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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard: 3 runs in 6 innings at best, hardly dominant.

Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard: should they have already been shut down? Thursday, October 29, 2015

Through game three of the finals, top three Met starters:

Photo of Noah Syndergaard
Noah Syndergaard won game three of the finals against Kansas City and has now pitched 50% more innings than in any of his previous seasons.  Despite throwing his first pitch high and tight for intimidation, Syndergaard allowed one run in the first inning.  Met captain David Wright hit a two run homer in the bottom of the first but Syndergaard allowed two more runs in the second.  That's hardly a good start.  To his credit Syndergaard reversed what Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom had done in the Met losses in games one and two, in which they pitched four good innings, then faltered.  Syndergaard pitched four shutout innings and Met batters scored 9.  In the first two games the Mets scored 4 (one a gift) in 14 innings, then only one.

All runs earned:
Harvey: 6 innings, 3 runs
deGrom: 5 innings, 4 runs
Syndergaard: 6 innings, 3 runs

Nothing special.  Can the Mets win with mediocre starting pitching?  Obviously it depends on whether the Royals can produce something better.  The Royals may have missed the designated hitter (DH) bat of Kendrys Morales playing in a National Conference park.  Different rule in different park: how charming ... and bush.

Game three starting pitchers:
Noah Syndergaard: Born: August 29, 1992 in Mansfield, TX
Yordano Ventura: Born: June 3, 1991 in Samana, Samana, Dominican Republic

Ventura is a little older and with two years in the Major Baseball League, while Syndergaard is a rookie.  In 2014 Ventura pitched these innings: 183 plus another 32 in the tournament, including two starts (12 innings, 2 runs) against the Giants who won the finals in seven games.  Ventura started finals games 2 and 6 in 2014, both Royals wins in Kansas City, so his start in New York in 2015 was his first in the finals on the road.  In 2015 Ventura has 163 innings plus another 14 in the tournament, including his 3.66 innings in game three against Syndergaard and the Mets.

So fatigue should not have been a problem for Ventura.  Probably nervousness facing a hostile crowd of wild front runners, who just three months ago were excoriating the entire Met organization.

So now what?  Starting pitchers in game four:
Chris Young (Royals) v. Steven Matz (Mets)
Photo of Edinson Vólquez
Then back to game one starters for game five tomorrow, the last of three in New York: Matt Harvey v. 32 year old Edinson Volquez, who was told after being removed from game one that his father had died. Volquez is in his 11th season and threw his most regular season innings in 2015 (200) and another 23 so far in the 2015 tournament. Volquez is in uncharted innings waters, as is Harvey.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Candidates debate outdraws World Series game two.

MRS. ROBINSON lyrics by: Paul Simon 1968, Album: The Graduate, Artist: Simon & Garfunkel

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Ev'ry way you look at it, you lose

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)


October 28, 2015 a one party presidential debate months before the first caucus or primary had more television viewers than the Royals 7-1 victory over the Mets in Kansas City in game two of the finals, which will end no later than five days from today.  The debate was on cable channel CNBC during the baseball game, which was on Fox.

Nice work, new commissioner Manfred, the A-Rod Slayer.  Maybe you could fail a little more on making the batters stay in the freakin' batter's box, you know, when they are supposed to be batting.

Someone actually told me yesterday that KC starter Johnny Cueto was quick pitching the Mets.  Say what?  Maybe Cueto was simply pitching quickly or what now looks like quickly compared to most pitchers wandering around waiting for the batters to return from wandering around.  The candidates standing for the entire debate does look a lot like fielders standing and waiting to be tested by batted balls, which occur less frequently than ever.  I guess the candidates generated more action, if not actual movement.
Photo of Joe DiMaggio
Joltin' Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 consecutive games during the 1941 season and struck out only 13 times.  Let's look at games times against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series for that iconic season.

