A brief, simplistic sabermetrics primer, if you will. We all know what ERA is — Earned Run Average, or the average amount of runs a pitcher gives up per appearance. FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, which in laymen’s terms is exactly how it sounds: an attempt to strip out the defense’s contribution to ERA. Pitchers don’t control much once a ball is in play, so why attempt to reward or punish them for it?
It’s not perfect, of course; no statistic is. Nevertheless, one can often use FIP to determine if a pitcher’s seeming success is a mirage; or, conversely, if some poor surface level counting stats are more a result of bad luck than bad stuff.
In Jose Urena’s case, we’ve been tracking his lopsided ERA/FIP ratio ever since he joined the rotation. Coming into tonight, Ureña had a pleasant 3.33 ERA and hadn’t been saddled with a loss since the middle of May, but also had an ominous 5.07 FIP to go along with the nice surface stats. These large discrepancies have a tendency to even out over time. Not always, but often enough to take them seriously.
Connor put it succinctly on twitter during the game:
When your FIP is 2 runs higher than your ERA, this is bound to happen.— FishStripes (@fishstripes) June 30, 2017
Now I don’t want to make it sound like Ureña’s positive run in the rotation has been all luck and solid defensive play behind him. There is real talent there and he’s easily the third best starter in the organization at the moment (and some would probably readily debate the idea of Edinson Volquez over him). Ureña has legit velocity averaging 96.2 MPH on his fastball this season, and excellent speed change on his secondary pitches (dropping down almost 10 MPH on the slider!).
Still very much a boon to an injury-plagued, depleted rotation. He just might not be “mid-3’s ERA good” going forward. That’s all I’m saying.
What? Oh, yeah, the recap. So as you might have surmised from that intro, Ureña was largely ineffective tonight, giving up six runs (three earned), striking out four...but walking none and still making it through six innings, so not entirely without merit. The Mets have really been putting a hurting on the ball as of late, and true to form, four of eight hits went for extra bases including three doubles off of Ureña that accounted for the bulk of the damage.
The Marlins found themselves down 5-0 in the fourth when they first appeared on the scoreboard courtesy of a Standong solo shot to bring our score to 5-1 Mets.
Moving forward to the sixth the Marlins struck again as the dreaded third time through the order bug struck Seth Lugo. After the pinch-hitting Tyler Moore flied out to right, Dee Gordon drew a walk and promptly stole second was thrown out trying to steal second. It was close, but at the time it felt like a rally killer. Sure enough, Stanton and Christian Yelich would follow up with back to back singles, the latter of which Gordon would’ve certainly scored on.
Martin Prado would make sure that the inning didn’t go for not, though, by singling as well. Stanton stumbled round third and looked like he might get nailed at the plate, but lunged for the corner at the last second instead of sliding, clipping Rene Rivera and sending both of them tumbling, 5-2 Mets. A ball in the dirt got past a still shaken Rivera and Yelich came home making it 5-3 Mets and seemingly putting the Marlins on the comeback trail.
It was not to be, however. The Marlins were tidily shut down the next three innings by the Mets bullpen, while the Mets were able to tack on an insurance run in the seventh when Matt Reynolds tripled off of Nick Wittgren and Jose Reyes hit a sac fly off of Jarlin Garcia to drive him in, bringing us to our final score of 6-3 Mets.
Tough night for Justin Bour in particular who struck out three times. Dustin McGowan and Vance Worley would each pitch a clean inning near the end of the game.
With the loss the Marlins fall to seven under .500 at 35-42. They will travel to Milwaukee on Friday to take on the surprising first place Brewers (42-39) for three. Edinson Volquez will get the start, taking on Matt Garza, 8:10 ET start.
King Fish: Jay Bruce (.197)
Flounder: José Ureña (-.255)
Play of the game: Jay Bruce RBI double in the third (.105)