Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s New York Mets vs. Houston Astros game. #PropHate

I know what you’re thinking: Parkes got off light in his punishment for ridiculously underestimating the number of runs that would be scored in an April series between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. A close game that was won in the eighth inning by one of the two recognizable players on the Houston Astros hitting an RBI single? It could’ve been far worse.

People making such a suggestion are in the majority in that they didn’t watch the game.

The world’s population is approximately 6.8 billion. Of the world’s population, 17,536 people were in attendance at this baseball game, and an estimated 250,000 were watching on television, plus whatever number of people that accidentally clicked on this game while navigating MLB.tv. No matter how you want to calculate it, an incredibly small percentage of the world’s population witnessed the Astros using six different pitchers to get seven outs.

Thank you very much Brad Mills. Thank you very, very much.

The Narrative

The New York Mets and Houston Astros engaged in a tightly contested pitching duel (read: horrible lack of offense) that resulted in a riveting game full of tension (read: naps while relief pitchers warmed up). The battle reached its climax in the eighth inning when Jed Lowrie hit an RBI single off of Manny Acosta that cashed in Jordan Schafer to give the hometown Astros a 4-3 lead that held up with a ninth inning of denouement. After reaching such heights of glory, the sky is the limit for Houston.

That last sentence is not true.

The Anatomy Of An Overactive Manager

Houston Manager Brad Mills made six pitching changes. Here’s the who, what, why, when and where for each:

Pitching Change #1
Who: Wilton Lopez replaces Bud Norris.
What: A right handed reliever replaces the starter.
Why: Norris had thrown 108 pitches and his velocity was waning, not to mention Kirk Nieuwenhuis had just brought home two runs with a single.
When: With two out in the seventh inning, and runners on second and third.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Ruben Tejada swung at Lopez’s first pitch and lined out to third base.

Pitching Change #2
Who: Wesley Wright replaces Wilton Lopez.
What: A left handed reliever replaces a right handed reliever.
Why: Over his career, left handed batter Daniel Murphy has a .312 wOBA vs. left handed pitchers, compared to a .344 wOBA vs. right handed pitchers.
When: To start the eighth inning.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Murphy flied out to left on one pitch.

Pitching Change #3
Who: Brandon Lyon replaces Wesley Wright.
What: A right handed reliever replaces a left handed reliever.
Why: Over his career, right handed batter David Wright has a .366 wOBA vs. right handed pitchers, compared to a .429 wOBA vs. left handed pitchers.
When: With one out in the eighth inning and the bases empty.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Wright struck out on seven pitches.

Pitching Change #4
Who: Fernando Abad replaces Brandon Lyon.
What: A left handed reliever replaces a right handed reliever.
Why: Over his career, left handed batter Ike Davis has a .315 wOBA vs. left handed pitchers, compared to a .353 wOBA vs. right handed pitchers.
When: With two out in the eighth inning and the bases empty.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Davis singled to right on two pitches.

Pitching Change #5
Who: Fernando Rodriguez replaces Fernando Abad.
What: A right handed reliever replaces a left handed reliever.
Why: Scott Hairston was called on to pinch hit for Mike Baxter. Over his career, the right handed batter has a .302 wOBA vs. right handed pitchers, compared to a .350 wOBA vs. left handed pitchers.
When: With two out in the eighth inning and a man on first base.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Hairston flied out to deep left field on the second pitch of his at bat to end the inning.

Pitching Change #6
Who: Brett Myers replaces Fernando Rodriguez.
What: A right handed reliever replaces a right handed reliever.
Why: Because closers get saves, duh.
When: To start the ninth inning.
Where: On the mound at Minute Maid Park.
Result: Throwing a baker’s dozen of pitches, Myers collected two ground outs and a fly out to save the game.

The Aggravating Thing The Manager Did

See above. This would be fine at the end of the season or during the playoffs and for a team competing for a postseason spot, but none of those qualifiers are the case for a game being played at the end of April between the Houston Astros and New York Mets.

Seriously. Why burn through so much of your bullpen?

It’s worth remembering that while the outings were short from all of the relievers, they would have spent time tossing, stretching and warming up which all take its toll.

This isn’t the first time Mills has done this.

The Most Important Play Of The Game

Unsurprisingly, Lowrie’s single increased the Astros’ Win Probability Added by .216. It was by far the most important play of the game on offense for the winners. Also of note though, is Lopez getting Tejada to line out to third base with runners on second and third and two out. The play cost the Mets .102 in WPA.

The Shamsky Award

Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis increased his team’s WPA by 0.22 in a losing effort by going 2 for 4 and collecting two RBIs.

The Obligatory Thing That The Athlete Said

The Obligatory Thing That The Athlete Tweeted

Why Pitch Framing Is Important

The last batter of the game was Jordany Valdespin. The first pitch he saw from closer Brett Myers was a borderline strike call.

However, as we see above, it was called a ball. That’s largely because of this:

Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro quite literally dropped the ball, and it was called a ball. That sentence probably doesn’t make much sense to a large percentage of the aforementioned 6.8 billion people on earth who don’t know very much about baseball.

I don’t know very much about prison outside of what I’ve seen on television, but I’m pretty sure someone should tell Jordany Valdespin that walking around with your back pocket untucked like that holds meaning beyond what he might be aware.

Stray Observations

I’ve been inspired to create a new feature at Getting Blanked called: Get To Know A Member Of The Houston Astros in which we literally introduce you to a member of the team.

I joked about the narrative crediting the two starters, but Bud Norris struck out seven batters over six and two thirds, while R.A. Dickey held the Astros to only three hits, striking out six batters over six innings.

Minute Maid Park is attractive. The team playing there, not so much. However, no franchise in baseball history has taken such a drastic wrong turn when it comes to logos and colours.

Watching knuckle ballers throw is interesting for approximately three batters, but then it becomes a case of, “Yeah, we get it.”

I think I’d like the New York Mets if I lived in New York. I do not live in New York.

Comments (5)

  1. That was very excessive punishment. almost as much as imagining all those damn pitching changes. Probably added a good 30-45 minutes of having to endure the game. Tough loss Parkes.

  2. 21 runs!? What were you thinking? Still this piece was very funny, thank you.

  3. At least you got to speed watch it on MLB.tv and skip over all the interval time in those changes.

  4. This is awesome shit.

  5. I actually enjoyed this

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