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Showing posts from June 8, 2008

Can Trot Get Hot?

In a best-case scenario, Trot Nixon will turn out to be a lightning-in-a-bottle, older version of Ryan Church, sans concussions.

In a worst-case scenario, I'm thinking Richard Hidalgo, Shane Spencer, or Karim Garcia.

I like the idea of a youth movement, even if the youth comes in the form of a 34-year-old playing Triple-A with bad knees. In fact, I'd completely forgotten that he was still playing somewhere, and never would have guessed Arizona as his most recent residence.

And I think we'll like Nixon (the ballplayer, not the walk-off president), at least for the short term. He plays hard, and with a lot of fire. Boston fans liked him, as he was an integral part of the 2004 championship team. (Clever banner possibility: Nixon for 'Resident)

Trot is also the answer to two intriguing trivia questions.

* Who had the last home run off Roger Clemens?

Nixon did, in Game 3 of the 2007 ALDS, as a member of the Indians. He also had a go-ahead hit against the Red Sox in extra-innings …

A Walk-Off Bedtime Story

If you know a Mets fan dad (ideally one of a young child), he's probably in need of a pick-me-up because of the way the team is playing in 2008.

One possible gift (even if it's belated) would be a book I got in the mail today "The '86 Mets, Buckner & The Bambino," part of a series titled "Daddy's Heroes: Unforgettable Sports Moments To Share With Children."

I don't usually do product reviews here, but I'm a sucker for the subject and I like to encourage entrepreneurial efforts, so I'll make an exception.

In this edition, authors Tom Garcia and Karun Naga tell the story of my favorite game, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series in a manner in which young children can understand. They explain the origin of the Curse of the Bambino and summarize the history of events leading to the matchup between the Mets and Red Sox. They go through the key moments in Game 6, with special attention to Mookie Wilson's famous ground ball, weaving in the pres…

The Walk-Up Win: An Inventory

Not interested in talking about Thursday's loss. Have been wanting to put this out for awhile, so I'll do so today...

Mets Walk-Up Win (n) - A Mets victory in which the decisive runs are scored in the bottom of the eighth inning. Said victory requires Mets pitchers to retire the side, maintaining the advantage, in the top of the ninth.

Etymology: Fellow blogger Greg at Faith and Fear, invented the term. Date of origin, unknown.

The Mets have 165 walk-up wins in their history, if we include the postseason, and we shall for the purposes of this tallying.

* Their most frequent victim is the Braves.

Most Mets Walk-Up Wins
By Opponent

Braves 22
Expos 19
Astros 16
Pirates 15
Dodgers 14
>> Includes Postseason

* The most common type of go-ahead RBI in a walk-off victory comes from a single.

Most Frequent Walk-Up RBI
Mets History

1B 58
HR 55 (3 grand slams)
2B 29
SF 8
>> Least frequent among those that have happened: 1 passed ball, 1 triple, 1 groundout, and 1 hit-by-pitch

* The season in which…

Hop To It

When I went to sleep, I was rather annoyed with the lack of Mets involved in the postgame "bunny hop" (Chris Russo's term) at home plate. I thought it paled in comparison to that which I saw from the Marlins after Dan Uggla's walk-off grand slam not long before, and its paled comparitively from those which I've seen from a team like the Rays (who as a colleague noted: "They're the team you wish yours was.").

However, upon second look, thanks to a photo from the NY Daily News, and watching the highlight, I feel a little better.

Those teams are younger, and a little more demonstrative. The Mets are old and creaky, so it's hard for them to match the spirit or leap-height of those other squads (didn't it look like Beltran jumped off the wrong foot?). It may have been a celebration lacking in fire, but not in numbers.

I can see Beltran, Wright, Delgado, Schneider, Easley. Maine, and Aguila...via TV I saw Reyes (first one in line for any hopathon), M…

Bail of Hey

Things would have been a lot simpler if home plate ump Jeff Nelson had just given Mark Reynolds first base...

Let's call this a "Bail-out walk-off win." (as the New York Daily News basically did, as well)

A bail-out walk-off is one in which the Mets "bail out" a reliever who blew a save in the 9th inning. (Bill James sometimes calls these "BS wins"

Note that this does not encompass all relievers who blew leads in the 9th (you could have blown a lead in a non-save scenario) or all Mets walk-off wins in which they blew a 9th-inning lead (I'm ignoring scenarios where a pitcher in line to win the game, blew the lead in the 9th)

Sometimes I worry that too many criteria make this hard to understand, so let's simplify

In a "bail-out walk-off win"

A) A pitcher screws up in a situation in which both he (with a save) AND ANOTHER PITCHER (with a win) would tangibly benefit.

and

B) The Mets bail the guy out by winning anyway, via walk-off.

