Of course we all know the first two games have been tough to watch. First game is blown by the bullpen and our closer was lost in the process. Last night the Mets couldn't muster anywhere near enough offense. Many blogs are already out for blood this morning discussing the Mets record breaking 31 strikeouts in the first two games. There's no doubt it has been a strikeout fest, the Mets have a lot of players who strike out as part of their game, and the Mets have faced two strikeout pitchers. However, what many are trying to focus on is the sad song of it's the Mets approach being forced on the hitters as a cause for the strikeouts, even leading Keith to go on his anti-saber rant just two games in.
So this morning I decided to break down each PA's first pitch and see what the results are. While this is an incredibly small sample size, perhaps we can put an early hold on misconceptions.
In Game One, the Mets managed 40 plate appearances and 7 runs. The break down is as follows.
15 Called Strikes: 6 FB, 2 Change-ups, 1 Curves, 4 Sliders, 2 Sinkers.
12 Balls: 4 FB, 4 Change-ups, 2 Curves, 2 Sinkers
11 Swinging Strikes/Fouls: 8 FB, 1 Change-up, 2 Sinkers
2 First Pitch Outs: 2 FB
So out of the 40 plate appearances the Nats only threw 20 first pitch FB, 4 were balls and the Mets swung at 10 of them.
In Game 2
There were 32 plate appearances and 1 meager run.
14 Called Strikes: 10 FB, 3 Curves, 1 Change-up
9 Balls: 6 FB, 1 Curve, 2 Change-ups
6 Swinging Strikes/Fouls: 6 FB
3 First Pitch Outs: 3 FB.
Out of 32 plate appearances the Nats threw 25 first pitch FB, 6 were balls and the Mets swung at 9 of them.
Two different Nationals SP and two different approaches, same result. Lots of strikeouts for the Mets and no real pattern of taking a bunch of first pitch meat balls down the middle for strikes.
Through two games, this doesn't tell us much but so far I don't think the approach is to blame and teams are not taking advantage of the Mets not swinging at first pitch strikes. What they are taking advantage of is having two really good pitchers face a lineup with holes and high strikeout guys.