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NY Met Team Preview - Beltran's back

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The last time we met, the Dodgers were in last place, and the Mets looked like the worst team in the NL East. Things have changed dramatically for both teams. The Dodgers are now in fourth place:). The Mets got hot for a while actually being 11 games over .500 on June 27th and were trying to make a run at the Braves but they have now fallen 6.5 games off the pace with a 5 - 12 record in July. Even with that 5 - 12 they are still in 2nd place.

Scored 411 runs, Allowed 381 runs. Pythagorean W-L: 51-44, Actual Record 49-46

The Mets have a .316 wOBA good for 13th place. In July that is only .283 good for 16th place. Looks like the Mets have had trouble getting on base in July with a paltry 6% walk rate. They don't make up that walk rate with power since they also have the 16th worse slug% in July at .352.

The pitching is better, with a TSL of 3.85/4.12/4.44 that FIP puts them 11th in the league for the season. For July they are 7th with a TSL of 3.90/4.08/4.37. Hey did you know the Dodgers have the 2nd best FIP in July at a sterling 3.39 a full run below the ERA of 4.42?

They have Beltran back, which pushed Pagan to RF and allows them to bench the useless Jeff Francoeur.

Position Breakdown

1st Base- Going on looks alone, he looks like a goofball and not a baseball player.

This comment drew the ire of a few Met fans which was only the 2nd time all year I've irritated opposing fans enough that they'd take the time to send me an email. Ike Davis started off hot putting up a Plus .900 OPS in April but he's been a high .700 OPS hitter since then. His TSL has settled in at .253/.327/.441 which is okay for a guy in his 1st year, but it does not offset his goofy looks.

2nd Base- With Castillo hurt old friend Alex Cora is getting the bulk of the time at 2nd base and he's sucking. In about 50 at bats in July Cora has a wOBA of .236.

SS - Jose Reyes seemed to shrug off the rust when he went crazy in June posting a wOBA of .396, however once July rolled into town, he's slowed down with a July TSL of .276/.275/.345. So looking deeper into that he's yet to walk but then I also noticed he's only played 1/2 the games. Ruben Tejada has played 1/2 the games in July so now I have to see if Reyes will be playing against us. The answer is yes, he's back from an oblique injury. Let us hope he does not revert to his June production.

3rd Base - Okay how is David Wright doing these days. When we last saw them his K rate was an astronomical 37%. He has gotten that down to 29.9% while moving his slug% in the right direction. So as long as he's hitting home runs and providing a .907 OPS, Met fans will take the high % of K's. Wright is looking more and more like the Wright of old. Except in July he's sucking (wOBA of .312). Good news for us.

C - Rod Barajas is still the everyday catcher but Josh Thole is now the backup. Barajas is having a tough year with a .294 wOBA while Thole in limited action(22 at bats) is kicking ass with a wOBA of .491.

CF - Beltran missed almost a complete year but is now back in CF but we probably won't see him every game as they are taking it easy on him. So far he's doing okay but the power is missing. I don't think we need to worry about seeing the real Beltran during these four games as he's going to need a while before he's that player again.

LF - Jason Bay is another Met struggling to hit in July. His TSL in July is only .155/.235/.207 so I guess struggling was an understatement. Overall he's hitting .257/.346/.403. Yikes, not exactly what they were hoping for when they signed him to the big money.

RF - Angel Pagan who did a great job playing CF while Beltran was out has now been moved to RF. Pagan has quietly been one of better outfielders in the NL posting a .373 wOBA while doing most of his work in CF.

Bench - The bench has changed quite a bit since last time. Mathews is gone, Tatis is gone. Thole(backup catcher), Felicianno(OF), Francoeur , Justin Turner(2nd), Chris Carter(of)

On the DL: Maine, Escobar, Tatis

Starting Pitching for our Series:

Game One - Hisanori Takahashi was doing a fine job filling in but like John Ely his pumpkin patch has come calling. In two in July he's been lit up giving up three home runs in 7 innings of work. If Kuroda can't best Takahashi we are in trouble. From what we have found this looks like only the 2nd sixth time to Japanese Nationals have gone against each other. Eric will have more on the game preview.

Game Two - Johan Santana is dealing.The K rate is down, xFIP says he's been lucky with home runs, but he's going to cut through us like butter.

Game Three - Early in the year Mike Pelfrey was a Cy Young candidate. We knew that would not last but I don't think Met fans expected the fall he's taken. His overall FIP is still a solid 3.85 but in July he has a TSL of 15.30/6.62/7.09 In three July starts he's only managed to pitch 10 innings.

Game Four - Rounding out the series will be knuckleballer RA Dickey who just keeps rolling along. He is what Dodger fans had hoped Charlie Haeger would be but even better. Dickey has helped save the Met rotation and his TSL of 2.73/3.41/3.78 show that it has not been a fluke.

Bullpen: Francisco Rodriquez is the closer. Raul Valdez, Fenando Nieve, and Bobby Parnell have all pitched about eight innings so far in July. Old friend Elmer Dessens has also seen quite a bit of action. Expect to see Pedro Feliciano take on Andre.

This should be a tired team after the extra inning affair against the Diamondbacks. The Dodgers must win at least two of these games while shooting for three. Like the Dodgers the Mets are struggling big time in July, we need to keep them struggling while we regain some balance.