As a Mets fan I’ll be rooting for them to clinch in game, well, 4-5-6-7, it doesn’t matter, just win! The Royals will be a tough matchup though, a team that came so close to winning it all last year. Teams that have swept in the LCS have had little success afterwards, going 1-6 in the World Series. Included in that statistic are the Royals, most likely this fluke statistic results from a small sample size, but it’s still unsettling for Mets fan. Despite having home field advantage Vegas lists both team’s chances at even. Let’s go over the series matchup.
The Royals hitters struck out the fewest times (975) in the MLB and they were the only club to whiff under 1000 times. In contrast to the last team the Mets beat, the Cubs led the majors with over 1500 Ks. The Mets young power pitchers thrive on strikeouts, and while the infield has performed admirably so far in the postseason, the hit to contact Royals will put that defense to the test. On the flip side, the Royals were nearly last in the MLB in walks (380) while the Mets were nearly last in walks (383) issued. So I feel like the Royals will usually have to hit to get on base. Looking at the 2015 Postseason numbers, and I know it’s only a small sample size, but the Royals are beating the Mets across the board in every offensive category. Royals have played 2 more games than the Mets and the Mets played 5 of their 9 games against the top 3 NL Cy Young pitchers, so it makes sense the Royals would have better hitting stats in the postseason. To their credit the Royals played 3 games against the top 2 AL Cy Young pitchers, so it’s not like they’v been feasting on easy pitching matchups. The Royals hitters, especially you Salvador Perez, like to chase balls out of the zone, but it’s been working for them so far.
The Mets have been carried by Daniel Murphy so far, if he continues to hit like he has been then this might not even be a contest. Duda and Wright were showing signs of life in the last Cubs game too, so hopefully that carries over. The Mets haven’t really played from behind the entire postseason, whereas the Royals seem to thrive on making a comeback late. As for the DH, I assume it will be Kelly Johnson, but perhaps the Mets might go with Lagares on the field for better OF defense and let Conforto DH in some of the games. Either way, not sure we will be seeing much from Cuddyer, Nieuwenhuis, or Uribe other than the occasional PH.
So the first month of baseball is technically over, but because the season started so late the first month hasn’t really finished yet. I looked into some players off to great starts to the season and I used fangraphs for all the stats mentioned in my post.
Nelson Cruz – Well it’s official, I was dead wrong on Cruz. Seattle is where hitters go to die! Cano couldn’t even get to 15 HRs last year and Cruz moving from the hitter friendly Camden Yards to Safeco was supposed to reduce his power, not increase it! He’s hitting fly balls 14% more than last year and his ground ball rate is down by 8%, so the spike in HRs makes sense. Those rates usually don’t stabilize until ~170 PAs and he’s only half way to that mark. His HR/FB is high, but if he can keep generating this many FBs then he might even eclipse last years 40 HRs…he only needs 30 more to go. His walk and strikeout rates look right around career average and he’s swinging a little less outside the strike zone while increasing his contact rate. His age, injury history, and home park gave me concern going into the season, but the stats show there’s little to dislike.
I’m worried. 2015 is supposed to be our year. David Wright thinks we’ll be in the playoffs, Sandy Alderson thinks we’ll improve by 10 wins, and people on ESPN are saying the Mets are better than the Yankees. For the past couples seasons this was the year people have been saying the Mets will rise from mediocrity and head to the playoffs, but I’m worried.
A piece from the mind of James Boyce
I always liked Roy Halladay, mainly because he usually went or tried to go the distance, tossing the complete game. A throwback to a older and lost generation – before there were closers, and 8th inning guys, and 7th inning guys, before quality starts became more of a mark of mediocrity. Anyway, Doc had himself a pretty good career, and looking back at the numbers puts things in perspective. 67 Complete games – the # 1 spot according to Baseball-Reference.com (a great site BTW) of active pitchers (I guess since the upcoming season has not yet started, BRef hasn’t yet recognized his retirement), which ranks tied for 636th (!) all-time. The next active pitcher doesn’t even crack the top 1000. Had to check the active leader list on MLB.com sortable stats to see Livan Hernandez w 50, CC Sabathia w 37, and Bartolo Colon w 35. Just for perspective, of recent HOF pitching nominees, Jack Morris is at 180 w 175, Roger Clemens at 327 w 118, Greg Maddux at 355 w 109, Curt Shilling at 495 w 83, Mike Mussina at 736 w 57, Tom Glavine at 750 w 56. Roy’s 20 Shut Outs rank 244th, again he was the active leader in that department. The next were Chris Carpenter w 15, Tim Hudson w 13, Bartolo Colon, Cliff Lee, and CC Sabathia w 12. Times have changed.