Thursday, August 30, 2007

This Is Unacceptable

Seriously? A fucking sweep? What the fuck?!? The Phillies are only two games out of first now. Before this series, Baseball Prospectus put the Mets chances of winning the division at almost 90%. Making the playoffs was virtually guaranteed. As of this morning, the Mets had about an 80% chance of winning the division. I can't wait to see what it is now.

Attention Mets: you all played like shit this whole series. The only one who gets a pass is El Duque. Yes, he stunk today too, but he should have like 15 wins by now instead of 9. Right now, Mets, you do not deserve to win this division.

And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there . . . FUCK YOU TOO!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jeff Conine

You know Junior, some of the things we've done, man . . . I don't feel like we've done something wrong. Sometimes, man . . . I get this bad feeling. I told the padre the truth man, I like it here. Get to do what you want, nobody fucks with you. The only worry you got is dying. And if that happens you won't know about it anyway. So what the fuck man?
-- Bunny

So . . . Jeff Conine. Another over 40 Met. Whee! The Mets needed a right-handed bat off the bench after Damion Easley's ankle injury, and Conine is as good an available waiver trade as any, I guess. It's hard to get too excited about adding a two-month rental on the wrong side of FORTY, for the love of god, but take a look at this.

Basically, Conine is only going to be used in games against tough lefties to spell mostly Sean Green (who can't hit LHP at this point) in RF, or Delgado (who may or may not be able to hit anything at this point) at first; or as the right-handed PH off the bench. Given Delgado's stature, I think Green is more likely to get replaced, Delgado's shitty 2007 not withstanding. This is pretty much what the Reds have been doing with him. Anyway, if you combine Green (who can't hit lefties) with Conine (who can't hit righties) to form GREENINE, you end up with one relatively OK player.

Just for fun, here's what I think the Mets order will be like when they're facing LHP and RHP, once Lo Duca comes off the DL.

Holy crap, the Mets have been killing lefties this year. By the way, David Wright may as well be the devil as far as left-handers are concerned. That's a .630 slugging %. That's fucking terrifying.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sosa (Again)

So over the weekend, Gary Cohen remarked that he was now "Everyday" Jorge Sosa, because he'd pitched in six of the last seven games. And pitched pretty well, too. So I decided to take a look at how Sosa, who I don't think is a very good pitcher, has fared since moving to the bullpen to make way for Brian Lawrence.

The short answer is, great! He's got a 1.69 ERA since he moved to the bullpen. But how's he doing it? Pitching in short bursts, can he cut loose and start striking people out? Well, here's your answer. Of course, after looking at this data, I realized what a shitty way this is to present it.

Below you'll find Sosa's K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and K/BB rates presented as a pecentage above or below NL average, both as a starter and a reliever. For example, as a starter, Sosa strikes out 5.2 batters per nine innings, about 30% below average in the NL.

As a starter, Sosa was below average in strikeouts per nine, and also strikeout-to-walk ratio, but average in walks per nine and HR per nine. As a reliever, Sosa actually has an even worse strikeout rate, an average strikeout-to-walk ratio, but is a stellar 48% better than average in walks per nine, and is infinitely better in HR per nine, having given up none.

So basically, he's striking out fewer batters than before, walking even fewer, and not giving up any home runs. I'm not sure this is sustainable, even pitching out of the bullpen. Of course, the usual small sample size caveats do apply -- he's only pitched 16 innings out of the 'pen.

Having said that, I actually do like using Sosa out of the bullpen. I suspect that his success there has more to do with the fact that he's faced 42 right-handed batters, who have batted .201/.243/.294 against him this year, and only 16 lefties, who've batted .303/.381/.491. Sosa is a ROOGY (Right-handed One Out GuY).

And PS, how can a guy who throws 95 mph strike out so few batters?


Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Last 40 Games (Or So)

So I was thinking about the NL East, watching game 2 against the Nats, and I decided to see who's got the toughest schedule for the remaining 40 games, among the Mets, Phillies, and Braves. It's possible that one of the teams would be playing the Pirates/Cincy a lot, and be able to clinch the NL East by beating up retards. Turns out it's pretty even. The NL East contenders, between the three of them, only play 14 different teams, and most of 'em are other teams in the NL East, including the other two contenders.

Anyway, the Mets have the easiest remaining schedule, while the Phillies have the hardest. But it's not that big a difference. Strength of remaining schedules:

Mets: .490
Braves: .493
Phillies: .502

The difference between the Mets remaining schedule and the Phillies remaining schedule is like the difference between a 79-83 team and an 81-81 team. Yeah. The Braves play out the season against an 80-82 team.

