I was at the Mets game Wednesday night when it finally dawned on me that the Mets simply were not going to make an improbable play off run this year. I know that many of you came to this decision in July but I was holding out for quite a while. When we were only 7 or 8 games back of 1st it seemed possible. Now we are 15 games behind the Nationals and 9.5 out of the wildcard. We can't even reliably win a series from the Marlins who just sold half their team. So what do we do now? We solider on, like brits might do. Dickey has a start against the Astros and we hope for a no no, we cheer for Wright to to keep up an MVP season, we hope for 80 wins, we hope 3rd place, we hope for Jason Bay's retirement and we sleep peacefully at night knowing no matter how bad it gets, the Phillies are worse than us. On to the Braves preview.
The Mets face three M named pitcher's this weekend, I am going to dub them "The Killer M's" pass it on, it's a thing now.
Tonight we face former Pirate Paul Maholm. Maholm is one of those guys that we all casually mention as a decent, slightly above average pitcher but reviewing his numbers reveal a wholly unremarkable hurler. He has a 3.75 ERA with a 4.12 xFIP. His k/9 this year? A paltry 6.29 and that is his career high! 6.29 is the best he has ever done, his bb/9 are not great either with a 2.59. The closer your bb/9 are to your k/9 the worse of a pitcher you are and his are uncomfortably close, like movie seats without a buffer close.
Saturday we face Kris Medlen who from what I can tell has no relation to the Medellín drug cartel, so no need to worry there. Medlen has a very respectable 2.37/3.64 ERA/xFIP but like his teammate Maholm, he has a tough time striking guys out with only 6.26 strikeouts per nine. His success comes in the form of being an extreme groundball pitcher this year with a GB% of 50.5. Experts are split on wether pitches in play being grounders is a skill or just luck and I won't way in on it but in this case, it seems to be luck. His GB% the past three seasons has been 33%, 42%, 41%. 50 is a huge jump from those numbers and is likely just luck, as he pitches more innings his GB% will regress and we will see his ERA go up. Mets can beat him.
Finally on Sunday is Mike Minor. Minor was a much discussed pitching prospect for the Braves who has been absolute garbage this year. He has an ERA of 4.95 and FIP stats that aren't much better. Even better than that? He gives up home runs like it's his job, to the tune of 1.67 home runs per 9 innings pitched. Is it just me or did you just get the feeling the Mets could win this series?
On the offensive side the stars of the team have been Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward. Bourn is batting .289 with a .347 OBP and 29 stolen bags. Heyward is coming in at .269/.344/.477 with 18 dingers. The best part about these two? Absolute strike out machines with K%'s of 21.4 and 25.1 respectively.
The Braves are playing very well but their component stats are those of a team that could fall apart at any minute. Don't count out another Braves collapse this year. As a team the Braves are 64-47. They have scored 517 runs and given up 447 runs.