Monday, May 31, 2010

Do The Hustle!

Some people say that as Jose Reyes goes, so do the Mets. Even SNY has gotten into the argument by constantly posting the Mets' record when Reyes scores at least one run as opposed to when he doesn't. (The Mets are 18-5 when he scores at least one run and 8-20 when he doesn't, for those keeping score at home.)

But why do the Mets have to depend on one catalyst to score runs? All nine players in the lineup should contribute towards victories (unless if you're the Phillies and you can only win games when Harry LeRoy Halladay starts).

That is why Studious Metsimus is going above and beyond to find a stat no one else is mentioning that is relevant to wins and losses.

Teams that score runs by advancing one base at a time need multiple hits to score their runs. Is it no wonder that these teams have difficulty winning games? Stealing bases puts runners in scoring position or advances runners to third base where they can score without needing a base hit.

The St. Louis Cardinals of the 1980s perfected the art of stealing bases and used it as a weapon. Their pilfering prowess allowed them to win three National League pennants (1982, 1985, 1987) and one World Series (1982).

So let's see what the Mets have done this year when they've felt frisky on the bases.

Over the first 51 games, the Mets have stolen bases in 34 of them. That leaves them with 17 games in which they did not steal a base. Their record is those 17 games is a disappointing 5-12. When they do steal at least one base, their record is 21-13. In games where they steal multiple bases, the Mets are 8-3.

To find the last time the Mets won a game in which they did not steal a base, you have to go back almost a full month to May 4, when the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds by the score of 5-4. Since then, the Mets have played seven games in which they failed to swipe a base and lost all of them.

So the moral of this story is quite simple, really. If the Mets are fleet on their feet, they stand a much better chance of winning ballgames. If they're stagnant on the bases, you'll see many more unhappy recaps.

Over the past few years, the Mets have not played particularly well in San Diego. If the Mets want to continue on their march towards first place, they have to remember to do the hustle once they're on the bases. Winning is contagious. Losing is as cool as Shane Victorino in a leisure suit. (Only he could turn Tony Manero into Tony Manure.)

To quote (and slightly alter) one-hit wonder Matthew Wilder's 1983 song, "Ain't nothin' gonna break their stride. Nobody's gonna slow them down. Oh no! They've got to keep on movin'!" Movin' on the bases, that is.

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