Mets’ current run of stomach punch games recalls 2008

So keep your auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
I’ve seen that movie too

This has been a tough stretch of games for the Mets. With people already out, people going on the disabled list and guys not able to go deep into games, it hasn’t been easy for the pitchers, even if the offense has been extremely productive as it squares off against two first-place teams. In their last eight games, the Mets are 2-6. Nothing remarkable about that, especially given that seven of these games have been on the road. But how they got here – well it’s both unusual and a painful reminder of a time we’d most like to forget.

Here are how the last eight games have played out and the late Win Expectancy (WE) for the Mets in the games they lost:

5/23 – Loss 2-1. Had a 91.5 WE in the 9th inning
5/24 – Win 5-0
5/25 – Loss 4-3. Had a 96.1 WE in the 9th inning
5/26 – Loss 17-6. Had a 70.7 WE in the 3rd inning
5/27 – Loss 8-7. Had an 81.6 WE in the 7th inning
5/28 – Loss 4-3. Had a 78.7 WE in the 9th inning
5/28 – Win 8-5
5/29 – Loss 7-6. Had a 91.3 WE in the 8th inning

Wow. Just wow. If you knew nothing else besides these WE, you’d expect a 7-1 or 6-2 record. Maybe because it’s the Mets you’d think 5-3. But 2-6 is just heartbreaking.

It brings back memories from a decade ago, when Billy Wagner got hurt and the Mets’ bullpen couldn’t hold a lead. That year the Mets had a 3.5 game lead with 17 games to play and couldn’t hold it, as they went 7-10 down the stretch, including 3-6 in their last nine games.

But this recent streak of hard-luck games was more winnable than that closing 2008 kick. Here are the WE for the final six losses of 2008:

9/20 – Loss 4-2. Fell behind early and never exceeded the 50.0 WE of the first inning
9/21 – Loss 7-6. Had a 74.6 WE in the 8th inning
9/22 – Loss 9-5. Had a 68.8 WE in the 3rd inning
9/24 – Loss 9-6. Had a 93.3 WE in the 9th inning
9/26 – Loss 6-1. Fell behind early and never exceeded the 50.0 WE of the first inning
9/28 – Loss 4-2. Had a 58.8 WE in the 7th inning

This year’s stretch had five losses where the team had at least a 78.7 WE in the seventh inning or later, including three with over a 90 percent chance of a win. The final 2008 collapse had just one loss with a WE over 90 from the seventh inning on.

To be sure, 2008 saw some stunning late-inning losses. That’s the year if the Mets had won every game they led after eight innings that they would have won the division by 12 games. But they were a bit more spread out.

It feels like right now is a defining moment in the 2018 season. The club can retreat to the corner and lick its wounds or it can come back fighting. We heard so much in the offseason and in April about what great leaders this team had. Now we get to find out how true that statement is.

18 comments for “Mets’ current run of stomach punch games recalls 2008

  1. Meticated
    May 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    As Daffy Duck would say….”it’s dessssspicabbbble”.

  2. May 30, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    This team could very easily be 10 games over .500.

  3. TJ
    May 30, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Brian,
    I think you have a typo above. Sad to say, but I believe “WE” should be “LE”. At least, that is how I felt in those innings…

  4. Pete In Iowa
    May 30, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Just goes to show how important win expectancy is. Like any other probability odds, it’s just that — probability of what might or should happen today based upon what has happened in the past. Trouble is, what happened in the past in these scenarios have no relevance on what is going to happen today.
    Go flip a coin 50 times. Probability says you should get 25 heads and 25 tails. Guess what, more often than not it would not come out that way.
    How many times does a blackjack dealer hit a sixteen and doesn’t bust, even though the probability says they will?
    Do you think Vegas casinos are regretting the 300-1 odds they laid in future books on the Golden Knights winning the Cup?
    Point is, all sorts of outcomes are possible, no matter what the past “probabilities” say about their chances of occurring today. Unfortunately, way too many managers in MLB seem to forget that the most likely probability is just that — probability, certainly no guarantee.

    • Mike Walczak
      May 30, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Some things don’t need too many analytics. In this case the emotions and eye test are true. Reyes, Bruce and Vargas suck. The bullpen has sucked. Odds are that they cant keep sucking this bad. Maybe getting Swarzak back will help. May need to go out and add a veteran reliever. Too bad the farm system sucks.

      It all adds up to a team that has a hard time being consistent and winning games.

      • Chris F
        May 30, 2018 at 2:39 pm

        “Odds are that they cant keep sucking this bad.”

        I disagree. Pitching is skill. Flipping a coin is random. I could go out there an suck from opening day to game 162. There are no inherent odds I would be better by playing more. I hate to tell you, thats the problem: not enough talent. Vargas can suck now and stay bad. I see no reason to think otherwise.

    • Chris F
      May 30, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      I agree that WE is a bit of a red herring, but for the sake of big scale averaging across all teams, I am certain the result would not be 2-6. What is not part of WE is the forward moving aspect…in particular pitching changes and management decisions in innings 7-9.