1941 World Series (4-1): New York Yankees (101-53) over Brooklyn Dodgers (100-54)

Wednesday, October 1, 1941, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 68,540, Time of Game: 2:08 - home team did not bat in 9th
Yankees 3, Dodgers 2

Thursday, October 2, 1941, Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 66,248, Time of Game: 2:31
Dodgers 3, Yankees 2

Saturday, October 4, 1941, Ebbets Field
Attendance: 33,100, Time of Game: 2:22
Yankees 2, Dodgers 1

Sunday, October 5, 1941, Ebbets Field
Attendance: 33,813, Time of Game: 2:54
Yankees 7, Dodgers 4

Monday, October 6, 1941, Ebbets Field
Attendance: 34,072, Time of Game: 2:13
Yankees 3, Dodgers 1

The longest 1941 game matches the relative swiftness of game two in 2015.  Game one in 2015 was 5:09 for 14 innings.  Even allowing for television commercials in 2015, it's the slow pace that is the issue.

Baseball pace of play is killing the once great game.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard: should they have already been shut down?

Should Mets and Yanks shut down starting pitchers Harvey, Syndergaard, deGrom, Severino? Friday, September 18, 2015
Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey August 10, 2015 by slgckgc via Wikimedia Commons
So we'll sit back and enjoy the games as the players risk all for their enrichment and our entertainment.  And the glory of qualifying for the tournament and possibly even advancing past the first round.

That post contains half a dozen quotes from previous posts on the subject and is a good summary.

In Kansas City the Royals have won the first two games over the New York Mets. Now the seven game series switches to Citi Field, the Mets home park.  The Royals have held serve.  If the Mets can do the same, no harm.

However, the Mets have lost both games started by their two best pitchers, both with lots of rest, who had disturbingly similar patterns.  In game one Matt Harvey pitched six innings.  In game two Jacob deGrom pitched five innings.  Each was removed after completing his final inning.  All runs allowed were earned.

Maybe it's just the pressure.  Maybe they're a bit tired generally.  Maybe they should have already stopped pitching.
Noah Syndergaard July 25, 2015 by slgckgc via Wikimedia Commons
Rookie Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to start game three in New York tomorrow with lots of rest. Syndergaard faces the same issue as Harvey and deGrom.  Including minor league and tournament innings:

Harvey, of course, is coming off "Tommy John" elbow surgery in October 2013, which caused Harvey to miss the entire 2014 season.  There was melodrama during the 2015 season about Harvey's doctor recommending that Harvey not pitch more than 180 innings, which would about match Harvey's previous high in 2013.

There's a championship to be won and money to be made and reputations established.  And how much do fans truly like their players and how much are those players merely objects?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mookie Wilson horseshoe-up-the-ass memorial grounder and Metsies still lose to Royals.

Block the ball.  Eric Hosmer, block the damn ball.  Eighth inning, tied 3-3, two outs, Cry Baby Metsie Wilmer Flores batting with a runner on second base. You have got to keep that bouncer in the infield. You cannot let it get by you. You are a Gold Glove first baseman. You've got to know the situation. Eric Hosmer, you have got to block the ball, even if you do not retire the batter, which you should. What the heck?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 8:00pm, Kauffman Stadium
Attendance: 40,320, Time of Game: 5:09
Royals 5, Metsies 4

Florez reached on E3 (Ground Ball); Lagares Scores/No RBI/unER

Unfortunately for the Metsies, the Royals have some of their own stuff going on in 2014 and 2015.  Alex Gordon tied the game with a 9th inning home run and Hosmer got the game winning sac fly RBI in the 14th.  All's well that ends well.

But let's flash back to the greatest moment in the 54 year history of the New York Metsies.  No 60th home run.  No 61st home run.  No 56 game hitting streak.  No triple crowns.  No, ...

