You know it has been an all time bad Mets day when I found myself vehemently agreeing with Mike Francesca and blogging about why the Mets need to be more like the Yankees. In my defense the Mets had just gotten swept by the bottom of the barrel Rockies in a four game series which improbably featured two excellent starting pitching performances that both resulted in losses. Worst of all, the Sillies won today which puts us back in fourth and behind Philly, honestly that hurts worst of all. What could possibly make me feel better after all that? Getting to play the Astros should do the trick. Yes, Mets fans there is a team out there who is much, much worse than us. Our class of '62 pledge brothers are the only team in baseball not crack 40 wins yet, they are 7 for 43 over their last 50 games. Wow.
Friday night we face Jordan Lyles, who is to put it politely, absolutely atrocious at pitching. His ERA is 5.70, but wait! Isn't this a blog that loves to look at more advanced analytic and divine true value? Well rest assured young Jordan your xFIP of 4.30 shows a player who is just a really bad pitcher and not a really, really bad pitcher. Young Mr. Lyles has also allowed 1.67 HR's per 9 innings pitched, that has got to be close to a league high stat (upon further research, it is tied for 3rd worst). Mets win this game easy.
The Stros starter for Saturday is not listed yet so I am going to take this opportunity to talk about Dickey, who is starting for us Saturday. I would never be so bold as to predict a no hitter and I won't do so now. I am just going to take a minute to talk about the nature of no hitters. No hitters are typically accomplished by pitchers who have high strike out rates (Dickey leads the league in K's) and who can comfortably go deep into games (Dickey is second in the league in innings pitched and first in complete games). It helps even more when said pitcher is facing a team who hits poorly (the Astros have a league worst .238 team batting average) and strike out a lot (the Astros have K% of 22.3, second worst in all baseball). Dickey threw two one hitters this year and has taken several no hit bids into middle innings, you may choose to interpret the above information in any way you wish.
On Sunday we face Lucas Harrell who is in his first full MLB season and pitching pretty OK considering the circumstances (being an Astro) and pitching downright good compared to some of his teammates. He has an ERA/xFIP of 4.04/3.91. He isn't much of a strike out guy with a k/9 of 6.30 and he gives up way more walks than is reasonable with a bb/9 of 3.45. He has been the beneficiary of a ridiculously high GB% of 56.1%. If you are the kind of person who thinks pitchers can reliably induce ground balls, you should dig him, if not you should expect a big regression. All I expect is for the Mets to beat him.
Offensively the star of the team is Jose Altuve who is not just good compared to other Astros, he is actually good. His slash sits at .302/.356/.456, he has 5 homers and 25 stolen bases. This is Altuve's first full season and he as been the lone bright spot in the Houston lineup, second basemen who can hit are always in demand, if he can keep it up Altuve is going places.
As a team the Stros are 39-85. They have scored 458 runs and given 636 up runs. The Vegas price for the series is Mets -220.
And if you get tired of watching the Mets beat up on Houston remember to cheer for West Ham over Swansea Saturday morning, the game will be shown at 7:30 on ESPN 2. If you really want to be bold you can also catch the All Blacks wallop the Wallabies at 3:30 AM Saturday morning in week 2 of the Rugby Championship, you haven't seen sports until you have seen a Haka.