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The Numbers Game

Bartolo Colon has 9 wins. Jeurys Familia has 18 saves. Those are some pretty cool numbers, even for our sophisticated statistical times.

Wins have been discredited as a leading indicator of starting pitcher effectiveness and are all but useless for measuring anything a reliever does, but when the starter always earns the decision, I don’t think you can completely dismiss its conclusions. Colon has started 13 games in 2015 and is 9-4. He’s been doing the heavy lifting every time he’s won. In each of those 9 starts, he’s gone at least 6 innings. Only one of them wasn’t a “quality” start, and we can swap out his having won 7-4 on that occasion for his hard-luck losing [1] (2-1) to Arizona in his most recent start prior to last night.

As for last night, he kept his own luck together, distributing but 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs to Atlanta over 6 frames. The Mets led when he exited, which would explain the 9th win.

Also contributing Friday in an explanatory nature: Wilmer Flores’s 10th home run; the 3 late-game double plays begun by Dilson Herrera; the 2nd game in a row in which Michael Cuddyer came through with a key RBI; and John Mayberry’s 1st Citi Field home run.

Oh, and don’t forget that 18th save out of Familia. I was surprised to learn, despite watching him all season, that Jeurys had 17 saves coming in. They’ve quietly and effectively accumulated, which isn’t a bad way for saves to collect.

Saves are also a limited stat, having been jury-rigged for the benefits of agents and their clients and perhaps to increase the royalties paid to groups like Metallica and AC/DC. You can’t say the Tsuris [2] brothers, Alex and Carlos, didn’t help save the Mets’ bacon-flavored strips by throwing the ground balls that became 2 of those Herrera-engineered twin-killings in the 7th and 8th (never mind that they placed the runners on base to give Dilson so much to work with). Still, you get to the 9th, and you get there ahead by 2 runs, you want to get out alive.

Familia kept us vital. It was a less simple process than usual — two walks sandwiched a base hit — but when Jeurys, who might have had other things on his mind [3], had to get Nick Markakis to cooperate, he succeeded. It went 4-6-3 and ensured a 5-3 victory [4].

Scoff at saves if you like, but you’ll never reject them when you receive them.