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:
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.