Jun 28

Rains Aplenty at Citi, Runs Not So Much

As rain fell along the East Coast and postponed most of my “local” games, I didn’t watch a lot of baseball yesterday. Too bad, really. My wife was attending the New Kids on the Block revival tour, aka Mixtape Festival, and with a quick trip to the supermarket for donuts and ice cream (my daughter and I eat extremely well when the wife is away) I was ready to catch a few games.

Every time it rains hard like this I think of the Counting Crows. You’re welcome.

I did watch the six-inning Mets game, though, sharing snarky tweets with other disheartened Mets fans with the teams offensive and defensive ineptitude. Mostly it was about the offense. You know, like how leadoff doubles in the first and fourth led to zero runs in both cases because neither Ruben Tejada nor Wilmer Flores could advance Curtis Granderson or Michael Cuddyer respectively. Or there was that whole dropped fly ball by Granderson in the fifth that was ruled a Tucker Barnhart double.

I’m still confused by that one. Granderson practically ran a gyre pattern to the ball, slid, and dropped a ball that hit the pocket of his glove. Making the play more difficult doesn’t make it more difficult, if you catch my meaning.

That was yesterday. There were tweets. There’s a real level of disgust with this team that I hadn’t quite grasped until yesterday, but then again, social media tends to bring out the most sensationalist in us all. Anything for a favorite, right?

As a team, the Mets are in a pretty serious funk scoring runs. If you’re reading this you probably know that already. Still, it’s worth it to look at a few numbers that might better explain my meaning.

The Mets are currently in the midst of a five game streak of scoring two or fewer runs. That seems like a lot. According to Baseball-Reference, that streak is tied for 18th worst in franchise history. Saturday’s game was suspended, being made up prior to today’s regularly scheduled game, but if the game ended with the Mets not scoring or scoring one more (a huge if at this point) that pushes the streak to six, making it tied for 10th. Below are the top five (five worst) seasons for your reference:

Year Games W-L Slash Line
1964 10 1-9 .170/.223/.199
1967 9 2-7 .215/.266/.249
1965 9 1-8 .156/.201/.192
1962 8 1-7 .152/.213/.222
2012 7 1-6 .201/.272/.281
2015 5 2-3 .154/.221/.248

Longest Streaks Where Scoring 2 or Fewer Runs

It’s interesting to note that of those seasons listed, they’re all in the early days of the franchise, in an era known for pitcher dominance. In 1967, the league averaged 3.77 runs a game and in 1965 it was 3.99. We’re currently sitting at 4.14 for the 2015 season (Major League wide) while the Mets average 3.56, which is above only the White Sox, Mariners, and Phillies. I wonder if adding the DH would help this team or hurt them more. The team’s pitchers actually seem to put wood to ball.

3.5 runs? I thought the team was offensively challenged before the last two weeks, but 3.5 runs would be like . . . torrential rains.

I really, really, really need a raincoat.

Compared to the league the team isn’t scoring runs, and there’s a legitimate argument to be made that the team is without Daniel Murphy, has been without David Wright since the middle of April, and has been without Travis d’Arnaud in all but 19 games, but that doesn’t excuse not being able to move over runners, attempting an occasional hit-and-run, or (dear Lord I can’t believe I’m writing this) bunting. I hate the sacrifice bunt. I really do. It’s a wasted out, and for the most part, I even hate it when pitchers do it. However, if your team can’t score runs, can’t move over runners, and won’t be aggressive on the base paths, then Terry Collins needs to try something to get these guys some positive results.1

So, against the league (Major, NL, Federal, etc.) the Mets are pretty bad off, but how bad has it been historically? By that, I mean the only way for me to comprehend how difficult it’s been to plate runs this season, I need some context compared to franchise history. This was my original idea for this post.

Buried way down at the bottom, alas.

So, once more out to Baseball-Reference, and the 2015 Mets first half in terms of sOPS+. sOPS+ works for us here since it’s normalized to the league (meaning 100 is league average, 90 is 10% worse, 110 is 10% better, etc) and the s stands for split, telling us how the number compares to the league relative to that split. Jeff Sackman over at Brew Crew Ball does a good job of explaining if I wasn’t clear enough.

The Mets 2015 first half has been fairly cruddy. Not the worst. No, the 1963 squad had an OPS+ of 74, which is fairly retched. The 2015 team is tied for 10th worst in franchise history with an OPS+ of 87. Once again, I’ll provide another table.

Year sOPS+
1963 74
1977 78
1983 79
1964 80
1965 82
2001 84
1973 85
1998 86
1967 86
2002 87
1993 87
2015 87

Lowest sOPS+ in Mets Franchise History

So things could be worse. The team’s OPS+ is officially 84. If that’s confusing to you since I just said it was 87 above, remember the sOPS+ presents it relative to the split, so there’s a slight discrepancy. Philadelphia and Milwaukee are worse, believe it or not, and the Mets are tied with the White Sox at 28th worst in the Majors.

Just think where the Mets would be if they didn’t have their pitchers inflating those batting lines?

  1. I feel like I’ve seen so many runners stranded that I’ve abandoned everything I believe in. Not even the Scooby Doo crew could solve the mystery of the Mets missing offense.

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