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Mets Pitching 55 Games In

Mike SteffanosTuesday, June 5, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

The Mets are now exactly one game past a third of the way through the season. With 33% of the games and just under 500 innings in the book, I think it's fair to say the staff has debunked the extravagant predictions for their failure in 2007:

Mets Pitching Staff -- 55 Games
Innings ERA Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG
497.0 3.35 7.3 6.9 3.5 1.0 .223 .304 .374

Only the Padres and A's have a better team ERA than the Mets, while their .223 AVG against is the best in baseball. The 7.3 hits per innings the Mets staff has given up is more than .5 hits per inning better than the second ranked Padres. Let's break it down into starters and relievers:

Mets Starters vs. Relievers -- 55 Games
  Innings ERA Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG
Starters 334.0 3.48 7.4 6.5 3.4 1.1 .226 .302 .373
Relievers 163.0 3.15 7.2 7.7 3.8 0.9 .218 .307 .375

Despite the struggles of Mike Pelfrey and ineffective single starts from Jason Vargas and the departed Chan Ho Park, the Mets starters are averaging over 6 innings per start. Remember, this was supposed to be the Achilles heel that would sink the Mets in 2007. Mets starters are third best statistically in all of baseball in ERA, and second behind Oakland in OPS against.

Here are the individual numbers for the starting pitchers.

Mets Starters
  GS Innings ERA Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG
Tom Glavine 12 73.1 3.44 8.7 4.5 2.9 1.1 .257 .321 .424
Oliver Perez 11 70.2 2.80 6.5 8.4 2.7 1.1 .196 .266 .335
John Maine 11 67.1 2.81 7.1 8.6 4.5 0.8 .169 .274 .247
O. Hernandez 7 45.0 2.20 5.2 6.4 2.8 1.0 .174 .253 .309
Jorge Sosa 6 36.1 3.22 6.2 5.4 3.2 1.0 .197 .268 .339
Mike Pelfrey 6 30.1 6.53 10.7 3.9 5.0 0.6 .308 .407 .436
Jason Vargas 1 7.0 6.43 7.7 2.6 0.0 2.6 .214 .214 .429
Chan Ho Park 1 4.0 15.75 13.5 9.0 4.5 4.5 .333 .400 .722

Of the five current Mets starters, all have an ERA under 3.5, and three of them under 3.0. I was fairly optimistic coming into the season, but this exceeds my expectations this far into the season. While I wouldn't expect them all to pitch this well over the final 107 games of 2007, I don't think there will be any collapse. Should any starter falter or get hurt, Philip Humber is pitching well in New Orleans and Mike Pelfrey has been better. Veteran Brian Lawrence also provides insurance for the rotation.

After enduring the struggles with control of key members like Pedro Feliciano, the Mets bullpen has been more than solid:

Mets Relievers
  GA Innings ERA Hits/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 AVG OBP SLG
A. Heilman 26 26.1 3.42 6.5 5.5 2.1 1.0 .198 .264 .375
Joe Smith 27 24.2 1.46 5.5 10.2 3.3 0.4 .176 .278 .271
Billy Wagner 23 24.0 1.50 6.4 11.3 2.3 0.8 .193 .245 .307
A. Burgos 17 23.2 3.42 6.5 7.2 3.4 1.1 .200 .289 .365
P. Feliciano 23 20.0 0.90 4.5 7.7 5.4 0.0 .147 .294 .191
S. Schoeneweis 23 19.2 5.95 8.7 4.1 7.8 1.8 .257 .391 .514
Aaron Sele 12 19.2 5.03 11.9 6.9 4.6 0.5 .329 .400 .544
Guillermo Mota 2 4.0 6.75 11.3 11.3 0.0 2.3 .294 .294 .471
Lino Urdaneta 2 1.0 9.00 18.0 0.0 0.0 9.0 .400 .400 1.000

Wagner has been great -- all that anyone can ask for. The late inning drama has been greatly diminished this year, which makes me very happy. Aaron Heilman has been spotty as the bridge, and the jury is still out on Guillermo Mota, but Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano have been fabulous.

