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2024 Season | Series #16 | Mets @ Guardians | May 20-22, 2024

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Wham with the Right Hand

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On a roll having won six of seven the Guardians stay home for a three-game series against the New York Mets. This will be a matchup between the highest payroll in the majors at $305 million against the 3rd lowest at $93 million. I don't think I have to inform you of which team is which.

The Mets are 21-25 overall and 11-11 on the road. However, they have played the fifth toughest schedule in the majors so they may be better than their record suggests.

In their last three series the Mets were 1-3 against the Phillies, 1-2 against the Braves, and 1-2 against Miami.

The Mets hit better on the road, like incredibly better. They are baseball's highest scoring road team at 5.45 runs per game. At home they are 3rd lowest at 3.29. It’s pretty remarkable. Maybe it’s all that pressure playing in the Big Apple with the expectations that come from having baseball’s highest payroll.

The Mets don’t have a lot of power, ranking 19th in home run percentage, 23rd in slugging percentage and ISO, and 26th in extra base hit percentage.

They are about average in OBP, batting average, and walk percentage. They don’t strike out much (7th lowest K percentage). It seems they go more for contact than power.

They excel at stealing bases as they have the 5th highest success rate at 85%. However, they don't run a lot as they have 33 swipes in 46 games. But when they do run they are 33 for 39.

Their team ERA ranks 15th despite the fact that they allow a lot of base runners (24th in WHIP). The Mets excel in preventing big hits as they rank 2nd best in opponents’ home run percentage and 4th best in extra base hit percentage. However, they rank last in walk percentage so it appears they would rather walk you than give you something you can drive.

The Guardians need to be aware of this and take walks when offered. From the numbers it seems the Mets simply will not give in and throw something middle-middle when down in the count. They would rather lead the majors in walk percentage and avoid the home runs and extra base hits. The Guardians can’t get too aggressive when ahead in the count and anticipate a pitch they can hit. Plate discipline will be huge this series.

The problem with giving up a lot of walks is that the Mets also rank last in preventing stolen bases. Opponents have been successful on 93.5% of their steal attempts, which is by far the worst in the majors. Opposing base stealers have been successful on a staggering 58 of 62 attempts. I'm looking for the Guardians to have a track meet in this series.

My advice to the Guardians is forget the long ball for now. Take your walk and then swipe second. Don’t chase bad pitches against a team that would rather walk you than give you something to barrel.

The Mets have other problems. Fangraphs ranks them 21st defensively (Guards are 11th). In UZR the Mets are 23rd, the Guardians 3rd. In Defensive Runs Saved above average the Mets are 29th, the Guardians 5th. The Guardians have +19 DRS while the Mets are -27. That’s a difference of 46 runs or about one per game just on defense alone.

In terms of speed, the Guardians are 6th, the Mets 25th. In the ultimate base running rankings, the Guardians are 12th, the Mets 24th. So it appears the Guardians are faster, cover more ground on defense, and are just much better defensively.

One issue the Guardians are having is they rank 26th in stolen base percentage. This could be a good series to up their success rate from its current 72% as only four teams get caught more.

Both teams have excellent bullpens. The Mets are 4th in bullpen WAR and 6th in ERA and FIP. The Guardians are first in WAR and FIP and second in ERA.

JD Martinez leads the Mets with a line of .315/.825 but he only has 2 HR’s and 9 RBI’s in 21 games. Martinez is 36 and just started playing on April 26 after signing on March 21. He is day-to-day with flu symptoms and missed Sunday's game. I assume the Mets will be looking to trade him once they’re out of it. He would look pretty good DH’ing for us in the second half.

Pete Alonso leads the Mets with 10 home runs but is hitting just .229/.758. Brandon Nimmo leads with 29 RBI’s and is hitting .217/.777. Other than Martinez, Alonso, and Nimmo nobody on the team has an OPS over .700. Frankie Lindor has a line of .197/.628. I'm glad we're not paying him. We've already got plenty of guys who can hit .197 at a fraction of the cost.

Ben Lively will start the opener against 28-year-old right-hander Tylor “The Gorilla” Megill. Just kidding about the nickname. Tylor is in his 8th big league season with a career mark of 17-17, 4.68 ERA. So far this year he pitched 4 innings on March 31 and went on IR. This will be his first appearance since then. Last year he was 9-8, 4.70, so he seems to be your basic journeyman starter.

Megill’s actual nickname is “Big Drip”.

Megill is having a "blast" in the early part of the season - and he also has a new nickname given to him by his teammates: Big Drip.

While his 6"7, 230 pound frame explains the first half of his new alias, the clubhouse has recognized Megill for having style and carrying himself with confidence as well.

