By Ed Coleman
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17 runs. Bonanza!!! Ever since demolishing Tampa Bay in Florida, the Mets had averaged just a measly 3.4 runs per game over the next 11 while losing 7 of them, so Wednesday must have seemed like Christmas to them. Especially to the four who knocked in all 17 of the runs.
Ike Davis finally got off the Interstate and above the Mendoza line (.201) with a 3-5 day, including two doubles and a 3-run homer, of course. Davis’ solo homer for the Mets’ only run on Monday night was a rarity. He has 47 hits and 41 RBI – that’s called making your hits count. And Davis’ last 7 hits have been for extra bases.
Scott Hairston has the same number of HR (10) and doubles (11) as Davis does – only in 77 fewer AB. Hairston has 31 RBI, and his RBI ratio (at bats per RBI) of 5.1 is amongst the best in baseball.
Daniel Murphy was hitting .150 over his prior 18 games before busting out. Murphy hadn’t homered in almost a year – July of 2011 and 352 AB – before going deep twice in consecutive at-bats on Wednesday. He also added his 19th double of the season to match his walk total, which he has to increase in order to improve on his paltry .320 OBP.
And David Wright keeps chugging along – a team best 47 RBI and 49 runs scored – 25 doubles – and both the 2nd highest batting average (.357) and OBP (.449) in all of baseball.
The Mets’ defense has to improve as right now their 59 errors are the 4th highest total in the majors. But pitching will make or break this club, and the biggest gap that has to be made up is the run differential between the starters and the bullpen.
Met starters are 30-19 thus far, while Met relievers are 10-17. The starters’ overall ERA ranks 5th in the majors, and it’s even better this month – 3rd overall – behind only the Yankees and Washington Nationals. R.A. Dickey is of course at the forefront of the charge, but Jon Niese provides another prime example.
Niese just finished his month of June by going 3-1 in 5 starts. He had a 1.89 ERA, walked just one batter in each of the games, and struck out 34 in 33 innings. Niese allowed 2 or fewer runs in 4 of the 5 starts, and hitters went just 3-25 with RISP (with 11 strikeouts) during the month. In 3 of the 5 starts, Niese held the opposition hitless with RISP.
The bullpen, though, is another story. The Mets rank 2nd in the majors in both losses (17) and blown saves (13). And the bullpen ERA is the worst in all of baseball.
Last season in the National League, relievers had an ERA about 1/2 run better than starters. Right now, the differential between Met starters and relievers is about 1 1/2 runs – in favor of the starters. That has to change or the end result will not be pretty. And with closer Frank Francisco down, it’s time to find out about the rest of the bullpen. Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell have been fine for the most part – it’s time for the others to step forward or step aside.
C U soon
Can the Mets offense keep ahead of their bullpen? Leave a comment below.