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Monday, May 13, 2013
The series in Metrics (Mets vs. Pirates)

By Mark Simon

This was another rough one, as the Mets lost three straight at home to the Pirates in the same season for the first time since 2004. Here's a look at some of the more notable stats to come from the weekend:

Baxter … again
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter became the first Mets player to get two walk-off hits in a three-day span since Mike Cameron did so against the Tigers in 2004. Others to do so were Jerry Buchek in 1967 and John Milner in 1973.

Both of Baxter’s walk-off RBIs were as a pinch-hitter. He’s one of a dozen different Mets pinch-hitters to have exactly a pair of walk-off RBIs. Three players had more -- Rusty Staub (5), Tim Teufel (3) and Chris Jones (3).

Baxter is now 16-for-33 with eight doubles and nine walks as a pinch-hitter in the last two seasons for the Mets. And remember he started that run 0-for-his-first-5 last year.

One oddity: The Mets have beaten the Pirates by walk-off pinch-hit RBI nine times—the most they’ve beaten any team in that fashion.

Niese initiated into Mets legend status ... sort of
Jonathon Niese became the first Mets pitcher to allow eight runs in a home appearance against the Pirates since Dwight Gooden gave up nine in a 1994 loss.

Niese is one of six Mets pitchers to allow eight runs or more at home against the Pirates. Two of the others on the list are Nolan Ryan (1968) and Tom Seaver (1974).

Niese also became one of 11 Mets pitchers to allow at least seven runs in an outing of less than five innings in consecutive appearances, the first to do so since Livan Hernandez in 2009. No Mets pitcher has ever had a run of three straight such appearances.

Niese’s mound counterpart, Francisco Liriano, finished with nine strikeouts and only one run allowed, the first Pirates pitcher to have that many whiffs and that few runs against the Mets since Jason Schmidt in 1997.

Niese's biggest issue is that his rate of getting hitters to a)chase pitches out of the strike zone and b)miss on their swings is sinking. His chase rate of seven percent (two chases on 28 pitches) matched his worst among the 100 appearances in the last five seasons for which we have data and was well below his 30 percent norm.

Niese coaxed only one missed swing, matching his career low. He typically averages eight per game, inducing them at a rate of about once for every five swings.

Harvey watch
The Mets shared a cool note: Harvey allowed five hits, giving him 69 allowed through 18 starts. That shattered the Mets record for fewest hits in the first 18 starts for a pitcher's career. The mark was not held by the likes of Tom Seaver or Dwight Gooden, but by John Pacella, who is best known for being the pitcher whose follow-through resulted in his cap flying off his head.

The funny thing is that Pacella comes up in another search involving Harvey.

Harvey's four straight no-decisions are two shy of the "record" for no-decisions by a Mets starter. The mark of six is shared by Pacella (1979-1980) and Rick Reed (2000).