Monday, August 6, 2012
The series in Metrics (Mets at Padres)
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Stat of the Series
On Saturday, Mike Baxter tied an NL record and became the first Met to draw five walks in a nine-inning game, and the second to draw five walks in any game. (Vince Coleman did so against the Pirates in 1992.)
Baxter is the first player to draw five walks in a nine-inning game since a Yankee -- Mark Teixeira against the Red Sox in 2009 -- and the first to draw five unintentional walks in a nine-inning game since Ivan Rodriguez against the Mets for the 2003 Marlins.
Baxter, a native of Whitestone, N.Y., drew five walks in a game in his 75th career game. Via Baseball-Reference.com, we can glean that only three other players have had five walks in a nine-inning game that early in their careers. The last was Brooklyn, N.Y., native Jim Norris for the 1977 Indians (73rd game).
The Mets have issued five walks in a nine-inning game three times -- to Elrod Hendricks (1972 Cubs), Dale Murphy (1983 Braves) and Ivan Rodriguez (2003 Marlins).
What’s also unusual about Baxter drawing five walks is that he’s not someone who is a major offensive force at this stage of his career.
Unless he goes on to become a particularly good player, he’ll be the first player who had a five-walks-in-nine-innings game to finish his career with fewer than 200 home runs since Brett Butler (who drew five walks in a game for the 1990 Giants).
Murphy's record chase
Also on Saturday, second baseman Daniel Murphy had his fifth game this season with at least four hits.
That’s tied for the second-most in a season in Mets history with Tommie Agee (1970), Frank Taveras (1980), and Jose Reyes (2005 and 2006).
The club record is seven, set by Keith Hernandez in 1985.
In Friday’s loss, R.A. Dickey recorded his seventh game of the season with at least nine strikeouts, a total that matches Stephen Strasburg for most in the National League.
Prior to this game, a nine-strikeout effort from Dickey was an automatic win -- but not in this game, in which he allowed three runs, two earned.
In fact, Dickey allowed more runs in this game (three) than in the other six games in which he struck out at least nine batters (two runs).
Matt Harvey got away from what had been working best for him in his outing against the Padres on Sunday.
In his first two starts, Harvey’s best location was working in the upper-third of the strike zone and above with his fastball, particularly against left-handed hitters. It netted him 12 outs and seven strikeouts in those first two games, neutralizing the edge that a lefty would have against a right-handed pitcher.
Based on Harvey’s first two starts, you would have expected 34 of Harvey’s 67 pitches to be in that upper-third-and-above area to lefties, but instead he only threw 19 there.
His other 48 pitches got rapped pretty hard, with the 31 in the lower-third of the strike zone or below yielding three hits, including the home run to Chase Headley.
Harvey had only allowed one baserunner on his previous 51 pitches that were lower-third or below in his first two starts.