Saturday, June 30, 2012

No June Swoon For The Mets' Starting Pitchers

(Photo by William Perlman/The Star-Ledger)

The month of June was very good to the Mets, but it was especially good to the starting rotation.  The quintet of R.A. Dickey, Johan Santana, Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and Chris Young started all but one game for the Mets in June (Jeremy Hefner made a spot start on June 7) and pitched brilliantly.

June began with the most memorable pitching performance in Mets' history - a moment that was 50 years in the making - when Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in team history.  Santana wasn't the only pitcher to make history for the Mets in June, as R.A. Dickey became the first player to pitch back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb accomplished the feat for the Toronto Blue Jays in 1988.

But the rotation wasn't just Dickey, Santana and pray for rain ma├▒ana.  The other three starters also pitched effectively throughout the month.  Here are the monthly stats for Jonathon Niese, Dillon Gee and Chris Young, who each made five starts for the Mets in June.

  • Jonathon Niese: 3-1, 1.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 34 K, 5 BB
  • Dillon Gee: 1-3, 3.90 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 32 K, 10 BB
  • Chris Young: 2-1, 3.30 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 18 K, 8 BB

Niese, Gee and Young combined to go 6-5 with a 3.01 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 84 strikeouts and only 23 walks in their 15 June starts.  Those numbers are very good for a team's Nos. 3 through 5 starters, but when the top two starters in the rotation are R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana, they make for a dynamic starting staff.  Consider what Dickey and Santana - who each made six starts during the month - did for the Mets in June.

  • R.A. Dickey: 5-0, 0.93 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 55 K, 8 BB
  • Johan Santana: 4-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 33 K, 17 BB

Let's take things a little further, looking at how opposing hitters fared against each member of the rotation.  We'll consider the opposing hitters' batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage against each member of the Mets' starting staff.

  • R.A. Dickey: .131 BAA (21-for-160), .181 OBP, .169 SLG
  • Johan Santana: .180 BAA (25-for-139), .269 OBP, .345 SLG
  • Jonathon Niese: .271 BAA (35-for-129), .309 OBP, .388 SLG
  • Dillon Gee: .230 BAA (28-for-122), .304 OBP, .369 SLG
  • Chris Young: .281 BAA (34-for-121), .323 OBP, .388 SLG

In the month of June, opposing hitters collected 671 at-bats against the Mets' starting quintet, which is approximately the same number of at-bats a regular player collects over a full 162-game season.  In those at-bats, they hit a combined .213 (143-for-671), reaching base at a .272 clip, while slugging a paltry .323.  That .213/.272/.323 line is comparable to what Henry Blanco did in his one season in New York (.215/.271/.300 in 2010).  Basically, the Mets' starting five has turned the opposition into a lineup full of Hank Whites.

July is about to begin for the Mets, to be followed shortly thereafter by the dog days of August.  But if June was any indication of what the starting rotation is capable of, then the summer of 2012 might become one of the hottest on record in New York, not because of the outside temperatures, but because of the heat being delivered from the starting staff that calls Citi Field home.


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