Yes, early season numbers are often wonky. But we can hardly help ourselves when we see shiny new numbers, can we? Let's take a look at some of the ones that stand out after Monday's 5-3 win.
- Neil Walker has hit a homer every 9.1 at-bats this year, a Bondsian rate. After his decisive dinger last night, he has cracked seven longballs in his last ten games, which is positively Murphian.
- After reaching base in all four plate appearances last night, Michael Conforto's line is a tasty .333/.435/.614 with a 176 wRC+.
- The Mets have eight multiple home run games in 18 contests. After only two home runs in the first eight games, they now are tied for second in the majors with 28 homers on the season.
- With nine strikeouts on Monday night, Noah Syndergaard has struck out at least eight batters in eight straight regular season games.
- The Mets have now won nine games in a row against Cincinnati dating back to 2014.
The Mixed Bag:
- Coming into this game, Syndergaard's whiffs-per-swing on his secondary offerings was otherworldly: 54.55% on his change-up, 55.81% on his slider, and 80% on his curve. Monday brought him back to earth a little (as it does to all of us); although Syndergaard had less command than usual, you have to give the Reds credit for good pitch recognition and putting the bat on ball on some tough pitches.
Against Cincinnati he got zero whiffs on his change-up; only four swings on 13 curveballs, and a single whiff; but his slider continued to be highly missable with eight whiffs on 17 swings—including the biggest whiffs of all which secured back-to-back strikeouts and got him out of a second-and-third, one out jam in the sixth.
Need we get hung up on whiffs though? Syndergaard pumped in strikes on 68% of his pitches, which is elite and just a tick below his season rate (69%). On a night when he 'struggled', he was pretty darn effective.
- Antonio Bastardo, who has an 80-grade name, brought zero stuff on Monday, unable to retire either of the hitters he faced. However, it was the first save he has blown since April of last year, when he lost a lead against the same Cincinnati Reds.
Makes you think twice:
- While the Mets have been scoring in bunches with the long ball, they continue to struggle with situational hitting after a 1-for-9, no RBI performance with runners in scoring position. On the season, the team has hit .192 with RISP and have scuffled to a .156 average with two outs and RISP.
- Travis d'Arnaud looked tentative and uncomfortable throwing tonight, and we await further word on his injured right shoulder. So that pesky human element somewhat contaminates the delightful purity of numbers, as the Reds went 5-for-5 stealing bases—at least two runners should've nailed with a reasonable throw. But the fact is Syndergaard now has allowed 24 steals in 26 attempts in his career, and a scout timed him tonight at 1.33-1.39 seconds to the plate, which is significantly slower than the 1.25-1.30 seconds accepted as the maximum time which will allow a catcher a chance to nab someone.
- Walker has not lived up to his name—he has only two walks so far this year. For now, no one has a problem with him trotting around the bases instead.
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Neil Walker (+28.3% WPA), Michael Conforto (+25.5% WPA), Lucas Duda (+14.7% WPA)
Big losers: Antonio Bastardo (-27.0% WPA)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Neil Walker's go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh
Teh sux0rest play: Joey Votto's game-tying single in the seventh (-23.1% WPA)
Total pitcher WPA: -3.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: +46.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Neil Walker