1986 World Series (4-3): New York Mets (108-54) over Boston Red Sox(95-66)

Game 6 Red Sox up 3-2 in games; Metsies facing elimination

Saturday, October 25, 1986, 8:30, Shea Stadium
Attendance: 55,078, Time of Game: 4:02
Metsies 6, Red Sox 5

Bottom of the 10th, Mets Batting, Behind 3-5, Red Sox' Calvin Schiraldi facing 2-3-4
Carter, Mitchell, Knight single; Carter scores
Bob Stanley replaces Calvin Schiraldi pitching and batting 9th

Photo of Mookie Wilson
Mookie Wilson batting: wild pitch; Mitchell Scores; Knight to 2B

Tie game, runner on second. Infielders must BLOCK the ball.

Wilson reached on E3 (Ground Ball); Knight Scores/unER
Metsies win.

Bill Buckner was the inept Red Sox fielder at first base who let a routine grounder go right through him into the outfield.

The Wilson plate appearance included two distinct events:
- the wild pitch that tied the game and put the winning run on second base
- Buckner missing Wilson's grounder that let the winning run score.

Without those two separate gifts to the Mets in the 10th inning, the Red Sox would have won the 1986 World Series right there.  Instead the Metsies won game seven two days later, for their most recent championship.

Metsie, Metsie. Monday, October 19, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Don Mattingly set two home run records in 1987: homered in 8 consecutive games, including 2 of record 6 grand slams.

Don Mattingly
Photo of Don Mattingly
Home runs in 8 consecutive games:
102102911987-07-08NYYMINMike Smithsonbehind 0-1b 1012-3330.18273%Home Run; Henderson Scores; Ward Scores
1031031021987-07-08NYYMINJuan Berenguerahead 7-4b 60---1330.04195%Home Run
1041041111987-07-09NYYCHWRichard Dotsonbehind 1-5b 62---1330.05312%Home Run
1051051211987-07-10NYYCHWJoel McKeontied 2-2b 211234330.21386%Home Run; Cerone Scores; Henderson Scores; Randolph Scores
1061061311987-07-11NYYCHWJose DeLeonbehind 0-2b 32---1330.10539%Home Run
1071071411987-07-12NYYCHWJim Winnahead 5-2b 72---1330.03696%Home Run
1081081511987-07-16NYY@TEXCharlie Houghahead 2-0t 221234330.20491%Home Run; Salas Scores; Tolleson Scores; Washington Scores
1091091621987-07-16NYY@TEXMitch Williamsahead 9-3t 821--2330.008100%Home Run; Washington Scores
1101101711987-07-17NYY@TEXPaul Kilgusahead 6-1t 62---1330.02696%Home Run
1111111811987-07-18NYY@TEXJose Guzmanbehind 0-2t 40---1330.10338%Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF)
In games one and six Mattingly hit two home runs.  In games three and six Mattingly hit a home run with the bases loaded.

Mattingly hit the only bases loaded home runs of his career in 1987, a record six.  Mattingly hit grand slams:
May 14 TEX Mike Mason
June 29 @TOR John Cerutti
July 10 CWS Joel McKeon
July 16 @TEX Charlie Hough
Sept. 25 @BAL Jose Mesa
Sept. 29 BOS Bruce Hurst

Mattingly hit 30 homers in 1987, ten in the eight consecutive games in which Mattingly hit at least one home run.

Daniel Murphy, Bobby Richardson, hot, clutch, choke.

Who among us doesn't think he/she can spot choke a mile away?  It's easier in the individual sports.  Former champions turned TV analysts Johnny Miller and John McEnroe can barely hide their contempt when they respectively see a golfer or tennis player succumbing to the pressure of the moment.  Well if there's choke, there must also be clutch.  And if there's clutch, there must be hot.

