It used to be that you talked about a team’s performance with runners in scoring position and people’s eyes would glaze over. And then 2016 happened, when for nearly five months out of the season, the Mets had the worst performance in the category since the expansion Padres in 1969. Then people started taking notice. Earlier this year, it was a common refrain to point out how poorly the Mets were doing in this split.

The 2020 version of this is a team’s record in blowout games compared to its overall record. Conventional wisdom is that good teams win the close ones. And as a general rule of thumb, they do. But you’ll always find multiple teams with winning records who finish below .500 in one-run games. It turns out luck plays a significant role in these games, too. But if you want to see a mark of a team’s quality, you should check out their mark in blowout games, defined as ones with a margin of five runs or greater.

The 2019 Nationals, the team that won the World Series, won 93 games during the regular season, yet were 17-21 in one-run games. But they were 29-19 in blowouts. That’s just one example. Let’s look at all of the clubs in 2019-2020 and see what their records were in blowouts. While this is just a partial season, it will still give us a 60-team sample.

Team Year G W L W-L% BL W BL L BL % BL% – O%
LAD 2020 46 32 14 .696 11 0 1.000 .304
HOU 2019 162 107 55 .660 36 12 .750 .090
LAD 2019 162 106 56 .654 41 12 .774 .120
TBD 2020 46 30 16 .652 6 3 .667 .015
CHW 2020 45 29 16 .644 13 5 .722 .078
OAK 2020 45 29 16 .644 30 17 .638 -.006
NYY 2019 162 103 59 .636 32 16 .667 .031
SDP 2020 46 29 17 .630 11 5 .688 .058
MIN 2019 162 101 61 .623 35 13 .729 .106
MIN 2020 47 29 18 .617 6 4 .600 -.017
OAK 2019 162 97 65 .599 30 17 .638 .039
ATL 2019 162 97 65 .599 31 17 .646 .047
TBD 2019 162 96 66 .593 26 16 .619 .026
ATL 2020 46 27 19 .587 9 7 .563 -.024
CLE 2019 162 93 69 .574 29 24 .547 -.027
WSN 2019 162 93 69 .574 29 19 .604 .030
CHC 2020 47 27 20 .574 7 6 .538 -.036
CLE 2020 46 26 20 .565 9 6 .600 .035
STL 2019 162 91 71 .562 26 17 .605 .043
TOR 2020 45 25 20 .556 5 3 .625 .069
MIL 2019 162 89 73 .549 18 22 .450 -.099
NYY 2020 46 25 21 .543 6 4 .600 .057
PHI 2020 43 23 20 .535 8 5 .615 .080
NYM 2019 162 86 76 .531 21 17 .533 .002
ARI 2019 162 85 77 .525 32 20 .615 .090
BOS 2019 162 84 78 .519 27 23 .540 .021
CHC 2019 162 84 78 .519 32 18 .640 .121
STL 2020 39 20 19 .513 7 2 .778 .265
SFG 2020 45 23 22 .511 7 7 .500 -.011
PHI 2019 162 81 81 .500 27 25 .519 .019
HOU 2020 46 23 23 .500 6 5 .545 .045
FLA 2020 42 21 21 .500 3 8 .273 -.227
TEX 2019 162 78 84 .481 25 32 .439 -.042
SFG 2019 162 77 85 .475 18 24 .429 -.046
COL 2020 45 21 24 .467 3 8 .273 -.194
MIL 2020 43 20 23 .465 7 10 .412 -.053
CIN 2019 162 75 87 .463 20 19 .513 .050
NYM 2020 46 21 25 .457 9 4 .692 .235
CHW 2019 161 72 89 .447 20 30 .400 -.047
ANA 2019 162 72 90 .444 21 30 .412 -.032
BAL 2020 45 20 25 .444 5 9 .357 -.087
SEA 2020 45 20 25 .444 4 10 .286 -.158
DET 2020 45 20 25 .444 7 11 .389 -.055
COL 2019 162 71 91 .438 18 32 .360 -.078
CIN 2020 46 20 26 .435 7 6 .538 .103
SDP 2019 162 70 92 .432 13 23 .361 -.071
PIT 2019 162 69 93 .426 18 39 .316 -.110
SEA 2019 162 68 94 .420 22 31 .415 -.005
TOR 2019 162 67 95 .414 19 30 .388 -.026
KCR 2020 47 19 28 .404 4 11 .267 -.137
ANA 2020 47 19 28 .404 5 7 .417 .013
WSN 2020 44 17 27 .386 7 7 .500 .114
KCR 2019 162 59 103 .364 16 27 .372 .008
ARI 2020 47 17 30 .362 3 4 .429 .067
FLA 2019 162 57 105 .352 16 36 .308 -.044
TEX 2020 46 16 30 .348 1 7 .125 -.223
BOS 2020 47 16 31 .340 3 11 .214 -.126
BAL 2019 162 54 108 .333 18 41 .305 -.028
PIT 2020 43 14 29 .326 2 8 .200 -.126
DET 2019 161 47 114 .292 6 40 .130 -.162

It’s really easy to get lost in a 60-line chart. But you should know of the 32 teams to have a .500 or better record overall, 30 of them finished with a .500 or better record in blowouts, too. Only the 2019 Brewers and the 2020 Marlins failed to have a winning record in blowouts. And when this season is finished, no one will be surprised if the Marlins finish with a losing record overall.

