Tuesday, July 26, 2011
W2W4: Mets at Reds (Tuesday)
By Mark Simon
Jonathon Niese Stat To Watch
The Niese-Joey Votto matchup could be an interesting one. Niese has had an odd month in terms of his performance against left-handed hitters. Lefties are 11-for-29 in July against Niese (.379 BA) after hitting .206 against him in the first three months of the season.
The primary damage has been done against both his cutter (five hits) and his curveball (five hits). Niese entered the month having only given up three hits on his curveball to lefties all season. But he yielded two apiece to the Giants and most recently the Cardinals (Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay) in the last two-and-a-half weeks.
Johnny Cueto Stat To Watch
Cueto has allowed three runs in six of his 14 starts this season, but has not allowed more than that in any contest.
Cueto hasn’t fared well against the Mets, allowing 19 runs in 21 career innings against them, but has done alright against Jose Reyes. He’s retired Reyes eight straight times, three by strikeout, since allowing a hit to him in his last meeting.
Cueto Timing May be Just Wright
After getting opposite-field hits on a pair of fastballs in his season debut against the Marlins, five of David Wright’s next six hits have come against changeups (three) or sliders (two).
Cueto throws both, with the slider being his primary strikeout pitch for much of the season. However, after striking out nine hitters with it in his final two starts of June, Cueto has only fanned two via the slider in July.
His putaway rate with the pitch this month is just six percent, meaning only six percent of his two-strike sliders have resulted in a strikeout. It was 23 percent in May and June.
Wright has seen five two-strike sliders since returning but has not yet struck out against one.
Carlos Beltran may be due
Beltran hit five home runs in his first 61 career at-bats at Great American Ball Park. He’s homerless in his last 36 at-bats there, his last coming on Sept. 4, 2007 against Matt Belisle.
Potential test for Isringhausen
Should the Mets need Jason Isringhausen to close, it would be only the second time in the last six weeks that he’ll have pitched on back-to-back days. Isringhausen seems to have found a second wind. He’s struck out at least one batter in each of his last five appearances, totaling nine in six innings, after going five straight appearances without recording a strikeout.