So, it'll basically come down to how well each of the three contenders plays the others. Which is pretty much what we thought before I went and fired up the ol' Strength of Schedule Spreadsheet. Sweet. Time well spent.


Friday, August 17, 2007

Castillo's Defense

I know I said that it was probably a wash between Gotay and Castillo, but holy crap! that double-play was a) incredible, and b) there's no way Gotay makes that play.

On the other hand, Gotay has more home runs (4) in 67 AB's this year than Castillo has in all of 2007 and 2006 (zero).

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Who Stinks?

The bullpen.

I was prepared to write something about how the Mets have been going through a tough patch since the All Star break, due to the poor performance of the bullpen. The 'pen has been terrible recently, blowing games in Milwaukee and Florida, just off the top of my head; not to mention last night's clusterfuck, or even Wednesday's almost-clusterfuck . But of course, when I looked at the actual data it turns out that wasn't it at all.

This is a graph of the OPS allowed by the Mets starters and relievers, and the OPS achieved by the Mets hitters. Basically, I'm taking OPS here to stand for the general offense, which it pretty much is. Obviously you'd want your hitters to have a higher OPS than your pitchers would allow.

Yeesh, that was an ugly stretch there in June-July, wasn't it? But the bullpen has been pretty good all year, even in August, last night's stinkfest not withstanding. It's the starters who have been letting us down, though the offense has finally started to come around. Look, the bullpen certainly did its part in blowing the game last night, but some of that blame has to go to Brian Lawrence, too. Giving up four runs in five innings to the punchless Pirates is nothing to be proud of.

You may notice that the June-July period where the Mets allowed more OPS than they earned neatly coincided with their shrinking division lead. Thank god the Braves also went into the toilet at the same time.

We couldn't really expect to have the whole rotation spot a .650 OPS for a whole season. On the other hand, they're going to have to do better than .800+ if we want to continue to hold off the Phillies and the Braves (or the Phaves . . . Brillies?). If the bullpen has to continue to pitch four innings every night, they're not going to get any better, either.

Thanks as always to the Day by Day Database, and The Hardball Times, two absolutely indispensable baseball sites.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Castillo vs. Gotay


It's hard to get too excited about this one either way. Basically, the Mets trade a bag of magic beans to the Twins for one of their better offensive players. Castillo at this point, though, isn't the player he was with the Marlins. His knees are shot, taking away his speed, he steals bases at barely a break-even pace, when he even does that anymore, and he has zero pop. Should he even be playing everyday? Is he any better than Gotay? How many damn second basemen do we want on this team?

Anyway, here are their numbers for 2007. Blah. I suspect that Gotay is playing a bit above his head right now -- the relatively small number of AB's he's gotten could mean that his .379 OBP is a fluke. Likewise, Castillo is probably better than his 2007 numbers indicate.

This is probably a wash. Gotay has more power than Castillo (which is easy, because he has none) but Castillo is probably a better OBP candidate, based on career rates. Castillo also probably has the edge in 2B defense, but not by a whole lot at this point -- creaky knees have taken away some of Luis' range.

On the other hand, it's not a bad trade for a two-month rental. Neither of the AA douchebags the Twins got is going anywhere.*

* PS, Twins fans: your season is over. This was a white flag trade to save the Twins the remainder of Castillo's $5.75 million salary. Sorry.


Sunday, August 05, 2007

Not To Get All Fire Joe Morgan, But . . .

Sunday Night Baseball, Cubs vs Mets. Joe Morgan keeps talking about how Luis Castillo has played his whole career in Minneapolis, and since he spent his whole career in the AL, he doesn't have any idea how to handle the swirling winds at Wrigley, and playing all those games on Astroturf at the Dome have killed his knees, reducing his former speed.

It's possible Castillo isn't familiar with the winds at Wrigley, and playing on 'turf in Minny may indeed have hurt his knees. But if memory serves (or, even if it doesn't) Luis Castillo has spent most of career in Florida. You remember the Marlins, right Joe? No? They won the World Series and everything. Twice. The second time with Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo; the same Castillo that's on the Mets right now. They stole a lot of bases and never hit for power, so I assumed they were two of your favorites.

Anyway, it turns out that Castillo had 26 games at Wrigley with the Marlins; his first in August of 1996, almost exactly eleven years ago. This game tonight makes his 29th. Almost 25% of the games he's played in the Metrodome. But yeah, that Turf is a bitch.