      It also says nothing about a bull pen melted down unnecessarily early on so that it is in trouble for innings before June. This run of gassed relievers is happening in May, yes May. We just gone done complaining about snow and cold, and how this team will bounce back when the weather is better. That aint happening (and the weather thing is complete tripe anyway). People keep saying the team will bounce back, but the problem is not simply bounce-back-able. Overuse is overuse and it is directional not oscillatory. Arms will not magically get “fresher” as the season grinds on.

      Early on there were calls for bringing in top talent starting pitching whether it be Darvish (I know, I know) or Arietta, and SA selected Vargas. Houston was in good shape and got Verlander. National were in good shape and for Scherzer. Mets entering a year of pitching uncertainty and we go after Vargas. Im just sayin…

      • May 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm

        I believe we’ve seen some tiny changes in pitcher usage. We’ve seen starters go out to pitch another inning when they already have thrown 90+ pitches, which we didn’t see earlier. We’ve seen Blevins used for more than a batter or two at a time. We’ve seen Robles being used for 3 innings.

        It’s not much, but it’s something.

        Corey Oswalt picked a bad time to be on the DL. Latest thing I see on MetsBlog is them calling up three relievers, including one guy I’ve never heard of before. At this point, call up Mickey Jannis. I don’t care that he got lit up in Las Vegas. He’s a knuckleball guy who should be able to pitch more frequently than a typical pitcher.

        • May 30, 2018 at 3:36 pm

          Sign R. A. Dickey!

          • May 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm

            I wanted to do that in the offseason. Not sure if RA wants to pitch any more, though.

        • name
          May 30, 2018 at 4:09 pm

          “I believe we’ve seen some tiny changes in pitcher usage. ”

          I believe that the changes are out of desperation rather than a philosophy change. Before this stretch of 18 games in 17 days, our previous longest stretch of games this season was 9 games in 9 days.

          Presently the Mets are still among the bottom in games played, lagging behind some teams by as much as 4-5 games.

          • May 30, 2018 at 4:30 pm

            I believe it’s possible for something that originated in desperation to become acceptable. While I don’t hold out much hope for Blevins to be consistently used as a reliever rather than a LOOGY, I think it’s possible that Callaway will see that the starters didn’t melt when they threw 110 or 115 pitches and consider that not the end of the world.

    • May 30, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Maybe this will help:

      “Win Expectancy (WE) is the percent chance a particular team will win based on the score, inning, outs, runners on base, and the run environment. These percentages are calculated using historical data, meaning if a team is losing and has a 24% win expectancy, only 24% of teams in similar situations in the past have ever come back to win.”

      What the Mets are experiencing right how has *nothing* to do with how important WE is. Instead WE is the perfect tool to use to describe how unlikely these last few losses have been.

      • Mike Walczak
        May 30, 2018 at 4:42 pm

        The question may quickly become to sell or not to sell. If they get to the deadline and still suck, then that is a year and a half of consistent sucking.

        Any player in their walk year should go. They could get some value for Familia and Cabrera.

        This team needs more talent. As I have said before, Syndergaard and deGrom would bring a huge haul, especially now with deGrom leading the league in ERA.

        The Yankees and Mets match up well.

        It pains me to say that, because I am a big fan of both deGrom and Syndergaard. You build the team around pitching, but when the well is dry, sometimes you have to pull the alarm and start over.

        My question for the day is as follows.

        If the Mets are 10-15 games out at the break, should they do the following and why?

        A. Stay the course as is
        B. Trade expiring contracts of Cabrera and Familia only
        C. Start a complete rebuild including trading Jake and Thor
        D. Plan on a rebuild and start it after the season

        My answer is B and D.

      • Pete In Iowa
        May 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm

        My point is simply that unexpected outcomes happen all the time. As far as WE is concerned, I doubt that it calculates the ability of a specific team in its percentages. For example, are the WE’s the same for the 62 Mets compared to the 54 Indians — or even an average team — given all other parameters are the same? I’d bet it isn’t. In addition, we all know when teams are going good, they will win games that they “shouldn’t.” Just as teams in the midst of a losing streak will lose games they “shouldn’t.” I’ll bet WE doesn’t factor for this either.

        • Chris F
          May 30, 2018 at 5:34 pm

          I think of you are ahead 7-3 in the 7th, most of the time, a win should be the outcome, whether you attach a percentage (my complaint is that these are expressed with 2 significant figures and no sense of error) to it or not.

          The Mets are finding particularly unpleasant ways to lose, and its a mixture of poor decision making and not enough of-the-moment talent at a specific time (no talent for real or talented person thats off or tired).

        • May 30, 2018 at 6:59 pm

          SMH

  5. eraff
    May 30, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Defying Odds (WE), and snatching Defeat from the jaws of Victory!!!!

    WE= We Shudda Won that Game!!!!!!!!!

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