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Saturday, June 12, 2010
Road worriers

By Mark Simon

Can a team make the postseason playing for a full season as badly as the Mets did through their first 27 games on the road?

Short answer: Not if they keep playing that way.

Long answer: No way.

The details:

Since the first postseason that featured eight teams (1995), those who made the playoffs combined for a .545 road winning percentage in the regular season. That translates over a full season to a 44-37 record. The Mets' road mark currently stands at 9-18, a long way from 44-37.

A 9-18 mark translates to 27-54 over a full year. That's a .333 winning percentage. Yikes. No playoff team in the last 15 years has been even close to that.

Of the 120 playoff teams in this wild-card era, 28 (slightly fewer than one-fourth) finished with a losing road record. The worst of those, the 2006 Cardinals, went 34-47, but managed to beat the Mets on the road in Game 7 of the NLCS.

They're one of three teams to win the World Series with a losing road record in the last 15 years. The other two are the 1997 Marlins and the 2003 Marlins.

Of the Mets' playoff teams, the 2000 squad made the World Series despite a 39-42 road mark (winning 55 games at home helped), the worst road record of any playoff team in Mets history. So that would seem to serve as a target mark for this squad to emulate.

But at the moment they're not close. A 27-54 mark wouldn't bode well for postseason hopes. It barely bodes well for a winning record

In the non-strike shortened seasons since the advent of the 162-game schedule in 1962, no team has finished the season with a road winning percentage of what the Mets currently have (.333) or worse, and reached .500.

The closest thing to hope that the Mets would have is what the 1996 Rockies did. They went 28-53 on the road and finished 83-79. That's the worst road record to finish over .500 overall, within the time period we checked. And they had to go 55-26 at home just to get there.

Translation: Friday was a good starting point. It would behoove the Mets to take advantage of their next five road games, against the Orioles and Indians, in a big way.

• • •
Jose Reyes is on the clock. Reyes cleared 3,900 plate appearances (he and David Wright will be the ninth and 10th Mets to 4,000 shortly) in Thursday's doubleheader. Yet he has fewer walk-off home runs than newcomer Ike Davis. Reyes is still looking for his first.

Only two Mets had more plate appearances for the team and finished without a walk-off home run- Bud Harrelson (5,083) and Edgardo Alfonzo (4,449). Alfonzo had 120 home runs for the Mets, most by anyone without a walk-off shot.

Reyes technically does have one "meaningful" walk-off home run. He hit one in an exhibition game between teams of All-Stars from the United States and Japan in Japan in November 2006.

• • •


Three leftover notes on the Padres that we found particularly interesting.

1. The Padres pitched a combined two-hitter against the Mets in Game 1 on Thursday. The last time they allowed two or fewer hits against the Mets in New York was July 7, 1993.

Andy Benes and Gene Harris combined on a one-hitter. Archi Cianfrocco's two-run home run in the eighth gave the Padres a 2-0 win, sending Anthony Young to his 26th consecutive defeat.

Blogger's note of humor: Somewhere a tape exists of this blogger, sitting in the upper deck of Shea Stadium "broadcasting" this game. "Anthony Young is running out of chances!" he wailed, when Cianfrocco's ball cleared the fence.

2. A listener on the "Baseball Today" podcast made an inquiry regarding the Padres 'bevy of second-generation major leaguers. They current have five (Jerry Hairston, Scott Hairston, Tony Gwynn Jr., Max Venable, and Ryan Webb).

Mets maven Bob Waterman of the Elias Sports Bureau checked and came up with this response: Before this year's Padres, the last MLB team to have five or more players who were sons of former big-leaguers was the 2000 Indians, who had seven. Their group included Roberto Alomar, Sandy Alomar Jr., Chris Haney, Jamie Navarro, David Segui, Justin Speier and Jaret Wright.

3. ESPN Stats and Info's Ryan McCrystal reminded us of this nugget: Padres relievers Luke Gregorson and Mike Adams have an amazing thing going in late-inning relief.

Gregorson leads the majors with 20 appearances of at least one inning without allowing a baserunner, including his showing in Game 1 of the doubleheader (including 11 holds of that nature). Adams ranks second with 18 (10 holds). No one else in baseball entered Friday with more than 13. Francisco Rodriguez is the Mets' leader with 10, but no Mets reliever has more than one hold of that nature.

That brings us to our debut of ...

Twitter Trivia. We posted this question on Twitter on Thursday: Which pitcher holds the Mets' single-season record for games with at least one inning pitched without allowing a baserunner?

The answer, thanks to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index: Former closer Armando Benitez, who always seemed to make Mets fans nervous, had 25 of what we'd call "jitter-free" outings for Bobby Valentine's team in 2000. Aaron Heilman holds the club record for most holds of that nature, with 11 in 2006.

Lastly, if you're looking for more one-hitter nuggets to go with the ones we came up with yesterday, check out fellow blog, No No-Hitters, which we thank for providing a link to us.

We'll offer up two more: It marked the third time in Mets history that they pitched a game of nine innings or more, allowing one total baserunner. Besides Jonathon Niese's on Thursday night and Tom Seaver's in 1969, there was a combined effort in 2003 against the Marlins by Jae Seo, David Weathers and Benitez.

It was also the first game in Mets history in which the Mets either hit into or turned a triple play, AND their pitcher pitched a complete game.

Mark Simon is a researcher for Baseball Tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @msimonespn or e-mail him at webgemscoreboard@gmail.com.