200 Miles From the Citi

July 6, 2010 1:13 PM

Bucking A Trend


First of all, how cool is this picture of Monday night's fireworks show at Citi Field, following the Mets' loss to the Cincinnati Reds?

I'm resisting the temptation to tie the following story in to the picture by saying something like, the Mets are on the verge of an explosive situation.

Or the Mets provided some firepower Monday night, but it was Joey Votto's bat that really sparkled.

Nope.  It's just a cool-looking unrelated picture.

We're here to talk about the Mets pitchers' bases on balls.

It's been a while since we talked about the Mets pitching staff and their propensity to dish out free baserunners to the opposition.

And the truth is, it hasn't been as much of a problem recently.  But Mike Pelfrey's outing Monday night, where he got himself into trouble with four walks, brought it back into the forefront of my mind.  Because the Mets are still among baseball's leaders in walks allowed:

1.  San Francisco Giants: 334 walks in 740.2 IP
2.  Milwaukee Brewers:  326 walks in 738.1 IP
3.  New York Mets:  316 walks in 744.1 IP
4.  Arizona Diamondbacks:  309 walks in 733 IP
5.  Cleveland Indians:  308 walks in 721 IP

Which team in that group stands out to you?  The Mets are nine games above .500. Other than the Giants, who are 42-40, the other teams are pretty bad - the Brewers are nine games under .500, the Diamondbacks are 32-51 (and fresh off firing their manager and GM), and the Indians are 33-49.

To be honest, I have no clue how many runs teams score off the walks the Mets allow.  Some pitchers (like Pelfrey) have seemed to be able to avoid terrible problems despite the number of walks they allow.  Other players (Francisco Rodriguez comes to mind) seem to pay the price immediately.  But there's a reason 4 of the top 5 teams in walks allowed are out of contention (the Giants are fading fast) - it's something that is bound to even out.

It's too damaging.  It gives the opponents baserunners.  It causes the pitcher to throw too many pitches.  It doesn't engage the defense.  It looks bad in the stats column.

So far the Mets have been able to avoid the many problems associated with walks.  They seem to be able to win in spite of the number of baserunners they allow.  Here's the craziest stat of all:

At home, where the Mets are dominant, they are third in all of baseball in walks allowed.  On the road, walks are one of the areas they don't struggle - not even in the top 10 - they're 11th.  

It's just another area where these 2010 Mets are defying the odds.  And I won't mind so long as the law of averages doesn't catch up to them.

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