Since the All-Star break, Manny Acosta has been the Mets’ best reliever. Tim Byrdak has a better ERA (1.80 versus 2.19) but Acosta has faced more than twice as many batters (48-22) and has given up three runs overall to Byrdak’s four. No other reliever is close to their ERA.
Acosta’s effective stretch goes back further than the break. In his last 16 games, he has 17 IP, 3 BB and 16 Ks and has posted a 1.59 ERA. In his last 16 games, Pedro Beato has a 4.80 ERA with more walks (10) than strikeouts (8) and Bobby Parnell has a 6.06 ERA in his last 16 appearances.
Still, Terry Collins is hesitant to use Acosta in meaningful game situations. He has a Leverage Index (LI) of 0.44 – the lowest of any pitcher on the staff right now and lower than anyone who has pitched this year for the Mets besides Pat Misch. LI is a measure of how important the situation is that the player appears in. A normal LI is around 1.0 while 10% of all real game situations have a LI of 2.0 or greater. These usually happen in the late innings of close games. Acosta is generally used by Collins when the game is not close.
Beato and Parnell have essentially thrown gasoline on the fire when they have come into games recently. Hopefully, Acosta can work his way into more useful situations down the stretch. He was dealt a setback recently with an injured finger, but X-Rays showed no fracture and Acosta is listed as day-to-day.
WRIGHT’S RETURN A SMASHING SUCCESS – In 19 games since returning from the disabled list, David Wright has a .354/.395/.544 line in 86 PA. Compare that to the .226/.337/.404 line he had before being sidelined. Wright has a .385 BABIP in this stretch, which ordinarily would be a huge red flag. But he has a lifetime .342 BABIP and he posted a .394 BABIP in the 2009 season..
The most impressive thing about Wright since his return is what’s happening with his strikeout rate. Before the DL stint, he had a 25.0 K%. Since returning, his K% has dropped to 14.0 percent. Wright is standing even closer to the plate than before and he is not pulling out with his back side and the results speak for themselves.
METS ON HR SURGE – The Mets have hit 23 HR in 26 games since the All-Star break. If they kept that pace up over a 162-game season, they would finish with 143 HR and establish a HR record for the club since moving into Citi Field. Five different players have 3 HR each – Jason Bay, Lucas Duda, Scott Hairston, Angel Pagan and Wright – so far in the second half. Before the All-Star break, the Mets hit 58 HR in 91 games, a pace that would give them 103 HR over 162 games.
ZiPS FORECASTS TURNER PERFECTLY – The preseason forecast from ZiPS on Justin Turner saw a .267/.320/.377 line and a .697 OPS. So far this year, Turner has a .267/.332/.364 line for a .696 OPS. Many have acted like what Turner has given the Mets this year has been outstanding production from out of nowhere. Instead, he is performing exactly like we think he should be. The only difference is how the stats were accumulated. Turner got off to a hot start, which clinched his reputation in many minds. He followed that up with a sub-replacement stretch. And since the All-Star break, he has a .263/.336/.364 line. This is who he is.
NIESE QUALITY – In his last outing, Jonathon Niese tied a season high with 7.2 innings pitched. It was his 14th Quality Start of the season, as he allowed just 2 ER. A lot of people dismiss Quality Starts as a useful gauge of pitching because you can get one for allowing 3 ER in 6 IP. You can also get a Save for allowing 4 ER in 0.1 IP and you can allow any number of runs and get a win if you pitch five innings. You can’t look at the worst possible outcome and conclude a statistic is no good because of that. Of Niese’s 14 Quality Starts in 2011, only two were of the bare minimum standards.