Joe Smith, who had great success against righties and lefties early on, has come down to earth somewhat against southpaws. The numbers are still very good, however, for a righty specialist:

vs. RHB (67 PA): .133/.224/.217
vs. LHB (31 PA): .280/.400/.400

Pedro Feliciano has overcome control issues in the early going to pick up where he left off last season. For all of the ink that Joe Smith has (rightfully) earned, Feliciano has actually outperformed him:

vs. RHB (53 PA): .178/.283/.244
vs. LHB (33 PA): .087/.313/.087
The OBP numbers are a little high because of the early wildness. 10 of the 12 walks Pedro has allowed came in April. Since then he has been awesome. Opponents had a miniscule .468 OPS against him in May.

As bad as Scott Schoeneweis has been, his numbers against lefties are respectable. It's the righties who have killed him:

vs. RHB (55 AB): .341/.455/.773
vs. LHB (37 AB): .133/.297/.133
The Mets should use Schoeneweis strictly as a LOOGY, at least in close games.

Aaron Heilman's struggles continue to be related to an inability to repeat his earlier success against lefties.

vs. RHB (68 AB): .175/.235/.349
vs. LHB (39 AB): .242/.316/.424
It would probably behoove Willie Randolph to utilize situational matchups more with Heilman and Schoeneweis.

Omar Minaya and the Mets brain trust took a beating this winter when they insisted that they liked the pitching they already had. Funny how that clamor has died down. This pitching staff has been terrific.

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (11)

Great Statistical Breakdown of the Mets Staring Staff so far in 2007 there Mike . Who would of Thunk it back in April , eh , my Greek Piasan ? .......")..... By the way , any News on the Injury front concerning Dave Williams ? I am just wondering what his status is right now , and if there is a predicted time table for when he might be Game Ready to Pitch again ? With a Possible Healthy Pedro maybe comming back to the Rotation sometime in Aug. , do you personally think Omar will STILL look for a 5TH Starter somewhere before the July 31ST Trade Deadline , Or Believe like me , that could go after a possible Reliever instead ? ....


Nice analysis.

The impressive line as you alluded to is the impressive sample of pitching by the current starting 5. Obviously El Duque and Sosa have pitched the least innings of the 5 and have not had a 'bad' start per se. One peripheral observation is that not only have Maine and Ollie turned it around but El Duque too. when he first arrived a year ago a cast off, he was erratic being hit hard in several starts. then after a brief hiatus he came on in Aug and Sept and has continued into this yr. I agree he is the best starter we have.

On Ollie: his SO/BB ratio is tremendous.
On Maine: His strikeout totals & ERA suggest he has the tools to get out of jams, especially if he cuts down on his walks.

I am not a huge stats guy . I like to SEE it for myself and decide , IMHO baseball is a game that stats can easily tell a large story or portray some monstrous lies about players . But this layout is nice to have to see what you already knew , laid out in front of you .

Nice job Mike !

I was about as optimistic as anybody could have been about the Mets pitching at the beginning of the season -- and I, like you, can still be impressed at how effective the staff has been. It is a collection of complementary components that, working as a unit, manages to greatly exceed what the individuals might be expected to contribute. That sounds like a success of management to me; mangement, and preparation and well-defined roles -- all of that stuff. Once again Randolph and Peterson come in for a heaping helping of praise.

Not so sure I agree about spotting Heilman's appearances, though with Mota on board it would be an easier thing to do. From what we've seen of Aaron, he is a pitcher who simply has hot and (relatively) cold spells; reducing his workload would just as likely deprive the Mets of his next lights-out stretch as not.

Couple of nice reads:
Why are the Mets not further out in front;

and Mets Geek talks about various ex & present Mets including a new fave of mine Ruben Gotay;

A thought:

We like Willie, nearly all of us do. We love the way he works with his players, both the kids and the veterans. But even his strongest supporters must agree that it took Randolph a full season to gain his sea legs, so to speak.

