Wednesday, October 22, 2008

On The two Mets Collapses

The Mets have "collapsed" for the second time in two years and lost their playoff berth both times on the last day of the season.  How do you explain this?  I'm not sure.  But when I was watching the Mets play the last game of the season and the last few weeks of the season I thought I was watching a rerun of last season, because the exact same thing happened.  This is where I was wrong.  In 2007 the Mets cruised to the top ofd the NL, being 15 games over .500 already in the early stages of May.  After that the Mets hovered around .500 until ending the season at 88-74.  This means that from May 12-October 1, the Mets finished one game below .500, pathetic.  This is called a collapse.  The Mets of 2008 started the year off by going 30-31. After June 7, the Mets went 59-42, 17 games over .500, while the Phillies went 54-44.  So in 2008 the Mets played excellent in the second half of the season, they lost their playoff spot in the first half.  It's true that the Mets were 3 1/2 games up as late as September 1o, but they hadn't had an extended dry spell since the first two months of the season so they were bound to have one. You can't even say that the timing was unfortunate because if this would've happened in July the Mets season still would've ended with the same result, one game back, out of the playoffs.

The Mets last year had seen their pitching staff decline in every month starting out at a superb 3.5/9(runs per nine) for all of April and finishing off the season at a horrific 5.7/9 for September.  This decline was the key to their demise and not the supposed hitting collapse that all the newspapers wrote about after the "collapse".  The hitters actually had their best month of the year in September rising above their average of 4.6 runs scored per game all the way to 5.7 in September.  This is because of the return of Moises Alou who hit .341/.392/.524 over the course of the 2007 season and hit even higher after he came off the DL in late August.

In 2008 the Mets had the second best offense in the NL(behind the Cubs) scoring 5 runs per game, along with leading the MLB in adjusted EqA(equivalent average).  Their starting rotation which lost John Maine late in the season(for all of September) and had Pedro for only a small portion of the season still ranked 5th in SNLVR(Support Neutral Lineup Adjusted Value Above Replacement)in the majors.  This means the Mets starting pitching saved the 5th most runs over what a AAA staff would've done in the MLB(the Jays led with 25.9) with 23.6.  This stat takes these factors out of the equation: park effect, opponents, (your team's)lineup/hitting, (your team's)bullpen and (your team's)defense.  It basically isolates pitching from every other aspect of the game.  The Mets were also 2nd in the NL Defensive Efficiency.  This clearly shows you that the Mets were in the top 5 teams in the MLB.  But if the playoffs are supposed to have the top 8 teams in the MLB how'd the Mets not make it?  The Mets outplayed the Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers and White Sox this past season and still didn't make it to the playoffs.  This is all because of the Mets horrendous bullpen. 

If the Mets had made it to the playoffs they would've had the 7th worst WXRL(a stat that isolates bullpen performance) in playoff history.  The saddest part about this is that the bottom 6 all ranged from 11-16(the middle of the pack) overall in the MLB meaning that the Mets really would've had the worst bullpen in playoff history because they ranked 26th in the majors this year.  

Both years the Mets lost because of pitching, both years they attribute the "collapse" to the hitting.  In reality the Mets could've used a hitting first basemen, right fielder, catcher and second basemen for the whole season in 2007/2008 but this WAS NOT the reason for their team's collapse.  I think the conclusion is now pretty clear, the Mets need to stockpile arms this offseason.