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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Bounce Back 

Leaving NY with their collective tails between their legs after dropping two of three to the Yankees, including Sunday's double dip sweep, the Mets bounced back against the Reds yesterday with a 7 to 5 win. Things started looking up for the Mets before the first pitch was even thrown, as both Sean Casey and Ken Griffey Jr. were riding the pine. Casey was shelved thanks to a strained calf and Jr. was a late scratch due to his own calf issues. Mike Cameron got the ball rolling when, after Cliff Floyd got aboard after being hit by a pitch, singled to left allowing Floyd to score. After that, Floyd took the wheel and drove the Mets offense adding a solo bomb in the fourth and then in the sixth inning, after a Kazuo Matsui double and Mike Piazza walk, Floyd homered again. Not content, the Mets went for the jugular, as Richard Hidalgo followed up Floyd's home run with a single and Ty Wigginton drove Hidalgo and himself in with his seventh home run of the season.

Jae Weong Seo, who has been flirting with losing his job (again) most of the season, pitched fairly well and probably better than his four earned run in 6 1/3 IP line indicated. His job may be safe - for now. Kazuo Matsui's sixth inning double was his 20th, which ties him for second among NL shortstops in two baggers. Ty Wigginton said before the season started that he thinks he's capable of 20 home runs and 40 doubles. Through 60 games played Wiggy has seven home runs and 15 doubles so it looks like he's close to being on place to meet his home run goal but will have to turn it up a notch to make 40 doubles. I don't know what Richard Hidalgo's goal was when he was traded to the Mets, but whatever it was I'm going to assume he's meeting it. Since the trade, Hidalgo has hit three home runs, compared to four he his the entire season before the trade, and has added about 10 points to his AVG and 30 points to his SLG. Since starting off his Met career going 0 for 7 in his first two games, Hidalgo has had multi hit games in four of the previous eight games.

Elsewhere around the division, the Phillies waxed the Expos 17 to 7 and the Marlins beat the Braves 5 to 4. The Mets are currently one game under .500 at 37 and 38 and find themselves three games behind both the Marlins and Phillies.

In minor league news, WFAN's Joe Benigno has reported on rumors that he's heard that David Wright will be called up on Monday to play against the Phillies. This might explain why Ty Wigginton has reportedly been taking ground balls at first base. Obviously this sounds like nothing more than speculation but it's worth keeping an eye on. Also, Mets 2003 first round draft pick Lastings Milledge, gets some positive ink in Sports Illustrated's website. This story is a far cry from the last time a young Mets player got some attention from SI.

Lastly, in stat geek news, make it a point to read Joe Sheehan's article at Baseball Prospectus, Bias (membership not required). To me, part of the reason sabermetrics is not more widely accepted, and in some cases met with open hostility, is first, generally the stat geeks could do a better job presenting the information so that you don't need an advanced degree in mathematics to understand it, and second, they could do a better job not coming off as arrogant know-it-alls. Sheehan's article addresses this second problem in showing a little humility:
All things considered, performance analysis brings a lot to the table, and a successful team has to incorporate it into its player evaluation. It's not perfect, however, and any application of the method has to include an understanding of the biases it can introduce. Just as an affection for young men who are strong and fast can lead to a system full of decathletes that can't hit a baseball, evaluating players based on walk rates and power can lead to having too many prospects who can't catch one. The best approach, the one that's going to put the most wins on the board, takes the best information from each method.

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