Willie was allowed that year of adjustment for three reasons, I think: Pedro Martinez's excellent season in 2005; the subsequent improvement of the team's record; and possibly of most importance, that he followed Art Howe into the manager's office.

Had Willie followed Bobby Valentine into the job, I think he would have looked indecisive and unprepared in contrast; he just couldn't project like Bobby, though he has certainly improved since then. He may never have gotten that grace season he needed to adjust and find himself as an authority figure in New York baseball.

Maybe we finally have a reason to be grateful for Art Howe's tenure.

Nice job, landlord. Where did you find the time?... I love Joe Smith, he is so cool. Not like cool man, but really cool on the mound. He seems to have that self assurance about himself... Schoeweis who I don't trust, the jacket says he is fixable. But I would include him in any trade and let someone else fix him...Poor Glavin, he may be thinking he needs another season to get 300 wins...How far would you go to get Zumbrano( I'm not sure how to spell his name) I think you know who I mean. On the radio, they said the Mets will go hot and heavy after him if he is on the block? That scares me alittle.

Mark - Good question about Williams. I heard that he will be out probably until sometime in July. Haven't heard anything recently.

I think a trade for a starting pitcher won't happen unless there is a real front-line guy out there available (Santana, Oswalt, etc.)
Ed - El Duque had some rough games last summer, but actually pitched really well for most of his time here.


I think he was a little lost in Arizona where they were just looking for him to be a fifth starter/long reliever for a team that wasn't going anywhere last season. He obviously needs the spotlight to perform.
Thanks, Eduardo.
dd - I wasn't talking about turning Heilman into a righty specialist, but if I was Willy I would be more likely to replace him with a lefty if there were men on base in a big situation and a tough lefty at the plate. I agree that he is streaky, but he just hasn't been able to get lefties out all season, whether it's because of the elbow or something else.
ed - are you reading other sites behind my back? I'm hurt.

I agree, both very good reads.
dd - An interesting thought. I guess if you look hard enough you could find a silver lining in anything, even Art Howe.
Al - Given the story of Schoeneweiss' injury, and the fact he has been good against lefties, I'd cut him a little slack.

Zambrano scares the hell out of me. He just looks like he has some arm problems. Given the history of the Cubs under Dusty "Pitcher Killer" Baker, I'd be real careful about Zambrano .

Mike: In 2 years you've witnessed enough of my tirades.

Isnt it time for a Mike's Mets prospect check-up? yesterday Ed F ( & I) blogged about Carp and Evans. Humber (who won yesterday and is now 6-4)and Pelfrey are under the microscope so no news there, but Niese, Durkin and other pitchers are notables. But the group that intrigues me is the OF. Corey Coles (OK he's 24), is hitting .393, F-Mart (is in the dailies), but Dustin Matin AA is no slouch, going 4-4 yesterday hitting 280 now. Sean Henry and Caleb Stewart also have been getting press too. Baby Pena, Tony's son also looks quite good...for a 17 yr old in low A ball.

Another reason to keep Gotay up, Jake Gautreau is doing fine as the 2B at NOLA.

Ed - We've thrown our share of beer nuts at each other, but it's been fun.

It would be interesting to take a look at some of the prospects. I don't do a lot of it because there already is a lot of good prospect coverage, but I'll try to write something when I get a chance.

I agree that Gotay has earned more playing time than he has received so far.

Ed ,

Some promotions have been made recently for a couple of Met farmhand pitchers namely Bobby Parnell who has added another 5 to 6 MPH to his heater this year to get to the mid 90's he goes to Binghamton from St Lucie after posting some nice numbers there . Toby Stoner after a slow start at Savanah has been on fire and gets the nod to St Lucie and can Mulvey be far behind making a move to New Orleans after posting the numbers he has after another terrible start mostly because of the cold weather and all the early season snow outs his team at Binghamton faced .

Good idea about the prospects update Ed . If Mike can find the time it would be great but I am sure we will all forgive you Mike if your schedule doesn't allow it. We all know and appreciate all you do . And realize that you have a lot on your plate at this time .

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