“He’s always swagged out," J.D. Davis told Inside the Mets last week of the origin of Megill's nickname. "He always has some nice stuff on and is walking around with confidence. When he came last year (Carlos) Carrasco got him a backpack so then we just called him ‘Big Drip.’”


Am I the only one who doesn’t get it?

Anyway, Lively will be making his 7th start. So far his ERA is an outstanding 3.06. However, he allowed 3 runs in 5.0 and 5.1 innings his last two starts so he wasn’t quite as sharp as he was earlier.

Tuesday it will be Carrasco facing his old mates. Adrian Houser, 0-3, 7.44 goes for the Mets. His road ERA is 11.45.

In the finale McKenzie goes against 35-year-old lefty Jose Quintana, the former Chicago White Sock who's been in the NL since 2017. He’s 1-4 with a 5.21 ERA.
 
Thanks, WHAM.

One of the reasons for the severe home/away splits for the Mets is that Citi Field is one of the very worst for offense.

With 100 as average for offensive producation...higher favoring offense, lower favoring pitching...Citi is rated 82 for both.

In comparison, Progressive is rated 106 for batting, 104 for pitching.

Citi has usually been a horrendous place for hitters.
 
I do believe this has the potential to be a "trap series" as Austin Hedges likes to call them. The Mets are probably better team than their record and to beat them, we will have to play well.
 
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Thanks, WHAM.

One of the reasons for the severe home/away splits for the Mets is that Citi Field is one of the very worst for offense.

With 100 as average for offensive producation...higher favoring offense, lower favoring pitching...Citi is rated 82 for both.

In comparison, Progressive is rated 106 for batting, 104 for pitching.

Citi has usually been a horrendous place for hitters.
Baseball Savant gives Citi a 96 for the last three years and the Prog gets a 97.


For just 2024 Citi gets an 87, but that's just for 24 games. As the weather warms up it will probably get closer to the 96 for the last three years.

Progressive Field has a 106 this year for 21 games. That's pretty startling considering it was 97 for the 243 games in 2021-23 including the warm weather months. I don't know what to make of that. Cold weather venues should be lower in the spring like Citi is this year and then increase during the summer.
 
According to SwishAnalytics, tonight's starter Tylor "Big Drip" Megill has allowed 15 stolen bases over the last two years with one runner thrown out. He's 6'7" so I assume it takes him a while to get the pitch away once he starts his delivery.

Our guy, Ben Lively, has allowed 11 of 12 runners to steal successfully.

Could be a track meet tonight.
 
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I just absolutely adore the new schedule system they started last season where you play every team in the majors for at least one series.
At first we thought it would be bad for the Guardians because they reduced the number of games against AL Central opponents from 19 to 13 and added games against very strong teams like the Dodgers and Braves.

But now the Central is getting good so I don't think it's really a factor. The timing was pretty good for us.
 
I just absolutely adore the new schedule system they started last season where you play every team in the majors for at least one series.

Now we just need to eliminate the pitch clock, let pitchers start hitting again, remove the shift ban, and we're almost back to making baseball great again!
 
Looking at the difference between actual and expected batting averages for all qualified hitters, the two biggest negative differentials play for the Mets.

Brandon Nimmo; actual BA .216, expected BA .297. Difference of -.081.

Francisco Lindor; actual .190, expected .265, difference -.075.

These guys are hitting way better than their averages. Hopefully their luck won't start evening out this week. I do expect Lindor to go deep this series.

David Fry leads the majors in slugging percentage over expected. His actual slug% is .545 versus an expected number of .401.
 
Now we just need to eliminate the pitch clock, let pitchers start hitting again, remove the shift ban, and we're almost back to making baseball great again!
I like the pitch clock (keeps the game moving), I like the shift ban (more offense), and the last thing I want to see is pitchers hitting.

What I want is automatic pitch calling. The umps are really inconsistent.

The replay has improved the game immensely. It's amazing how many blown calls there are on the bases. The other day Rocchio was trying to beat out a ground ball and the first baseman jumped to catch the throw. Rocchio clearly hit the bag while the first baseman was still in the air and it wasn't close but the umpire called him out. The call was overturned in five seconds. I don't even think the first baseman came down on the bag.

Gimenez was called out trying to get back to second on the passed ball in the 9th yesterday. The replay clearly showed he was safe. That would have ended the inning if the call stood. The next batter hit the game winning home run.

I'm all for taking the umpires out of the games as much as possible. Between the replay and automatic pitch tracking it's possible to do it almost entirely. In the Olympics they use high speed cameras to determine which runner hits the finish line first rather than rely on the eyesight of some 60-year-old guy. Baseballs are moving at speeds up to 100 mph. Let's use the cameras to call the balls and strikes instead of leaving it in the hands of very fallable human beings.

There's already a controvesy over one umpire who is incredibly bad but they can't get rid of him because of the union.
 

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