Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Whole Team Is To Blame, Not Just Daniel Murphy

Earlier today, Joey Beartran posted a piece on Daniel Murphy and his recent lapses in judgment. In the piece, Joey seemed to blame Murphy for the recent losses by the Mets. As much as I support my colleague and the topics he chooses to discuss, I must say that he's just a little nuts for tagging Murphy with the blame.

How can he say that Daniel Murphy's two moments of "brain freeze" were responsible for the losses? Sure, they came at inopportune moments, but let's look at a few other things that occurred in the last two games.

On Sunday, both Willie Harris and Jose Reyes were thrown out attempting to steal. Harris also hit a foul pop-up on a bunt attempt that was reeled in by Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. In the sixth inning, the Mets had two runners in scoring position. With starting pitcher Jordan Zimmeran approaching 100 pitches and not needing to throw a strike (first base was open), both Angel Pagan and Jason Bay struck out.

Notice that Daniel Murphy's name was not mentioned in the above paragraph. Now let's move on to Monday night's game.

Jose Reyes was thrown out at home by a country mile when he attempted to score on a single to right by Justin Turner. The Mets put runners on base in each of the first five innings against Marlins' starter Javier Vazquez and scored only one run (an opposite field home run by Jason Bay).

Again, do you see Murphy's name mentioned above? Exactly. You didn't.

Do you want to see the most glaring stat from the Mets' recent three-game losing streak, or should I say, the most MISSING stat? Let's review the batting averages and on-base percentages for a bunch of Mets players to see if you can catch what I'm getting at. (Players are listed alphabetically):

  • Jason Bay: .333/.333
  • Lucas Duda: .100/.100
  • Willie Harris: .167/.167
  • Angel Pagan: .083/.083
  • Jose Reyes: .231/.231
  • Josh Thole: .286/.286
  • Justin Turner: .111/.111

So do you see anything interesting up there? That's right. Each player's on-base percentage is the same as his batting average. I'll translate that into English for you.


Over the past three games, the Mets have drawn only three walks, with David Wright taking his base twice and Jonathon Niese showing his teammates how it's done. In case you haven't noticed, the Mets have been leading the National League in walks all year, averaging nearly four free passes per game. They're still leading the league with 384 walks, but Colorado (381) and St. Louis (379) are within striking distance.

The Mets don't hit many home runs (even though they've scored all of their runs in the last two games via the home run), so the walk is very important to their offense. When the Mets have had big innings this year, they've been more likely to do it with a walk or two than with the three-run homer.

So Joey, you can blame Daniel Murphy all you want. But looking at him as the scapegoat for the Mets' recent losing streak is just masking the real problem, which is the rest of the team. The things they were doing right before Saturday have not been seen over the past three games. When they remember how they got to where they are, perhaps the streak will end. Until then, blaming Daniel Murphy will not prove anything. It'll take the whole team to get out of this poorly timed slump.


Jake Stevens said...

Great observation Studious Metsimus. Add in the fact the Mets bullpen couldn't keep either of the last two games tied the frame after they tied the game with 2-out HRs and you had a recipe for losses.

Ed Leyro (and Joey Beartran) said...

Exactly, Jake! Those down-to-their-last-out homers should have given the Mets momentum to lead them to victory. They didn't. I hope the Mets aren't going through their annual August bullpen swoon.