The series in Metrics (Mets at Nationals)

A most improbable victory

The Mets won Saturday’s game in one of the most unusual manners possible. They whiffed 15 times and managed just three hits.

15+ K, 3 Or Fewer Hits
Won Game (since 1920)

The Mets are now 2-2 all-time when they manage that combination. The other win came in a game against the Reds in 1965, in which they were no-hit for 10 innings by Jim Maloney (who struck out 18), but scored in the 11th on a Johnny Lewiss homer to win 1-0.

One of the losses actually came earlier this season, also against the Nationals. That makes the Mets the second team since 1920 to win such a game and lose such a game in the same season. That was also done by the 1986 Mariners, whose loss came in the game in which Roger Clemens struck out 20.

Here’s the capper to all of this. The Mets 2-2 record when whiffing at least 15 times and managing three or fewer hits looks a lot better when you look at how other teams have fared in such games.

Those other franchises: a combined 3-88 since 1920.

How Niese Won

My Stats & Information colleague, Lee Singer offers this recap of how Jonathon Niese looked so good in his win on Saturday.

Seventeen of the 22 outs Niese recorded came on his cutter (10) and curveball (7), tied for his most outs on those pitches in a game in his career.

Niese had three strikeouts on his cutter and three on his curveball, the first start of his career he had at least three with each.

Niese threw 39 percent cutters, his highest percentage in his last nine starts. Nationals hitters were 1-for-11 in at-bats ending with Niese's cutter.

Niese threw 18 of his 21 curveballs for strikes, a season-high 86 percent. He threw 12 in the zone for strikes, got the Nationals to chase another five and got a called strike on one that Pitch F/X deemed to be out of the strike zone.

Niese missed bats to get to two strikes and then kept the Nationals' bats on their shoulders to put them away. He tied a season high with nine swings and misses before two strikes and tied a career high with five called strikeouts.

Johan's not so grand start

The grand slam allowed by Johan Santana to Mike Morse was the fifth grand slam Santana has allowed with the Mets, setting a club record. He previously shared the mark with Al Leiter, Armando Benitez, Tug McGraw and Ron Taylor.

Bryce Guys Finish First
Harper vs Mets in 2012

The Mets have now allowed 30 grand slams in the last five seasons, tied with the Cubs for most in the majors. The Nationals have the most against them with five.

Santana is the first pitcher to allow six earned runs or more in five straight appearances since Mike Hampton in 2001-2002 and the first to do so in a single-season since Willie Blair in 1999.

Santana has allowed at least six earned runs six times this season. The only pitchers to have more such games in a season in Mets history are Al Jackson (1962, 7) and Tom Glavine (2007, 7)

Santana currently has a 4.85 ERA. The highest single-season ERA by a Mets pitcher who threw multiple shutouts that season (remember: Santana’s no-hitter was his second straight shutout) is 4.40 by Jackson in 1962.

Tejada a road warrior

Ruben Tejada had his 16-game road hitting streak snapped on Saturday.

Only three Mets whose primary position was middle infield have had longer road hitting streaks than that – Jose Reyes (24 games in 2010, 17 in 2008), Jose Vizcaino (21 games spanning 1995 and 1996), and Ken Boswell (17 games in 1971). Edgardo Alfonzo had a 17-gamer as well, split between third base in 1998 and second base in 1999. Rey Ordonez matched Tejada's streak in 1999.