5/26/10

Mets Starting To Hit, Who's On Second?, DH Mike Jacobs?, Dickey’s Knuckle Ball... and Lima

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Mets Starting To Hit:


Last night’s 8-0 win over the Phillies was a continuation of increased hitting by the Mets, which could salvage this season. We all know the pitching was suspect to start, and even though R.A. Dickey has been a nice bonus, remember every pitcher doesn’t really show his value until he’s been around the block a couple of times (remember Fernando Nieve’s stellar first couple of starts last season). The real good news is the fact that Jose Reyes and Jason Bay seem to be out of their funk, which is big news in Metsland. A team can’t win without their big bats hitting… well, big. There’s enough in this line up to average over five runs a game and, coupled with the 4th lowest ERA for a bullpen in baseball, this team is far from out of it.

Who’s On Second?

The Mets picked up a new second baseman yesterday that can play either at AAA or spot start in Queens. His name is Justin Turner. He is not to be confused with Luis Castillo, who plays most of the games in Queens at that position, or Alex Cora, who fills in for Castillo when needed, or Russ Adams, who plays second at Buffalo and is MLB tested, or Alex Cintron, who’s currently on the DL but has played second for Buffalo this year, or Andy Green, who plays both second and third, or Jonathan Malo, who is played second at Buffalo now, or Daniel Murphy, who’ supposed to play second at Buffalo, or Ruben Tejada, who played second for the Mets in spring training.



DH Mike Jacobs?

Second base isn’t the only position that’s a little crowded down in Buffalo… or is it up in Buffalo? Anyway, Daniel Murphy started at first bases for the Bisons last night, which moved Mike Jacobs to a pinch hitting role. Jacobs made it very clear when he signed a contract that he would not accept a minor league contract unless he would be assured that he would play every day and not sit on the Buffalo bench. Based on what I wrote above in the second base situation, it doesn’t look like Murphy will be getting much time at second, which is a story in itself. At this point, he’s never going to replace Ike Davis as the Mets starting first baseman, and Chris Carter looks just fine as the backup, doing triple duty as 5th outfielder and 2nd pinch hitter. Stay tuned here for some fireworks if Jacobs doesn’t get back in the lineup.






Dickey’s Knuckle Ball:

When he was a conventional pitcher with the Texas Rangers with a fastball in the low 90s, Dickey pitched against Wakefield on July 29, 2003, then again against him at The Ballpark in Arlington on May 2 of the following season. At the time Dickey would incorporate a couple of hard knuckleballs per game into his pitching repertoire. When an injury to the rhomboid muscle, which contributes to shoulder movement, forced his velocity into the mid-80s, Dickey committed to reinventing himself as primarily a knuckleball pitcher. Wakefield, hearing of Dickey's intent, reached out to him to offer advice. The two have been "friends ever since," according to Dickey. "You can trace us both back in some way to Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough," Dickey said. "We both worked under both of those guys. And I've worked under Tim, actually, for a little bit. It's a small fraternity and we're pretty tight." - link

Lima:

From an analytical perspective, one could say something similar. While bouncing around the majors, Jose Lima was annoying, particularly in seasons like 2004, when he went 13-5 for the Dodgers despite a 5.09 FIP (although he had a 4.19 xFIP, his tERA was 6.64 Yes, that’s Six Point Six Four). But, like his musical aspirations and other clubhouse antics, while his statistically less-than-great pitching was frustrating to explain at the time, now it’s interesting and, yes, sort of fun to look back on. This is a pitcher who, during the FanGraphs WAR Era (2002-present) managed a FIP under FIVE only once over a full season, yet still pitched over 460 innings inthe major leagues over give seasons. Indeed, the 2005 Royals (naturally) sent him out to the mound for 168 innings of 6.34 ERA ball, although to be fair, his FIP was only 5.71, and hey, his xFIP was 5.34! -
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