Who’s got the advantage?

I’m sitting here watching the Reds/Mets game on ESPN, and as usual the announcers are driving me crazy. The secret to the Reds’ success this year? Why Dusty Baker, of course (that according to Joe Morgan). The Mets’s success? Jerry Manuel has done a terrific job (Bobby Valentine, I think). The real key to the Mets’ recent resurgence? David Wright has taken over leadership (Morgan). Really.

But even when these guys try to be analytical they get it wrong. For instance, they were talking about the hot air at Citi Field this evening–how the ball is carrying better than it usually does. I’ll skip the part about settling concrete and just focus on which of these two teams has the advantage in the relatively rarefied air of the Citi.

Both Morgan and Valentine think the Reds have the advantage. Why? Because they’ve hit more home runs than the Mets; they’re more of a power team.

But think about it for a second. If the Reds are hitting more home runs, maybe the Mets are just missing theirs. Maybe the Mets will get more from an atmospheric boost. In fact, the Mets are hitting fly balls more frequently than the Reds. According to Fangraphs, the Mets are the third-highest fly ball hitting team in the majors–41% of their batted balls have been flies. The Reds are eighth at 38%.

The problem, of course, is that only 7% of the Mets’ fly balls have been homers; that figure is 12% for Cincinnati. Mets’ fly balls have been wasted more often so far. So can’t you make a case that they are more likely to benefit tonight than the Reds?

At this stage of the game, the Reds have hit two home runs to the Mets’ one, so Joe and Bobby are going to feel they were right about this. Which is only more infuriating!

Sorry about that. Had to vent.

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