LABOR DAY WEEKEND MAGIC by Tom Brennan

I was at the game Thursday night and watched Jake trying to grind through 5 innings with a subpar fastball, a lack of seeming energy, and bad luck in the field, only to find out he was being shut down for a while with forearm soreness.

Then against the always tough Nats, Thor pitched well, but failed to hold runners, and the Mets failed to score enough, and 2 straight losses, and two unheralded rookies to head to the mound on Saturday and Sunday.  Tough order to fill for Rob Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Fail and the playoff picture could turn bleak.

But both excelled, and it sure seems both are capable starters, each- gleeful to be over Acute Vegasosis, a malady that gives pitchers the runs.

Then Cool Hand Bart strolled to the mound on Monday.  As with any 43 year old age,  you knew you could relax with the cool and casual surgeon-warrior on the mound.  Three straight wins, a lot of losses by Wild Card wannabe opponents, and the Mets are sitting pretty with another heralded pitcher, Rafael Montero, climbing the hill tonight.

And Matt Reynolds, one of the lesser-performing Vegas bats in 2016 but hot of late, has a 3 hit day, including another opposite field homer for a supposedly low power fella.  And Wilmer Flores raps out 3 hits, raising him to .295 with 14 HR and 45 RBI in 227 at bats since the start of June.  OK, he displayed the speed of the likes of Eddie Kranepool and Rusty Stain on the basepaths, but they won and he learned, all right?

Tug McGraw visited the clubhouse after the game, some swore, and patted everyone on the back and told them Ya Gotta Believe.  I think I do now.

Meanwhile, in the minors, we got ourselves some batting titles. 

In AAA, TJ Rivera surged over the weekend (9 for 16 the last 3 games) to edge Brandon Nimmo out by a point, with both hitting over .350.  Congrats to both.  Gavin Cecchini (.325) finished a strong 3rd.

In AA, Phil Evans went 4 for 6 in Binghamton's finale to win the Eastern League title with a .335 average, just miniscule fractions of a point ahead of the second place finisher. I will bet you could have gotten huge odds betting on Phil snatching the AA title pre-season, since he wasn't even on the team at the start of the season.  Two other .300 hitters in Amed Rosario (.341 in 214 at bats after his promo to AA, .324 overall) and Dom Smith (.302, 14, 91).

In the Florida State League, a 4 hit finale surged Tomas Nido to .320 and a far more comfortable margin for his batting title....and he can really throw out base stealers too.

No more Mets minors titles, folks - but:

Pat Mazelka surged to hit .350 over his last 100 at bats and finished at .305, and if not for two extended injuries, I'd have not been surprised to see the .329 career hitter win the So. Atlantic title.

Pete Alonso missed the last month with a broken finger, but was hitting .321, just 11 points less than the title winner in the NY Penn league, so who knows if he had stayed healthy. Also over .300 was Desmond Lindsay (.303/.433/.451 in 37 games in an injury- shortened season).

And Ricardo Cespedes surged late to finish 5th for Kingsport in the Appalachian League at .322.

Mets Magic, batting titles, and .300 hitters, a good way to start a short work week.


eraff said...

"Acute Vegasosis, a malady that gives pitchers the runs."....Nice Work!!!

Thomas Brennan said...

Thanks, Eraff. Every once in a while, my puns work.

The one pitcher who avoided the Vegas Runs was Paul Sewald, who was not called up, still surprisingly to me. Except for a shaky but not terrible midseason relief stretch, he was great again, and he has to be wondering what he has to do to get promoted.

Thomas Brennan said...

Tomas Nido had less than the minimum at bats to qualify automatically for the FSL batting title, having been to the plate only 370 times. I believe the FSL has 140 schedules games, although the most any team played due to rain outs was 138, and St Lucie only managed to get in 135 games.

However, Nido should still end up the declared winner. To paraphrase an old article on Baseball America, when MLB applies Rule 10.22(a) to the statistics, ordinarily, a player must record 2.7 PA for every game on his team’s schedule. Over a 140 game season, as a general rule players must come to bat 378 times to qualify for an individual league batting, on-base or slugging championship.

Despite not meeting that requirement, Nido should be recognized as the batting champ following the application of Rule 10.22(a). The guideline simply allows MLB to tack on hitless at-bats to a player’s ledger until he meets the PA threshold, and if he still leads a category after taking the penalty, then he is deemed champion.

Nido fell at most 8 PA short of qualifying for the FSL batting title (since no team played over 138 games, he might have fallen only 3 short, and if they focus just on your own team, Lucie had 135 games X 2.7 = 364)), but even if it is 378 and he fell 8 appearances short, after adding an 0-for-8 to his batting record, he would still have a far higher average than the second place guy who hit .305.

So I am not sure when the FSL formally announces its hitting champ, but it should be the Mets' TOMAS NIDO. Very impressive for a catcher playing in Florida all summer.

Thomas Brennan said...

Reese, I am starting to see some "Terry Collins for Mgr of Yr" articles!

Gary Seagren said...

Very impressive stuff and to think we might actually have a catcher in our future who can play both ways as almost anything has to be better than TDA. He actually has only 14 RBI in 235 plate PA to compare to Anthony "The Bambino" Recker in 2014 who had 19 RBI in 151 PA that's scary bad.

Thomas Brennan said...

Awful, Gary. Maybe TDA will bust out.

Thomas Brennan said...

Craziest stat...on all of his 2016 grounders, Granderson is 18 for 139 (.129) with 2 RBIs. That seems ridiculously impossible.

Berdj Joseph Rassam said...

Tough to watch the Mets this season after last year's performance.

Thomas Brennan said...

Berdj, they have lost 4 of what we're to be their 6 key starters, and 3-4 starting position players, yet roll on. When they were not hitting up until 2 1/2 weeks ago, I agree...tough to watch. Now they are fascinating. Hope it continues against a VERY soft remaining schedule.

Gary Seagren said...

Hey when you take into account we've been w/o Wright, Harvey, Duda, Lagares and Wheeler for most of the year and Walker, Degrom, Matz and Cespedes for long periods and we're still in the fight it's pretty amazin. I wish TC would at least try Plawecki behind the plate but I know it's just nit pickin at this point so I'll leave it at LETS GO METS!!

Thomas Brennan said...

Guys like Plawecki smiling just to get big league pay scale and be in a pennant race. Playing is a bonus.

Thomas Brennan said...
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