After a one-night reprieve, the New York Mets were back to normal Saturday in a 3-2, 13-inning loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Scoring their most runs since July 5 in a 6-1 win on Friday, the Mets won for just the third time in 13 games and snapped a 13-game streak in which the club had scored less then five runs, and the 4-run eighth-inning constituted just the club’s second crooked inning since the All-Star break. But New York was held hitless Saturday after a sixth-inning RBI single by Jose Reyes and went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Heading into Friday, New York was 5-for-36 with runners in scoring position since the All-Star break. The Mets were 5-for-24 in the first two games against Los Angeles and 14-for-102 in their last 15 contests. The offense scorched opponents for a .324 (70-for-216) average in these situations in June – nearly a 200-point difference!
The Giants’ Barry Zito retired 17 straight batters with the aid of a caught stealing on July 16, Arizona’s Barry Enright set down 20 straight with the aid of two doubleplays earlier this week, and Vicente Padilla put down 17 straight in the Mets win on Friday. Barajas snapped a 14-game RBI drought this week and Jeff Francoer hasn’t driven in a run in his last 11 games.
However, the player getting most of the wrath from the blogosphere – and rightfully so – is Jason Bay. The punchless $66 million man batting in the seventh spot for the first time this season on Friday, snapped a 10-game RBI drought with a three-run double to right-center field in the eighth inning off Travis Schlicting to break open a 3-1 game. He added a pair of singles, a walk and run scored in his first three plate appearances Saturday, but struck out twice and grounded out in his final three at-bats.
Just how bad has it been for Bay, who has hit .280 with an .894 OPS over his last six years while averaging 30 homers and 99 RBI? He has had his three longest homerless droughts of his career this season. Bay hasn’t gone deep since June 24, a span of 18 games. He went 24 games earlier this season without a blast and ended a 30-gamer dating to last season on April 27.
Perhaps even worse, Bay has been a terrible two-strike hitter. He is 0-for-30 with 21 strikeouts on 0-2 pitches and 4-for-56 with 33 punchouts after the count reaches 0-2. Overall, he is batting .172 (30-for-174) with two strikes. For comparison sake, Angel Pagan is batting .275 (14-for-53) after the count reaches 0-2 and .237 with two strikes (36-for-152).
Bay has also struggled in pressure situations, going 1-for-8 with the bases loaded, hitting .206 with a .496 OPS in games considered late and close, and batting .263 with runners in scoring position – 97 points lower than 2009. For his career Bay is a .290 hitter with the bases loaded and has recorded a .781 OPS late and close.