The Mets lost both games of a doubleheader to the Braves on Thursday. It was the second time this year New York fell in both games of a DH to Atlanta and the third time in four tries this season it has been swept in a twin bill. The Mets are 70-73 (.490) overall this year but 2-6 (.250) in doubleheaders. Fortunately, there are no more doubleheaders on the schedule in 2011 for the club.
The Mets’ struggles with twin bills are not a recent phenomenon. Since 2008, the Mets have played 15 doubleheaders and their record is 11-19 (.367). They have won just two DH in the past four years, when they swept the Dodgers in April of 2010. The Mets have seven splits and have lost both games six times in this span.
Their high-water mark is a 3-3 record last year. Even in 2008, when the Mets won 89 games, they had a 5-7 mark in twin bills. In the past four years, the Mets have an overall record of 308-321 (.490) but their record in DH is significantly worse. I don’t care what Ernie Banks said, the Mets need to stick to single games.
BAY BASHES ON – While the Mets struggled yesterday, it was not the fault of Jason Bay. In the doubleheader, Bay went 3-6 with a homer, a walk 5 RBIs and a SB. In his last eight games, Bay is 10-28, with five extra-base hits, including 2 HR. This is what the Mets signed up for when they inked Bay to the big free agent contract following the 2009 season.
But before we start thinking that Bay is back, we should remember that he had 14-game stretch starting in late July where he went 22-53 (.415) with eight extra-base hits. He immediately followed up that hot streak with a 2-45 stretch. Now, streaky is better than terrible, so we should be grateful for this recent improvement.
Since the All-Star break, which includes both of Bay’s recent hot streaks, he has a .249/.323/.414 line. Overall this year he has a .241/.321/.368 slash output. His AVG and OBP numbers are similar – where he’s displayed improvement is with his SLG. Bay has 16 extra-base hits in the second half, including 6 HR.
There are 21 LF who qualify for the FanGraphs leaderboards. The median OPS is .760 for the group. So even the second-half Bay, who has increased his slugging considerably and upped his OPS to .737, still finds himself below average in OPS for his position.
THE FEEL-GOOD STORY OF BATISTA – The Mets picked up Miguel Batista on July 4th after he was released by the Cardinals. The 40-year-old Batista won all three of his decisions in Buffalo and was called up when rosters were expanded. He started and picked up the win on September 1st and earned his 100th career victory in the majors. Five days later, he turned in another Quality Start, as he allowed just 1 ER in 6 IP although he did not get a decision.
In addition to his 17-year career in the majors, Batista is known for his humanitarian efforts and his intellectual pursuits. He has been nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award, for his work in delivering medical supplies and stressing education throughout Latin America. Batista is also a published poet and novelist.
REYES CHASES BATTING TITLE – Jose Reyes was given the first day of Thursday’s doubleheader off but went 1-4 in the nightcap. He has a .335 AVG and is leading the National League in hitting, with a .006 edge over Ryan Braun. As recently as September 5th, Braun was in the lead but a recent 1-12 stretch for the Milwaukee star has allowed Reyes to re-claim first. With 509 PA already, Reyes has enough trips to the plate to qualify for the title. Now he just needs to maintain his lead to become the first player in Mets’ history to lead the league in batting.
BYRDAK’S SPLITS – Lefty specialist Tim Byrdak has been on a role since the All-Star break, with a 1.64 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP in his last 23 games, covering 11 IP. He’s limited LHP to a .584 OPS. Manager Terry Collins has done a very good job limiting Byrdak’s exposure to righty batters. So far this year, 96 of Byrdak’s 150 PA have come against lefties. That means Byrdak has had the platoon advantage 64 percent of the time. Most LOOGYs face about the same number of lefties and righties over the course of a season. Since Byrdak’s OPS against versus RHB is 320 points higher, Collins has done a very good job optimizing his LOOGY.