notes

  1. 1
    Gonzo says:

    8th inning.
    Tie game.
    First and second, no outs.
    Polanco successfully bunts the runners over.
    Next 2 batters are Galvis and a pinch hitter.
    Good move?

    • 7
      JoshG says:

      Bad move all the way. But did you see the play before it? Ruiz batting, I think it was Wigginton on first, Ruiz drops down the bunt. Mets pitcher coming in to field it (I don’t remember who) slips and falls on his back. Can’t find the video, though.

      After that loss, I’m taking anything I can get out of it

    • 19
      kzuke says:

      i found this article after the cha/oak game where ventura called for six sacrifice bunts. it breaks down the thresholds for when sacrificing is acceptable. if the batter is below the threshold, then bunting is a positive event. i didn’t check out the math (nor would i necessarily understand it), but i thought it was pretty interesting. the breakdown:

      Situation 1 – Runner on 1st, 1 Out
      Metric Threshold R-Squared
      AVG .199 .4532
      OBP .224 .6506
      SLG .174 .7928

      Situation 2 – Runner on 1st, 0 Out
      Metric Threshold R-Squared
      AVG .233 .6333
      OBP .282 .8688
      SLG .322 .7677

      Situation 3 – Runner on 2nd, 0 Out
      Metric Threshold R-Squared
      AVG .364 .7390
      OBP .450 .5197
      SLG .646 .4976

      Situation 4 – Runners on 1st & 2nd, 0 Out
      Metric Threshold R-Squared
      AVG .268 .5323
      OBP .338 .7738
      SLG .430 .5070

  2. 2
    Timmy Pea says:

    My cat was going nuts during the Marlins game! Big Z looks great so far this year with an ERA below 2. The NL East is the most exciting in baseball this year, and any team could win it.

  3. 3
    Timmy Pea says:

    If the Cubs were to get some relief pitching you are looking at a competitive team this year. Marmol almost gave away the game tonight in the 8th and the Cubs got lucky. He lost his closer role, but I don’t understand pitching him in the 8th? You can p@#$ away a ballgame in the 8th just as easy as the 9th. Poor Ryan Dempster has pitched great, but has little to show as far as wins go.

  4. 4
    Hartvig says:

    “Papelbon hasn’t given up a hit with a runner in scoring position yet this year.”

    And of course in this era of the 1 inning closer nearly every one of those RISP is his responsibility as well.

  5. 5
    Mark in Sydney says:

    Huh. JA, one thing you missed in the Mets/Phillies game was Victorino getting called out on interference in attempting to break-up a double-play. Seems like 6ft from the plate is just too far…

    • 6
      Mark in Sydney says:

      Doh! I see you -did- get that in your “plenty” link. Good to see it happen though.

  6. 9
    birtelcom says:

    Parnell’s line for the game was unusual. At least 4 hits, at least one walk, less than two IP, and no runs surrendered, has been done only once before by a Mets pitcher: Carlos Diaz back in 1982. Over the period 2009 through 2012, it had been done only once before in the majors: by the Astros’ Fernando Rodriguez last year.

    • 15
      John Autin says:

      Great to see the name of Carlos Diaz, better known to Mets fans as “how we stole El Sid from the Dodgers.” 🙂

  7. 10
    birtelcom says:

    Mets are averaging .92 homers a game in away games, .44 homers per game at Citi. I think they need to move the fences in some more — to about 200 ft in left and right and 250 in center should do it.

    • 11
      Evan says:

      That would make it even harder to hit home runs. Rule 6.09(d): “…A fair fly ball that passes out of the playing field at a point less than 250 feet from home base shall entitle the batter to advance to second base only.” 🙂

      • 13
        birtelcom says:

        Great response, Evan — that rule was news to me. So much for home team home runs at Citi.

        • 14
          Evan says:

          It was news to me as well, actually. I came across it by accident while trying to figure out what rules governed the minor league highlight currently featured on where the outfielder makes a home run saving catch high above the outfield wall and then tumbles into the bullpen.

        • 17
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          Since 1958, all new MLB parks are required to have foul lines at least 325 feet to the fences; older stadiums such as Fenway and Yankee Stadium were “grandfathered” in. I’m not sure if they’ve made any exceptions for the new post-1990 parks.

          In 1948 the Cleveland Indians and Bill Veeck moved the fences in and out during the season depending on the HR power of the opposing team, so MLB passed a rule that required its approval if fences were moved.

          • 20
            Artie Z says:

            On the first issue, I think Pac Bell (or wherever they call the place where the baseball Giants play in San Francisco) had issues with its dimensions due to the bay getting in the way. The right field line is listed as 309 feet.

            On the second issue, it sure would have been fun to watch Bill Veeck run a baseball team.

    • 18
      John Autin says:

      Oh, well, our power problems will all be solved when Jason Bay comes back. (Nyuk, nyuk.)

  8. 12
    nightfly says:

    To review: this is a clear violation of Rule 48, where the principal point of contact is with Josh Thole’s head. The Department of Player Safety has decided to suspend Ty Wiggington for one game.

  9. 16
    John Autin says:

    I want to thank you all for not making fun of the error in my opening line. The hockey game I referenced took place in Madison Square Garden, not in D.C. (I wrongly assumed a 2-3-2 series format.)

    And if you just don’t know or care where a hockey game was played … that’s good, too. 🙂

  10. 21
    John Autin says:

    I generally believe that any good reliever can be a good closer. But in Dotel’s case, I’m willing to make an exception. It’s not as though it hasn’t been tried a few times before. It doesn’t work.

    Compare Dotel’s career stats for the 8th inning against those for the 9th and later (I’ve deducted all IBBs, which may be situationally biased):

    OBP — .255, .289
    OPS — .587, .684

  11. 22
    John Autin says:

    The HR by Drew Pomeranz Monday was the first by a pitcher this year, coming in Colorado’s 28th game. It’s the latest (by games) for that event since 1994.

    In 2003, there were 9 pitcher HRs within teams’ first 27 games.

    First pitcher HR for recent years, by team game number:
    2012 – 27
    2011 – 12
    2010 – 6
    2009 – 2
    2008 – 12
    2007 – 7
    2006 – 2
    2005 – 23
    2004 – 8
    2003 – 11
    2002 – 2
    2001 – 5
    2000 – 10
    1999 – 2
    1998 – 10
    1997 – 10
    1996 – 8
    1995 – 2
    1994 – 45

  12. 23
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    This is totally off-topic, but I am quite amused that on B-R’s “Players” photo shots on their home page, they are frequently showing Eddie Gaedel today, famous for one plate appearance. He was an on-base machine!

  13. 25
    Neil L. says:

    “•Roy Halladay had won his last 8 starts against the Mets, including all 7 since joining the Phillies.”

    Is this still the Roy Halladay of old?

    Age and pitch counts must be taking their toll on that golden right arm, in my opinion. You can only be a pitching horse for so many years.

    It is telling that he does not have a complete game yet this year. I know it is early and the Phillies’ offense has struggled in his starts but his highest number of pitches is 119 in his starts this year.

    However, to come back to the topic, the Mets’s-Phil’s game was intriguing, with a lot of subplots, the “play within the play”. Of course, JA, you will get the literary reference.

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