Used in a sent…

Hava Aguila

The newest Met, Chris Aguila, doesn't have any walk-off history from his time in the majors, but he should make the walk-off celebrations (and the home run handshakes) a little more interesting.

Aguila's family, based on accounts I've read, is very into Polynesian dancing (his mother is a combination of Polynesian, Samoan, Tongan, and Fijian). This is not your typical exercise. It involves a little bit more risk.

"Because of the danger, I wasn't taught the Fire Knife Dance until I was 16," Aguila once told the media. "Basically, it's twirling and spinning a burning knife while someone is playing the drums. Sometimes I'll put it on my tongue. It's a lot of fun."

Just do yourself a favor, Chris. If you do anything like that...keep Jose Reyes a safe distance away.

Just In Case The Ax Falls

We're a little fatigued today and are going to work on some database maintenance, but we'll leave you with a tidbit we learned from a colleague in the last week.

If Willie Randolph does get fired, and we're not expecting it this week, it will actually be his first walk-off since July 25, 1998. How can that be possible, considering that Randolph retired in 1992?

Well, it turns out that Randolph hit a walk-off home run that day, one that gave the Yankees Oldtimers a 1-0 four-inning victory over the Dodgers Oldtimers in a pre-game exhibition at Yankee Stadium.

True Mettimers know...That June 10 marks the 25th anniversary, not of a significant trade (that's coming soon though), but of the latest walk-off home run in Mets history, Dave Kingman's 17th-inning blast to beat the Expos, 4-2. No Met has hit a walk-off home run later than the 17th inning.

Beat the Mets, Step Right Up and Beat the Mets

Today seems like a good day to unveil the product of a previous period of Mets frustration. The following is a yearly list of which pitchers beat the Mets the most in each of the teams respective seasons of play. It is the place where Pat Combs and Chris Nabholz can cross paths with the likes of Sandy Koufax, Juan Marichal and Don Drysdale, trading stories of how they caused great bouts of mental anguish to good folks like you and me.

Most Regular Season Wins vs Mets
Year By Year

1962
65 pitchers, 120 wins vs Mets

Jack Sanford 5
Jim Golden 5
Bob Friend 5

1963
60 pitchers, 111 wins vs Mets

Jim Maloney 5
Juan Marichal 4
Sandy Koufax 4
Don Drysdale 4
Lew Burdette 4
Dick Ellsworth 4

1964
59 pitchers, 109 wins vs Mets

Don Drysdale 5
Jim Bunning 5
Gaylord Perry 4
Larry Jackson 4
Bob Gibson 4
Bob Friend 4
Dick Ellsworth 4

1965
58 pitchers, 112 wins vs Mets
Juan Marichal 5
Bob Gibson 5
Don Drysdale 5

1966
59 pitchers, 95 wins vs Mets

Sandy Koufax 4
Tony Cloninger 4
Clay Carroll 4

1967
59 pitchers, 101 wins vs Mets

Gary Nolan 5
Mi…

Nothing Going Right

Cha Seung Baek was the latest pitcher to shut the Mets down, on Saturday night.

And thus continued a trend that is rather disturbing in this rather unpleasant 2008 campaign.

The Mets are not beating righthanded starting pitching. And that's a very bad sign.

The Mets are 16-23 in games in which the opposition starts a righthanded pitcher. That seems rather odd considering that they can throw out a lineup in which six or seven bats will bat from the left side of the plate, and remember how concerned we were about this team being too lefthanded.

Last season, an NL team, on average, faced a righthanded starter 112 times, and a lefthanded starter 50 times. Translate the pace that you set at 16-23 too 112 games and you get a record of 46-66. You know where teams that finish 46-66 against righthanded starters finish?

Last place.

And yet, the Mets have beat up some righthanders, like Chien-Ming Wang and Brad Penny pretty well this year. But they're not doing it on a consistent basis.

Basebal…

Great Scott

* Mets walk-off loss #375 (postseason included) was their second in the last three days and fourth this season. It is the second time this season that they've lost a game on a walk-off home run.

* The four losses match the Mets walk-off total for all of 2007.

* It is the first time that the Padres got two walk-off wins against the Mets in a season since 1995.

* The Mets have 25 walk-off losses against the Padres. Seven of them have been by a 2-1 score.

* It marked the first time in Pedro Feliciano's career that he gave up a walk-off hit.

* Scott Hairston is the 5th Padre to hit a walk-off home run against the Mets

Walk-Off HR vs Mets
Padres History

2008 Scott Hairston
1995 Brian Johnson
1989 Chris James
1986 Tony Gwynn
1979 Jerry Turner

* Scott Hairston now has 3 walk-off home runs, all of which have come since August 3, 2007, all for the Padres. In fact, Hairston also had the go-ahead extra-inning home run for the Padres in their one-game playoff against the Rockies last season, only to h…