Break up the Mets! I know, winning two-of-three from the Marlins this weekend is no reason to celebrate. But excuse me if I take a moment to savor the feeling of a winning record. It may be the only chance I have over the next six months to peek my head above .500.
Two stats stand out from this weekend’s opening series — one of which I invented last night. The first is the Mets’ hideous and almost comical distinction of allowing the most consecutive grand slams without hitting one themselves. Their major league record now stands at 17, after John Buck’s blast off of Mike Pelfrey during his patented fourth inning implosion on Friday night. The Mets had a chance to end this embarrassing streak today but David Wright and Ike Davis both fanned with the bags full. This is one of those statistical oddities that would never be acknowledged if it weren’t so absurdly improbable. The last Met to go deep with the bases loaded was Angel Pagan in August of 2009. Last season, the Mets allowed 12 slams without accounting for one of their own. How is that possible? This is a “record” that may stand for another 100 years. Seriously.
The other stat worth noting is what I call WDKR. I know, it sounds like an FM radio station but it stands for Wins Despite K-Rod. I conjured it up after the Mets wildly erratic, temperamental closer blew his first save opportunity of the year in the ninth inning last night. At first, I blew a gasket and wanted to toss the guy back into the holding cell at Citi Field. But when the Mets pulled out the 6-4 win in the 10th, it proved to be a blessing in disguise. Which is really the beauty of WDKR.
K-Rod has a vesting option of $17.5 million if he finishes 55 games in 2011. This is an extremely unlikely scenario considering, a) how unreliable K-Rod has been over the past two seasons, and b) the unlikelihood that the Mets will contend for a playoff spot this year and afford him such an opportunity. He would need at least 40 saves, plus another 15 or so non-save appearances just to keep his arm fresh — remember, when he coughs up a win, it’s because he’s rusty . . . or maybe because he’s been overused. I can’t remember which lame excuse holds the most water. Nonetheless, if K-Rod and the Mets have a surprisingly good season, he could flirt with that 55 number into September. That would make the Mets sweat a little, but there is no chance they are shelling out the $17.5 million — mainly because they do not have the money plus their fan base would stage a revolt. If they have to, they’ll lock K-Rod in the trainer’s room or spike his Red Bull between innings to limit his appearances, but I’m sure they’d prefer not to resort to such acts of subterfuge.
So anytime he can blow a save, not finish the game, and the Mets still win in extra innings, that’s a double-win — except K-Rod, of course. Chalk one up in the W column, and take one way from the vesting column.
With $17.5 million at stake, this is a stat worth watching.