Mickey Callaway backs Wilson Ramos by citing catcher wins and losses

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On their own, a pitcher’s won-lost record and ERA are not particularly informative stats. Wins and losses have more to do with the pitcher’s offense and timing than the pitcher’s actual skill on the mound. For example, Yankees starter Domingo Germán is 17-4 this year not because he’s pitched at a Cy Young level but because the Yankees average close to six runs per game. Germán has a 4.21 ERA. Compared to Justin Verlander, who is 18-5 with a 2.52 ERA.

Though cited much less often, ERA exists for catchers as well. We cited it yesterday when we discussed the fact that Mets starter Noah Syndergaard doesn’t like throwing to Wilson Ramos. Syndergaard has a 5.09 ERA across 92 innings throwing to Ramos while he’s posted a 2.45 ERA in 66 innings with Tomás Nido. Catcher ERA is problematic for other reasons, chiefly a small sample size. 92 innings is about half of a full season for a healthy starter; 66 innings is about one-third of a full season. The stat is highly prone to variance, randomness.

What never gets cited is a catcher’s won-lost record. Enter Mets manager Mickey Callaway. Addressing yesterday’s news concerning Syndergaard and Ramos, Callaway said that while Syndergaard indeed has a better ERA with Nido, his won-lost record is better with Ramos, Newsday’s Tim Healey reports. Callaway, in fact, cited a catcher’s winning percentage back in May, Healey reported. When asked if a catcher’s winning percentage is something he values, Callaway said, “I mean, yeah, we want to win, right? You win a lot. That’s how I look at it, absolutely.”

It was pointed out to Callaway, Healey reports, that Jacob deGrom had a personal catcher in Devin Mesoraco last year. Asked why deGrom got a personal catcher last year but Syndergaard doesn’t this year, Callaway said that the Mets were out of the playoff race last year and deGrom was chasing the NL Cy Young Award. It makes sense in an upside-down sort of way, in which you don’t make your star pitcher comfortable in the midst of a playoff race and make your other star pitcher comfortable out of the playoff picture.

This is not Callaway’s only head-scratcher today. The Mets have been riding 3B/OF J.D. Davis pretty hard in his breakout season. He had never played in more than 42 games in a season before and is currently up to 124 in 2019. Per Healey, Callaway acknowledged the team needs to find a way to get him some rest and even went as far as to say that the Mets will have a “competitive advantage” by having him come off the bench as opposed to playing a full game. Which, whew. That is some torturous logic.

That’s not even the most bizarre thing Callaway has said this week. The Mets dropped Sunday’s series finale to the Phillies 10-7. In the seventh inning, the Mets had fallen behind 9-7 after Justin Wilson gave up a two-out two-run home run to Scott Kingery. Callaway brought in Tyler Bashlor, who proceeded to issue a walk and a double to put runners on second and third base with two outs for weak-hitting catcher Andrew Knapp. Callaway decided to intentionally walk Knapp to load the bases and bring up reliever Mike Morin. The Phillies, of course, pinch-hit for their reliever with Bryce Harper, who didn’t start due to a hand injury. Bashlor battled Harper in a nine-pitch at-bat that ultimately ended with a walk, forcing in the Phillies’ 10th run, pushing the lead to three runs.

Callaway defended his decision to walk Knapp after the game, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reported, saying that he wanted to force the Phillies to take Morin out of the game. Morin is a journeyman reliever with a 4.55 career ERA and a 5.14 ERA as a Phillie. He’s averaging fewer than five strikeouts per nine innings. That’s not a guy you want to force out of the game. You want to force out a caliber of reliever like Kirby Yates, Liam Hendriks, Will Harris, Adam Ottovino.

Callaway was on the hot seat near the end of July due to a slumping team that was supposed to be competitive. In June, Callaway cursed out Healey and tried to have him thrown out of the Mets’ clubhouse. Thanks to a soft part of the schedule, the Mets went on a run, going 21-5 between July 25 and August 22. That stretch earned Callaway some extra rope. Since then, though, the Mets have gone 6-10 against tougher competition. They’re still within striking distance of the second Wild Card in the NL, but if the club finishes September poorly, one wonders if Callaway will return to the hot seat, particularly given the, well, retrograde ways of thinking he seems happy to express publicly.

Ohtani homers twice, including career longest at 459 feet, Angels beat White Sox 12-5

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CHICAGO (AP) Shohei Ohtani homered in consecutive innings, including a 459-foot drive that was the longest of his Major League Baseball career, and drove in four runs to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Chicago White Sox 12-5 Wednesday.

Mike Trout put the Angels ahead 2-0 with a 476-foot home run in the first that was four rows shy of clearing the left field bleachers. Taylor Ward also went deep as the Angels hit four two-run homers plus a solo shot.

“Those are the guys you lean on,” manager Phil Nevin said. “They can certainly put the team on their backs and carry us and that’s what they did today.”

Ohtani drove a first-pitch fastball from Lance Lynn (4-6) just to left of straightaway center in the third, where the ball was dropped by a fan who tried to glove it. That 425-foot drive put the Angels ahead 4-1.

Lynn didn’t even bother to turn and look when Ohtani hit a full count fastball more than a dozen rows over the bullpen in right-center in the fourth. The two-way Japanese star is batting .269 with 15 homers and 38 RBIs to go along with a 5-1 record and 2.91 ERA.

“I’m feeling good right now,” Ohtani said through a translator. “I’m putting good swings on pitches I should be hitting hard.”

Ohtani increased his career total to 13 multihomer games with his first this season.

Trout pulled a hanging curve for his 13th home run. Ward hit a two-run homer against Jesse Scholtens in the seventh and Chad Wallach, pinch hitting for Ohtani, had a solo homer in the ninth off Garrett Crochet.

“Usually when that happens, we’re in a good spot to win,” Trout said.

Trout and Ohtani have homered in the same game for the fifth time this season. The Angels hit a pair of 450-foot or more home runs in the same game for the first time since Statcast started tracking in 2015.

Lynn allowed eight runs, eight hits and two walks while hitting two batters in four innings, raising his ERA to 6.55. He has given up 15 home runs, one short of the major league high of Kansas City’s Jordan Lyles. Lynn had won his previous three starts.

“It seemed like he didn’t get away with any today,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “Just one of those days, man.”

Jaime Barria (2-2) gave up one run and four hits in five innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Los Angeles won two of three from the White Sox after being swept by Miami last weekend.

Jake Burger homered for Chicago, which has lost four of five. Burger hit his 11th homer in the ninth and Hanser Alberto had a two run double off Tucker Davidson.

Chicago’s Romy Gonzalez, who’d homered in three straight games, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.


Twenty-three people became naturalized U.S. citizens during a pregame swearing-in behind home plate.


Angels: Trout fouled a pitch off his right leg in the fourth but remained in the game.

White Sox: INF Elvis Andrus (strained left oblique) and RHP Mike Clevinger (right wrist inflammation) are close to returning but Grifol wouldn’t elaborate on either player’s status.


Angels: Reid Detmers (0-4, 4.93) starts Thursday’s series opener at Houston against fellow LHP Framber Valdez (5-4, 2.38).

White Sox: Have not announced a starter for Friday’s series opener against visiting Detroit, which starts RHP Reese Olson in his major league debut. Olson is 2-3 with a 6.38 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A Toledo.

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