Thursday, May 10, 2012
The week in METrics (May 3-9)
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
AP Photo/Matt SlocumThe Mets went an improbable 5-1 in the past week and won series from two teams that made the 2011 postseason. Let's review their accomplishments, with help from Baseball-Reference.com here.
Jordany Valdespin was an unlikely hero in a week of unlikely wins.
Stat of the Week
Elias reports that the Mets' sweep of the Phillies was the third time in team history that the Mets won a road series of at least three games despite trailing in each of those games. The others were in July 1986 in Cincinnati and in August-September 1987 in San Diego.
The Mets won two of three games from the Diamondbacks last weekend, bouncing back from a series-opening loss to take the last two games.
By doing so, the Mets won their third homestand of the season, albeit this one a three-gamer. They won only three homestands over the entire 2011 season.
With his win Saturday, Johan Santana improved to 3-0 for his career against the Diamondbacks. He’s halfway to the most consecutive wins to start a career against the Diamondbacks. Roy Oswalt and Tim Hudson each started 6-0 in their careers against Arizona.
Santana yielded only two ground balls in the game, matching the fewest he’d allowed in any start as a Met. The only other Mets start in which he allowed only two grounders was Opening Day in 2009, when he gave up only two in a 2-1 win over the Reds.
In addition to getting the win Sunday, R.A. Dickey survived another game without striking out as a hitter. Dickey has not struck out in his first six starts in 2012.
Dickey and Dwight Gooden are the only pitchers in Mets history to have their first six appearances of the season, all as a starting pitcher, all be strikeout-free. Gooden did so in both the 1984 and 1987 seasons.
In the series finale, the Mets won in a tidy 2:16. It was the second-shortest game in the history of the Mets-Diamondbacks rivalry, surpassed only by a 5-0 Mets win June 10, 2006 (2:14).
The Mets ended this series not having homered in six straight games, far from the club record of 17 straight games without a homer.
Let’s go for a 'Spin
Elias reports that Jordany Valdespin is the first player whose first career hit was a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later since Miguel Cabrera of the Marlins on June 20, 2003 (versus Tampa Bay).
That earned our Mets Moment of the Week status and gave us a chance to look back at other Mets pinch-hit homer notes.
It marked the 27th time the Mets got a go-ahead pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning or later. The Mets didn’t have any from 2006 to 2010, but now have them in consecutive seasons. Scott Hairston hit one last July 8 against Giants closer Brian Wilson.
It was the first go-ahead pinch-hit home run to drive in at least three runs in the ninth inning or later since Benny Agbayani’s pinch-hit grand slam in the second game of the 2000 season in Japan, the first to drive in exactly three since a walk-off home run by Jim Tatum against the Astros in 1998.
Valdespin hit the home run against a split-fingered fastball. Only two other Mets in the past four seasons have golfed a splitter located knee-high or below for a home run. The other two were Gary Sheffield in 2009 and Daniel Murphy last season.
Lastly, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has now given up five go-ahead home runs in the ninth inning or later against New York teams. Two have been to Mets (Omir Santos in 2009 and Valdespin). Three were against the other New York team (whose players we won’t mention here).
The Mets rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Phillies 7-4 on Tuesday. The 10th comeback win of the season marked the first time in team history that the Mets won 10 of their first 30 games in come-from-behind fashion.
The last time the Mets trailed AND were being shut out by four or more runs in Philadelphia and came back to win was May 15, 1999, when they rallied from a 6-0 deficit to win in Philadelphia 9-7. The Mets won that day despite Mike Piazza hitting into a triple play.
The Mets completed the sweep with a 10-6 win in Philadelphia in the series finale Wednesday. It gave them their first sweep of a series of three or more games in Philadelphia since 2006.
The Mets won all three games by at least three runs, the first time they’ve won three straight games in the same series in Philadelphia, all by three runs or more.
Be like Ike
Ike Davis shook out of a slump with a three-run home run against Jose Contreras. The homer came against a pitch that was middle of the plate, knee-high.
That’s the one spot he’s done well this season. Davis is 7-for-15 this season in at-bats that ended with a pitch located knee-high in the middle of the plate. He has a combined nine hits in all other areas of the strike zone.
The chart on the right shows Davis’ performance by strike-zone location this season.
On Tuesday, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game. There was a Mets connection to this one. The last home run came against former Mets reliever Darren O’Day.
Prior to Hamilton, the last three players with a four-homer game all went on to play for the Mets -- Mike Cameron, Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado. Two other “eventual Mets” also had a four-homer game -- Gil Hodges and Willie Mays.
There is a Mets pitching connection to each of the past four four-homer games.
Jon Rauch, then with the White Sox, allowed Cameron’s first home run while pitching for the 2002 White Sox. Green’s first of four home runs came against Glendon Rusch, who was a member of the 2002 Brewers. Future Met Jorge Sosa allowed the first two of Delgado’s home runs while pitching for the 2003 Rays.
The Mets have never had a four-homer game. They’ve had eight three-homer games. Six Mets -- Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman, Claudell Washington, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter and Edgardo Alfonzo -- hit three homers in a game and had at least one other plate appearance with a chance at a fourth, but failed to hit it.
Vintage Metsiemetric of the Week
The Mets won the last two games of the Diamondbacks series without recording an extra-base hit. They hadn’t won back-to-back games without recording an extra-base hit since May 1995.
The Mets have registered back-to-back wins without recording an extra-base hit eight times.
Our weekly time-machine trip takes us to the first instance -- June 10 and 11, 1968, when they beat the Dodgers, 1-0 and 3-0 in Los Angeles. The Mets combined for 16 singles in those two games, winning on the strength of shutouts from Tom Seaver and Dick Selma.