2000 Game Recap: Mets Offense Still Doesn’t Know Season Began
Last year, the Mets torched Woody Williams in their three games against him. They hit .258/.355/.468 off of him, and they scored 15 runs off of him in 17.1 innings pitched. If ever there was a game for the Mets offense to wake up this year, it was going to be this one, and yet, Williams would shut out the Mets over his six innings pitched.
It wasn’t like the Mets had chances. The Mets had at least one on in five of the six innings Williams pitched, and they had a runner in scoring position in four of the six innings. Still, they couldn’t muster one run. The worst of it was in the fourth inning.
With the Mets already trailing 4-0, they loaded the bases with no outs. Even with Williams being wild on the mound walking consecutive batters, Rey Ordonez went up there hacking, and he popped up the first pitch. With the pitcher’s spot due up, again Bobby Valentine went to Jon Nunnally instead of Benny Agbayani, and Nunnally would strike out looking. Finally, Rickey Henderson grounded out to end the inning.
It wasn’t like this would be their last chance in the game. In the bottom of the eighth and facing Padres reliever Carlos Almanzar, Edgardo Alfonzo would hit a lead-off double. After a Mike Piazza ground out and a Robin Ventura walk, Derek Bell and Todd Zeile both struck out looking to end the rally.
While the Mets offense wasn’t taking advantage of opportunities, the Padres offense did just that against Bobby Jones. Jones actually entered this season as the fourth starter after an injury plagued 1999 season where he was left off the postseason roster. Unlike Octavio Dotel, he wasn’t even given an opportunity to prove his worth in what was a crowded and dominant bullpen.
Things did not get off to a good start for him in 2000. In the second inning, he broke the golden rule by walking Phil Nevin to start the inning. After an Eric Owens flyout, back-to-back doubles by Bret Boone and Ruben Rivera gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. That grew to 3-0 when Carlos Hernandez, who the Mets simply cannot get out right now, hit an RBI single.
In the third, the Padres would load the bases with two outs, Jones walked Boone to force in the fourth run of the game. At that point, Jones’ pitch count was already at 73, and Valentine was not about to let this game out of hand. He brought in his long reliever, Pat Mahomes, who got the Mets out of the jam.
If you’re looking for a silver lining in this game, it is the bullpen. Starting with Mahomes pitching 1.1 scoreless innings, the bullpen pitched 6.1 scoreless. That included Rich Rodriguez who did the yeoman’s work of pitching 3.0 innings.
So far, it is only the fourth game of the season, and it may be too early to panic. However, this is a Mets team who had a great offense last year, and now without John Olerud and Roger Cedeno, they are having some difficulty scoring runs. It also doesn’t help Henderson isn’t happy.
Still, the pitching and defense are still there, and as long as they are working well, we should have time for the Mets offense to wake up, as it usually does when we hit the summer months. Until then, the Mets have a favorable enough April schedule to allow this team to get into a groove.
Game Recap: The Mets used Nunnally, Jay Payton, Matt Franco, and Kurt Abbott off the bench. All signs right now are even with his grand slam, Agbayani will lay dormant until he is sent down for Glendon Rusch.
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.