Sep 14

Jonathon Niese: About Last Night (September 13)

All of three weeks ago, I began to look over the schedule and wondered when we’d see a little clarity in the standings. The Nationals were about to begin a stretch where they played 16 of 19 games at home (where they were a combined 129-87 over the last three seasons and 31-23 entering that stretch of 16 of 19). At roughly the same time, the Mets would start an extended stay on the road where they would play 19 of 25 games on the road, including a nine game trip and a 10-game trip, which concluded yesterday in Atlanta. If we were going to know anything about the East, it was going to be today.

When the Mets started their initial road trip with a quick road trip to Baltimore, they were up 4 ½ games. Today, they’re up 9 ½. I’d be lying if I said I figured it was going to be this way. Before the series in Washington, I’d have been happy with taking one of those games and leaving D.C. with a three game lead. Winning all three, all three winning in such unique and exhilarating fashion, made this season seem more than satisfying. After all the bad that had happened earlier in the season, after all the injuries and the sloppy defense and the poor hitting, and my God after that San Diego rain delay debacle, the Mets wrote the perfect movie script for D.C.: Three Nights of the Comeback.

The Nats actually did well in those 16 home games. Before the Mets series, they were coming off a four-game sweep of the Braves at home and were 10-3. By your math skills, you know they finished 10-6.

The Mets, however, somehow pulled off an unreal run of road games where they’ve gone 16-3. What? At the end of July, the Mets were 17-32 on the road. Think about that for a moment. They were so bad on the road they were winning one in every three games, and didn’t those 17 games feel like gifts? Amazing Steven Matz debuts notwithstanding, every one of those road games ended up being won through extraordinary pitching and eking out 2-1/3-1 victories that turned Mets starters into folk heroes.

I bring this up not as an end of year summary. Despite what others are writing I’m far too cautious to call anything over. Superstitious? I was in NYC for an extended bachelor party weekend as the Mets 2007 collapse continued with games against the Marlins. Both my marriage and the memory of 2007 endure. I won’t call anything over until that magic number flashed a big fat zero.

No. I bring this up because the Mets won yesterday 10-7. They had absolutely no reason to win that game. They should have lost. They should have lost badly, and they likely would have shrugged their collective shoulders, as we would have as well, and called yesterday just one of those days.

7-3 on that 10-game road trip was great, right? We swept the Nats!

Not these Mets. This team somehow won, again, producing a comeback out of thin air as Juan Lagares doubled off of a diving Cameron Maybin’s glove with two outs (and two strikes no less) in the ninth. Curtis Granderson then walks. Daniel Murphy then hits a three-run homer to tie the game because . . . of course he did.

In the tenth, the Mets score the go-ahead run because of a throwing error with two outs. They then add two more with bases loaded walks to Granderson and Murphy because nothing sums up this road trip like bases loaded walks. If you wrote this script, it would never make it out of the slush pile.

Jon Niese actually pitched yesterday. I know this because I witnessed this with my eyes and his name is in the box score. I can’t really remember too much about what he did, though, because I’m still processing everything else. He didn’t allow a five-run inning. That’s progress. I thought he pitched pretty well considering his defense basically said the heck with it and rested on the bench alongside Yoenis Cespedes and David Wright. Tell me, though, in the bottom of third you didn’t think, just for a moment, that Christian Bethancourt’s deep fly ball to Michael Conforto wasn’t going out. That would have made the score 5-2 Braves and the fourth straight game where Niese had allowed five runs in an inning.

Fielding blunders. Bloop singles. Goofy swinging bunts that handcuff your first baseman on the throw. Niese was in damage control mode from the first inning on yesterday, and if it wasn’t his finest outing of the season, he pitched better than the final numbers indicate. There was a little luck too. If Freddie Freeman connects on a fastball that Niese left up in the third, rather than striking out, that five run inning probably happens.

Bobby Parnell (2-3) pitched 1 1/3 innings yesterday, earning the win. The last time we saw Parnell he was part of that Philadelphia game where Niese sort of imploded and Terry Collins basically took the night off from rational thought. So, yeah, it’s only fitting that in a game of improbable comebacks that Parnell earned the win. This season stopped being about sense and turned into narrative a while back.

On the day, Niese threw six innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out three.

Below I’ve listed the particulars for yesterday’s game.

