Bobby Jones

2000 Game Recap: Mets Can’t Complete Comeback

The Mets have a couple of pitchers who are dealing with some nagging injuries or have recently returned from injuries. Two of those pitchers, Bobby Jones and Pat Mahomes, pitched today, and they were unable to get the job done as the Mets dropped the rubber game.

Things started well enough for Jones as he pitched a scoreless first, but he was blitzed by the Padres in the second. Phil Nevin led off the inning with a single. Jones caught him leaning, but Todd Zeile missed the ball allowing Nevin to go to second.

Perhaps flustered, perhaps not, Jones would allow back-to-back homers to Ryan Klesko and Bret Boone giving the Padres a 3-0 lead. That lead grew to 4-0 when Ruben Rivera hit an RBI double.

Jones should get some credit here. After that terrible inning, Jones settled down pitching three scoreless innings after that to keep the Mets in the game. No, it was not pretty with him allowing three doubles over that stretch. Still, he kept the Padres at bay.

The Mets rewarded Jones for his effort by getting him off the hook. In the fourth, Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza led off the inning with back-to-back singles off of Brian Meadows. Robin Ventura would double home Alfonzo. Piazza would score later in the inning on a Benny Agbayani RBI groundout.

The Mets would get closer in the sixth. Ventura had hit what should have been an inning ending double play, but Klesko dropped the ball. The Mets took advantage with Zeile singling, and Agbayani drawing a walk to load the bases. Matt Franco pinch hit for Rey Ordonez, and he drew a bases loaded walk to pull the Mets to within 4-3.

Carlos Almanzar relieved Meadows, and he got the Padres out of the jam by retiring Kurt Abbott. While Amanzar got out of that sixth inning jam, he’d give up the lead in the seventh when Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two out solo homer to tie the game.

At that point in the game, Mahomes had relieved Jones, and he pitched a scoreless sixth. Bobby Valentine stuck with Mahomes in the seventh, and he pitched a 1-2-3- inning. Seeing how well he was pitching and given his track record, Valentine stuck with Mahomes. That decision did not work as Boone hit a lead-off homer in the eighth to give the Padres a 5-4 lead.

Unlike the past two nights, the Mets were unable to put any pressure on Trevor Hoffman. For the first time in the series, Hoffman had a 1-2-3 inning. With that, the Padres took the series, and the Mets are getting on a flight to St. Louis before flying back to the west coast to face the Dodgers.

Game Notes: The Mets initial two outfield options with the release of Rickey Henderson were Jon Nunnally and Jay Payton. Both players are struggling at the plate with them hitting .191 and .206 respectively. Valentine has responded by mostly using them as defensive replacements.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Bobby Jones Is Back

One of the biggest keys to the 2000 season is the healthy and productivity of Bobby Jones. As we have already seen Dennis Springer and Bill Pulsipher just didn’t have it, and Pat Mahomes is not a viable fifth starter. That means the Mets absolutely need Jones to be a productive fifth starter.

Jones came off the DL to start this game against the Diamondbacks, and for the first time this season, or even for the first time since early 1999, we got a sense Jones can be a viable fifth starter for this club.

What made this start truly impressive wasn’t just the fact he out-dueled Todd Stottlemyre, who entered this game with a 7-1 record, it was the fact, this was not easy. In fact, the Diamondbacks would be successful in seven of their eight stolen base attempts. That’s not a typo. The Diamondbacks stole seven bases off of the combination of Jones and Mike Piazza.

Hearing that, you’d be shocked to hear Jones and Piazza were the difference in this game.

In the second, