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2000 Game Recap: Maybe The Mets Aren’t A Good Team

It is still early in the season, but at some point we may need to question just how good of a Mets team this is. Rickey Henderson is loafing it around the bases and blowing bubbles as he gets thrown out. Rey Ordonez is making errors. Darryl Hamilton is hobbled. Their new ace, Mike Hampton, isn’t looking like an ace.

Mostly, Bobby Valentine‘s team has looked sloppy and over-matched to begin this season. Today’s game against the San Diego Padres was the perfect encapsulation of that.

Matt Clement, who had a 4.48 ERA last year, shut down this once powerful offense over 6.2 innings allowing just one run on five hits. Time and again, this team was unable to get a key hit. It should then come as little surprise that the one run they actually scored against Clement came off a bases loaded walk to Edgardo Alfonzo in the seventh. That was promptly followed by a Mike Piazza fly out.

At that point, whatever the Mets did was too little, too late as the team was already trailing 7-0. That was the case not so much because Hampton was bad, he wasn’t, but because this team just doesn’t seem as focused as they were last year. Right now, it all just seems bizarre.

Ruben Rivera of all people is hitting two RBI triples. It was just 2-0 in the top of the sixth when Rivera reached safely again. This time it led off the inning, and it was because Ordonez threw one away. Ordonez has quickly gone from a Major League record setter for errorless games to making two errors already this season.

That error was followed by a fun scenario you never see with Ed Sprague hitting a sacrifice fly to Alfonzo at second allowing Eric Owens to score from third. After that Hampton was done after allowing four runs, two earned over 5.2 innings.

So far in his brief Mets career, Hampton isn’t going deep into games, and he is walking a lot of batters. Even though this wasn’t his dismal Opening Day performance, three walks over 5.2 innings is cause for concern.

Speaking of Mets who are starting to show signs of worry, Turk Wendell got lit up again, and he carries a 4.91 ERA early this season. His outing was marked by Owens hitting a triple between Hamilton and Derek Bell and scoring when Bell threw it away. That’s right, the Mets were so bad today the Padres were hitting Little League homers against them.

If you are looking for signs of hope, it’s April afterall, the Mets still seem to possess that resiliency which marked them in 1999 by scoring at least one run in each of the final three innings.

One of those runs came compliment of a Benny Agbayani pinch hit RBI double in the eighth. Somehow, this was his first plate appearance since his Sayonara Slam. Hopefully, the Mets realize what they have in him and use him instead of letting this Jon Nunnally experiment fail.

In the ninth, Todd Pratt hit a three run homer in a rally started by Jay Payton. With respect to Payton, he looked really good today, and he has looked pretty good in his limited chances. If Hamilton is going to be this hobbled, Payton looks like he can step in now and play everyday.

Overall, this was just a bad 8-5 loss. Teams suffer these losses all the time, even the best teams. Even great teams have stretches like this. However, when you see sloppiness and listlessness on the field, especially from people like Henderson, you can’t help but start to get nervous about the Mets prospects in 2000.

Game Notes: Todd Zeile is the Mets only everyday player who has a batting average over .200. Alfonzo leads the team with a .788 OPS.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

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