We've got four coming up against the 18-15 Mets who are in a tight race with the Phillies, Braves and Marlins in the NL East. The only "underperforming" team in that division is the one we just played--the Nationals. Their "expected" or "Pythagorean" record is 14-18 but they sit at 11-21. We have scored 132 runs and given up 141, and the formula** says we should be at 16-17, so we are "overperforming" a bit, but I think we knew that intuitively.
Tonight it is Jonathan Sanchez and his 5.26 FIP going against John Maine. Sanchez' FIP last year was a very good 3.85 (lower than Matt Cain's!). This year he has 27 strikeouts in 26-1/3 innings, but he's killing himself with 22 walks in the same span. Let's hope he finds his groove. Interestingly, Maine's having a similar (though not as bad) problem--he's got 20 walks in 33-2/3 innings to go with his 25 strikeouts. Maine is a career 4.21 ERA/4.62 FIP pitcher. He's a righty so maybe we'll see Mississippi Fred back in the starting lineup.
Tomorrow Tim Lincecum gets the ball, and his counterpart is the one and only Livan Hernandez. Livan is like one of those skin diseases you can never get rid of. I'm amazed the Mets wanted him at all, but I guess "innings-eater" is like Veteran Savvy Clutchness, something GMs can't get enough of. He's racked up 33-2/3 IP in 6 starts and his FIP and ERA match at 5.08. Bring him on, I say. This is a mismatch, of course, and we've all seen those blow up in our faces. This time we have The Franchise, though, and I expect him to dominate. Not much more to add about Tim--here's another gushing piece. Tim has a 1.83 FIP, and that's just filthy (only Zack Greinke's is lower).
It is too bad that the marquee matchup didn't happen--Johan Santana pitches Saturday against the Great Old One. Like Lincecum, there's not much to add about Santana. His 2.08 FIP is 3rd in baseball, just behind Tim. He's one of the game's elites, and we will have a tough task. Who knows which Unit will show up? In 36-2/3 IP he has 39 Ks but has yielded TEN homeruns. Yikes. The FIP is just as ugly at 5.94.
My man Matt Cain goes on Sunday, and then we have a travel day. Despite Matt's 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA, his 4.85 FIP is worrisome. Let's hope he keeps his walks down and gets in a good ground ball groove. He's tough and smart and pitching at home, so that should work in his favor. Mike Pelfrey is 4-0 but doing it with a 4.89 ERA and a 5.55 FIP. He's got only 9 strikeouts to go with 15 walks and 40 hits in 35 IP.
This is a big test--a good club coming to our yard where we are 12-5. Let's hope our starters are up to the task. The Metropolitans are 2nd in the league (to the Nats) with an .804 OPS.
**The formula for X W-L is RS^1.82/((RS^1.82)+(RA^1.82)).