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2000 Game Recap: Mets Beaten And Battered By Phillies

Despite the listless Mets offense finally coming to life in Veteran’s Stadium, the Mets would still be beaten and battered in their 9-7 loss against the Phillies.

After all the criticism and booing, Rickey Henderson showed signs of life with a 2-for-4 game. He ignited the Mets offense like he did all last year with a double to open the game against Phillies starter Paul Byrd. Jon Nunnally and Mike Piazza would also double giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

Then, incredulously Piazza and Robin Ventura executed a double steal. Everyone was shocked at the audacity, including Scott Rolen, who flubbed the play leading to Piazza scoring. Todd Zeile followed with the Mets fourth double of the inning leading to the 4-0 lead.

The Mets lead would last all of one inning as the Phillies destroyed Bobby Jones. The first RBI came from Mike Lieberthal, who would be heard from later, who hit a single scoring Rolen. With the bases loaded, Zeile would later let a Byrd but go through his legs. Doug Glanville then doubled, and there was yet another error in the innings, and suddenly, the Mets 4-0 lead became a 5-4 second inning deficit.

In the fifth, the Mets bounced back to take the lead with a rally again started by Henderson. He singled and stole second, and he moved to third on a Nunnally double. This wasn’t Henderson not running, but rather his waiting to see if Glanville would catch the ball. Both he and Nunnally would score on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI double. After a Piazza RBI single, the Mets were ahead again 7-5.

It didn’t matter. Jones who seemingly calmed down after that second inning got hit hard again in the fifth with Glanville and Ron Gant hitting doubles. This led to Bobby Valentine coming to get him.

Jones’ start to the season is as troubling a start as there is. He is coming off a season with shoulder injuries, and he was left off the 1999 postseason roster. With the Mets trading away Octavio Dotel in the offseason and Jason Isringhausen at the deadline last year, the Mets may not have the depth like they did last year to sustain his inability to pitch.

Isringhausen’s former Generation K teammates may also be non-factors. Bill Pulsipher lost the battle for the fifth starter spot to Glendon Rusch, and Paul Wilson missed all of last year due to injury. Who knows if they can be factors, but regardless of their actual ability, they may be needed to contribute.

When Jones was lifted, Valentine brought in Rich Rodriguez, who wound up taking the loss in this one. The left-handed reliever not only walked Bobby Abreu, but he threw a wild pitch during the at-bat allowing Gant to go to third. This allowed Gant to score on a Glanville sacrifice fly. After that, Lieberthal hit a two run homer giving the Phillies a 9-7 lead.

Neither team would score from there, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any more plays at the plate. In the sixth, Kevin Sefcik hit a one out triple. Glanville would hit a fly ball to center, and Nunnally would throw the ball home. Piazza held onto the ball as Sefcik delivered a vicious hit to Piazza. Really, it was one of the most vicious hits you will ever see a catcher take.

Piazza was staggered, but he was able to get to the dugout himself, and surprisingly, he was able to stay in the game. He would strike out in the seventh in what was his last plate appearance in the game. Like Piazza, the rest of the Mets offense couldn’t do much of anything in the later innings leading to the 9-7 loss dropping the Mets to two games under .500.

If you want a bright spot, Henderson seems to have responded to early drama, and Nunnally is slowly showing he could be a real viable option in center. We also saw Alfonzo’s and Piazza’s bats come alive. However, if the Mets pitching, whether it Jones in the rotation, or the bullpen who has now blown two straight leads, don’t get things together, the Mets are going to find themselves in real trouble at some point.

Game Notes: After missing a start to end the homestand against the Dodgers, Al Leiter appears ready to go in his next scheduled start. The Mets bullpen has so far allowed seven homers through their first eight games.

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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