Pitches by Type:

##  Pitch Type Count    %
##    Changeup     3 3.09
##   Curveball     4 4.12
##      Cutter    13 13.4
##    Fourseam    32  33.
##    Two-seam    45 46.4

Pitch Type by Inning

##            1 2  3 4 5  6
## Changeup   0 0  1 0 1  1
## Curveball  0 0  1 0 2  1
## Cutter     2 3  3 1 1  3
## Fourseam  10 3  3 7 3  6
## Two-seam   8 3 14 3 5 12

Pitches by Outcome:

##                           Changeup Curveball Cutter Fourseam Two-seam
## Ball                             2         2      3        6       16
## Called Strike                    0         0      1        4       12
## Foul                             0         0      5        8        5
## Foul (Runner Going)              0         0      0        1        0
## Foul Bunt                        0         0      0        1        1
## In play, no out                  0         0      0        3        4
## In play, out(s)                  1         0      3        3        7
## In play, run(s)                  0         0      1        2        0
## Swinging Strike                  0         0      0        4        0
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)        0         2      0        0        0

Events by Final Pitch of At-Bat

##             Changeup Curveball Cutter Fourseam Two-seam
## Field Error        0         0      0        0        1
## Flyout             1         0      1        1        1
## Forceout           0         0      0        1        1
## Groundout          0         0      1        1        4
## Lineout            0         0      1        0        1
## Sac Fly            0         0      0        1        0
## Single             0         0      1        4        3
## Strikeout          0         2      0        1        0
## Walk               0         0      0        1        0

Pitches by Zone Location

##  Zone % Out of Zone % O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##   52.58         47.42     27.41     60.86

Note: Zone % is the number of pitches thrown that were considered in the strike zone; Out of Zone is the number of pitches thrown out of the strike zone; and O-Swing % and Z-Swing % relate to those pitches out of the zone and in the zone that were swung at by batters.

Calculations: I calculated the strike zone based upon the formula provided by Mike Fast in a post for Baseball Prospectus. O-Swing % = Swings at Pitches Out of the Zone / Total Pitches Out of the Zone, and Z-Swing % = Swings at Pitches In the Zone / Total Pitches In the Zone. Fangraphs has a great explanation regarding plate discipline, and I encourage you to read about it if you get a chance. After enjoying my site first, of course.


Pitch Types by Zone Location

##  Pitch Type In Zone Out of Zone O-Swing % Z-Swing %
##    Changeup       0           3     0.333       NaN
##   Curveball       0           4     0.500       NaN
##      Cutter      10           3      0.00     0.800
##    Fourseam      24           8     0.250     0.667
##    Two-seam      17          28     0.286     0.471

Strikeouts by Description

##                           Curveball Fourseam
## Swinging Strike                   0        1
## Swinging Strike (Blocked)         2        0

Standard Batting Lines Against Jonathon Niese

##                 Batter PA AB H 2B 3B HR K BB HBP SF    BA   OBP   SLG
##          Adonis  Garcia  3  3 2  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667
##      Andrelton  Simmons  3  3 2  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.667 0.667 0.667
##  Christian  Bethancourt  3  3 0  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000
##          Daniel  Castro  3  3 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.333 0.333 0.333
##      Frederick Freeman  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000
##         Hector  Olivera  3  2 0  0  0  0 0  1   0  0 0.000 0.333 0.000
##            James Weber  3  3 0  0  0  0 1  0   0  0 0.000 0.000 0.000
##          Michael  Bourn  3  2 1  0  0  0 0  0   0  1 0.500 0.333 0.500
##          Nick  Markakis  4  4 2  0  0  0 0  0   0  0 0.500 0.500 0.500
##  Pitches
##       15
##        7
##       11
##       12
##        8
##       12
##       10
##       11
##       11

Pitches Velocities & Movement:

##  Pitch Type  Min Mean  Max Mean Hor Mean Vert CRT Mean Hor CRT Mean Vert
##    Changeup 82.9 83.3 83.5    8.157     4.406        7.621         3.029
##   Curveball 74.2 75.6 76.4   -3.347    -6.754       -4.040        -8.599
##      Cutter 84.2 86.2 87.8  -0.2496     3.775      -0.7889         2.831
##    Fourseam 86.8 89.3 91.6    4.896     6.484        4.472         5.506
##    Two-seam 85.2 88.3 90.0    9.559     3.282        9.238         2.226

Note: Horizontal movement denotes average distance, in inches, from point of release to home plate (+ moves away from a right-handed batter) while vertical movement is average distance, in inches, from release point to home plate. As measured from the back point of home plate, the x-axis (horizontal) runs to the catcher’s right, the y-axis points at the pitcher, and the z-axis (vertical) runs upward.

Note 2: The corrected horizontal and vertical are based upon a paper by Alan M. Nathan from the University of Illinois nd account for the elimination of both gravity and drag. The corrected averages more accurately reflect the true movement of the baseball.


Average (MPH) Velocity for Pitches by Starters Last Night:

2015-09-14_Jonathon Niese_BoxPlot

Below are the pitch locations by both batter stance (left or right) and by pitch type.

Pitch Location by Stance:

2015-09-14_Jonathon Niese_Stance

Pitch Location by Pitch Type:

2015-09-14_Jonathon Niese_Pitches

Pitch Locations by Batter:

2015-09-14_Jonathon Niese_Batters

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