Met second baseman Daniel Murphy has been hot.  Tonight in the first game of the final series Murphy has the opportunity to extend his tournament record streak of homering in six consecutive games.  The record including regular season is at least one homer in eight consecutive games.
Photo of Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is 75 % to consecutive game homer record of Long, Mattingly, Griffey, Jr. Thursday, October 22, 2015

The record for homering in consecutive games overall is eight games:
Dale Long Pittsburgh Pirates May 19-28,1956
Don Mattingly New York Yankees July 8-18, 1987; 10 homers in 8 games
Ken Griffey, Jr. Seattle Mariners July 20-28, 1993

Mattingly was not a home run hitter but he has another record: most bases loaded (four run) home runs in one season: six, which oddly, are the only grand slams in Mattingly's career.  In 1987 Mattingly hit grand slams May 14, June 29, July 10, 16, Sept. 25, 29.  Travis Hafner in 2006 also hit six grand slams.

Consider Mattingly's other home run record: six grand slams in one season.  To tie and the break the old record Mattingly needed help from his Yankee teammates in loading the bases for him but in those few opportunities very late (Sept. 25 and 29) in the 1987 season Mattingly had to come through, doing something he was not particularly exceptional at doing: hitting home runs.  That seems pretty clutch to me.

Home run records have weight, in part, because the batter has to hit the ball hard enough and long enough to reasonably deserve a double in almost all cases.  It may be a cheap home run but it probably is a good double.

A plain record based on all types of hits could include many cheapies: bloopers, dribblers, etc.  So Bobby Richardson's World Series records are more suspect than Murphy's current hot streak.  Except, Richardson did it twice and Richardson couldn't hit.  More on that later.

Streaks Like Daniel Murphy’s Aren’t Necessarily Random OCT. 27, 2015  The New York Times
by Binyamin Appelbaum

... the Mets’ Daniel Murphy ... is locked in, on a hot streak, en fuego...

... social scientists ... for more than a generation have dismissed all of this as a grand illusion. A body of research dating to the mid-1980s purports to show that professional athletes do not get hot...

But now there is new evidence that our eyes are right and the experts are wrong.


OK, enough on that.  Read it for yourself before the experts change their minds again.  Most of us here on planet Earth think that Murphy is hot and if he doesn't continue to hit well we can use the five day layoff waiting for tonight's game as an excuse.  Plus, there's always:

"God does not play dice with the universe" Monday, October 19, 2015

Einstein did not live long enough to see the Mets.

Photo of Bobby Richardson
Bobby Richardson was the starting second baseman for the New York Yankees from 1959 through 1966, including the five consecutive pennant winners: 1960-1964.  Richardson had his best season in 1962, right in the middle of the five pennants.  Unlike the 30 year old Murphy, Richardson was 26 years old.  Richardson finished second to teammate Mickey Mantle in the 1962 American League Most Valuable Player voting:

1Mickey MantleNYY234.013.084%5.91233779612130899122.321.486.6051.091
2Bobby RichardsonNYY152.05.054%3.2161692992098591137.302.337.406.743
3Harmon KillebrewMIN99.01.035%2.815555285134481261106.243.366.545.912
4Leon WagnerLAA85.00.030%2.11606129616437107750.268.326.500.826
Richardson had OPS+ 101; the next highest of his career: 99 in 1959.  In 1962 Richardson led the AL in plate appearances, at bats, hits and sacrifices.
BA .302
OBP .337
SLG .406
OPS .743

Not very impressive. As stated above Bobby Richardson could not hit.  Yet in the first and last of those five consecutive World Series Richardson set hitting records that still stand for Hits and RBI.

1.Marty Barrett13351986 WS
Bobby Richardson13331964 WS
Lou Brock13311968 WS

1.Bobby Richardson12311960 WS
2.Mickey Mantle11331960 WS
3.Sandy Alomar10321997 WS
Yogi Berra10291956 WS
Mike Napoli10282011 WS
Ted Kluszewski10251959 WS
In the 1960 World Series Richardson had already reached 12 RBI before Mantle reached 11, so Mantle never had the record.

The rejoinder I hear when I mention Richardson being clutch is that he didn't do it in all five World Series.  Come on.