On the flip side, of the 28 teams with losing records, only the 2020 Mets and the 2019 and 2020 Reds had winning records in blowouts. The Mets’ 2020 blowout winning percentage of .692 is the seventh-best mark in the majors over the past two seasons. Is it a small sample illusion? Perhaps. You’d think the Mets would be in line for a few more blowout losses, given the shaky status of their starting pitching. But their offense is really good, so it’s not a surprise they have a bunch of blowout wins.

And tying it back to RISP, a better performance in that category will help the overall record.

THE SQUIRREL GETS HIS WINGSJeff McNeil is flying high, shaking off a mediocre start to pound the ball in the past two weeks. In his last 12 games, McNeil has a 1.330 OPS, thanks to a streak where he homered in four straight games. He has 11 extra-base hits in his last 54 trips to the plate. There were quite a few people before the season started who wanted McNeil to go back to be the hitter he was when he first came up, one who concentrated on putting the ball in play and one who posted a high average. But the McNeil who cranks XBH is the one we should want to see. After years of watching Daniel Murphy being content to flick the ball the other way for a single, it’s amazing that people want McNeil to follow that path, after what we saw Murhpy do down the stretch in 2015 and his next two years with the Nationals. And with what we saw McNeil do the last two months of 2019 and the last two weeks here.

NOT EVERYONE IS HITTING – The Mets’ offense has been pretty good this year, usually with multiple guys hitting lights out at the same time. But there are always guys who are scuffling. And right now, the three who are acting as anchors are Pete Alonso, Robinson Cano and J.D. Davis. Everyone wants Alonso to be the guy he was last year and anytime he does anything positive at all, the broadcasters trip over themselves to praise him. But in his last 19 games, Alonso has just a .186 AVG. Luckily six of his 13 hits have been homers. Otherwise it’s just been dreadful. Cano got off to a terrific start but has just five hits in his last 34 trips to the plate. And that includes a 3-hit game in Friday’s blowout. Davis is mired in a 4-25 slump. It’s tough when the two primary RHB are struggling at the same time.

A REBOUND FROM A FAMILIA FACE – Last year, Jeurys Familia was terrible. After 12 games this season, he stood with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.541 WHIP, as he allowed 7 ER and 9 BB in 12.1 IP. He was about the last guy you wanted to see on the mound in a tight situation. It got so bad that in his 13th game, Familia entered in the fifth inning. But starting with that outing, Familia has allowed just 1 ER in 8.1 IP and has held batters to a .188 AVG. Walks are still a problem and he’s probably never a guy you’ll want to see on the mound in the ninth inning with a one-run lead. But for the year now, he has a 3.48 ERA and we likely won’t see him pitching in the fifth inning again anytime soon.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – There’s been no shortage of people moaning about Wilson Ramos and wanting a better defensive backstop behind the plate. The white whale is J.T. Realmuto, a guy who’s been a strong player on both offense and defense for a number of years now. Realmuto is an impending free agent and it would be a nice story if the Mets took him away from the Phillies one year after they took Zack Wheeler from the Mets. But if not Realmuto, then who? People are quick to say any defensive guy will be an improvement. Those people would be advised to check out Robinson Chirinos‘ numbers. It doesn’t matter how good you are defensively, you can’t make up for a sub-Plaweckian OPS.

2 comments on “Jeff McNeil’s power surge, Jeurys Familia’s rebound and more on blowouts

  • Metsense

    Free Agent James McCann of the CWS would be a good replacement for Ramos.
    The OPS McNeil is better than the high batting average McNeil because of more damage.
    Alonso (.674 OPS vs LHP) has crippled the Mets against LHP. A drop from .941 last year.
    Brad Brach should be set up man, 1.50 ERA, 1.167 WHIP. Familia has rebounded and he a 7th inning guy because he allows too much traffic. 1.452 WHIP.

  • JimO

    I just can’t trust Familia. I had high hopes with him at the start of the year based on his weight loss accomplishment. He’s got a couple of wins but he’s given up hits in his last four appearances. He’s given up walks in his last three appearances. I think he’s only gotten three K’s in last five appearances.

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