Manny Acosta keeps rolling, Bay keeps stinking, Harvey ends strong

The less said about Thursday’s loss to the Phillies the better but one of the few bright spots was another scoreless outing by Manny Acosta. Since being recalled on July 24th, Acosta has a 1.83 ERA with 18 Ks in 19.2 IP. Walks are always going to be an issue with Acosta but he has kept them in check in this span, having allowed just seven. Combined with a .200 BABIP, it’s led to an impressive 0.864 WHIP.

This stands in stark contrast to what Acosta delivered in the first half of the season. Before being designated for assignment – and going unclaimed – Acosta put up an 11.86 ERA and a 2.273 WHIP in 22 IP before being mercifully sent out of town.

So – what has been the big difference? Obviously, his BABIP has decreased tremendously but another important factor is the gopher ball. Acosta has not allowed a homer since his recall but allowed 6 HR in his first 22 IP. Also, Acosta pitched more than 1.0 IP eight times in the beginning of the year and gave up 15 ER in those games. He has pitched an inning or less in 14 of his 19 appearances since his recall.

This is not the first time we have witnessed this Jekyl and Hyde act from Acosta. Last year he allowed 4 HR in his first 7.1 IP before settling down to post a 2.04 ERA with 2 HR in his final 39.2 IP of 2011. If our pitching coach could help Acosta avoid these HR-happy stretches, we would have a very solid reliever.

THE UGLY BAYWATCH – The television show Baywatch had beautiful people in bathing suits running on the beach. The Mets’ version has Jason Bay shooting for the Uecker Line. Last night’s pinch-hitting appearance that ended in a strikeout – who saw that coming? – brought his season AVG to .153, just three points above the Uecker Line. Since the end of World War II, Bay’s .153 AVG is the sixth-worst mark in MLB history among players with 200 PA in a season. Here are the worst AVG hitters since 1946:

Player Year PA AVG
Ray Oyler 1968 247 .135
Brandon Wood 2010 243 .146
Tyler Colvin 2011 222 .150
Bob Uecker 1967 221 .150
Jim Mason 1975 251 .152
Jason Bay 2012 204 .153
Al Weis 1966 213 .155
Nate Colbert 1975 260 .156
Dick Tracewski 1968 240 .156
Nick Hundley 2012 225 .157

THANK HEAVENS FOR HARVEY – Easily the best story of the second half has been the performance of Matt Harvey, who has been shut down after making 10 starts in the majors. In those 10 games, Harvey had a 2.73 ERA and a 1.146 WHIP. He also posted 70 Ks in 59.1 IP in his first exposure to major league hitters. Unfortunately, the Mets averaged just 2.3 runs in support of Harvey, which limited his record to 3-5. If he had decent run support, he could have notched 7 Wins.

In his last start, Harvey allowed a leadoff homer and then proceeded to pitch seven hitless innings. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to do that was Andy Benes for the Mariners in 1995. In that game, Benes surrendered a leadoff blast to Johnny Damon and then did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the eighth inning.

UGLY STREAKING – The Mets opened the second half of the season by losing 11 times in their first 12 games after the break. That killed a promising season and seemed like a stretch that we would not have to witness again for a long, long time. Well, that long stretch turned out to be about two months. Thursday’s loss gave the Mets another 1-11 record in their last 12 games. After playing at a.535 winning percentage in the first half of the season – an 87-win pace over 162 games – the Mets have a .317 winning percentage – a 51-win pace over 162 games – here in the second half.

SECOND-HALF NUMBERS – Two of my favorite Mets are Daniel Murphy and David Wright. Ideally, Wright’s a superstar and Murphy is an above-average player. So it was a little depressing to see their second-half numbers and how similar they are. See if you can guess which line belongs to which player since the All-Star break.

A – .288/.336/.406
B – .255/.335/.400

The AVG probably gives it away, as Murphy is Player A and Wright is Player B. We all complain that Murphy is not delivering the power we would prefer yet he has a higher SLG in the second half than Wright.

QUIT JOSH-IN ME – There is an awful lot to like about Josh Edgin, who has advanced from being a nobody in A-ball last year to holding his own in the majors here in 2012. But Edgin has come up short against the Mets’ two biggest rivals – the Braves and Phillies – here this season. Against every other team he’s pitched against, Edgin has allowed 2 ER in 17.1 IP, good for a 1.04 ERA. But against the Braves and Phillies, Edgin has allowed 11 ER in 8.1 IP, which is an 11.88 ERA.

THIS PITCHING CHANGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY … – In 1968, the Mets established a franchise record by using eight pitchers in a game. That was a mark that stood unbroken for 42 years until Terry Collins became manager. Last year, Collins twice used nine pitchers in a game and in Thursday night’s debacle, Collins once again upped the ante by deploying 10 different pitchers. The new rules regarding September rosters cannot come soon enough.

6 comments for “Manny Acosta keeps rolling, Bay keeps stinking, Harvey ends strong

  1. Chris F
    September 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Im thinking they should just go to 40 man permanently, and that way we can carry 27 pitchers. One for each out.

    • September 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      That’s all well and good but what happens when you have a situation like last night when a pitcher doesn’t record an out? Better carry 32 pitchers, just to be safe.

      • Chris F
        September 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

        I was just assuming each of the position players would be ranked for possible pitching order to meet exactly those circumstances. I mean 27 pitchers seems totally reasonable, but 32?

        ;-)

  2. Steevy
    September 21, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Whatever happened to just letting a guy take the beating in a blowout?

  3. Bobby Townsend
    September 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Maybe perhaps in 2013, Bay can become the 2012 version of Tyler Colvin. Oyler was the shortstop on the World Championship Tigers team but Mickey Stanley became their regular shortstop in the World Series because they wanted his bat in the lineup….. Gee, I wonder why!!!

  4. Name
    September 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    I think most people (and “anaylsts”) will look at Acosta’s stats and say he had a terrible season and say that the Mets should non-tender him. But Acosta has been very effective since his return to the major leagues(which should have been much earlier if it were up to me) and since he won’t be commanding more than 1M next year it would be foolish to not bring him back. I’m still waiting for the day when he becomes a full-time setup man.

    The way Harvey has pitched, i’m very wary that people will be expecting too much out of him. It is very possible for Harvey to have a “sophomore slump”(he is not a rookie next year anymore) if he gets too happy with only using his fastball.

    I think the HR ball has really hurt him vs ATL and Philly. If i remember correctly, his first 2 runs given up were a 2-run shot to Chipper Jones. Then he gives up 2 HR’s to Howard which is 4 more runs. That’s 6 runs so far. Then there is that Sunday night game vs Atlanta when Edgin loaded up the bases in the 9th and Franky frank allowed all 3 to score. So there’s 9 of the 11 runs right there. 6 via HR, 3 via Franky frank and 2 i don’t remember. There’s a good chance he will get better vs them.

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