2007 Preview: New York Mets
The New York Mets made it to the 9th inning of the 7th game of the NLCS last year, before losing to the Cardinals last season, but coming so close to the World Series was probably only slightly more disappointing than their failure to hit Craig Biggio with a pitch during the 2006 season.
The Mets finished tied for 12th in the Majors in the category of hitting batters last year, with a total of 62 plunks thrown by 18 different pitcher. Having 18 different pitchers throw at least one plunk ties a franchise record, and 62 total hit batters is the 2nd highest total in Mets history. Of those 62 plunks, 41 were thrown at Shea Stadium, while just 21 were recorded on the road. They hit just three Astros's batters (Lance Berkman, Adam Everett and Luke Scott) in 2006, but they also plunked Alfredo Amezaga, Jose Bautista (twice), Barry Bonds, Miguel Cabrera, Brady Clark (three times), Chris Coste, Johnny Damon, David Dellucci, Matt Diaz, Ryan Doumit, David Eckstein, Andre Ethier, Choo Freeman, Jason Giambi, Marcus Giles, Todd Greene, Jose Guillen (three times), Scott Hatteberg, Wes Helms, Aaron Hill, Ryan Howard, Nick Johnson (twice), Andruw Jones (twice), Brian Jordan, Austin Kearns (twice), Felipe Lopez, Mark Loretta, Nick Markakis, Brian Moehler, Chad Moeller, Melvin Mora, Trot Nixon, Lyle Overbay, Kevin Reese, Edgar Renteria, Jimmy Rollins (twice), Aaron Rowand (three times), Freddy Sanchez, Alfonso Soriano (three times), Dan Uggla (twice), Chase Utley (twice), Rickie Weeks, Bernie Williams, and Randy Winn.
Craig Biggio has been plunked 18 times by the Mets in his career, and of his 2,930 career hits, 147 were recorded against Mets' pitchers. The Astros and Mets don't face each other until July 5th this season, but unless Biggio takes some time off, or struggles at the plate, he should be past the 3000 hits milestone by then. Last season, Biggio recorded his 70th hit on June 18th. If he doesn't get there by the time they face the Mets, it will be the latest into a season he's gone without recording 70 hits since 1995, when he notched his 70th hit on July 5th, oddly enough. However, the 1995 season started late due to the labor dispute. 1989 was the only other (full) season in which Biggio did not have 70 hits by the beginning of July.
But, if you're hoping to see Biggio record a milestone against the Mets, they may be visiting Houston at just the right time to throw plunk 288, if he gets hit at about the same rate he did in 2006. Last year, he got plunked for the 6th time of the season on July 8th, which is the final day of the Mets' visit to Houston.
14 of Biggio's 18 plunks against the Mets have come in odd numbered years, so 2007 should be productive. The Mets's 2007 roster includes 5 past plunkers of Biggio, including Chan Ho Park, who's done it 3 times. Park and Pedro Martinez are 4th and 5th among active pitchers on the hit-batters list, with Park at 126 and Pedro at 129.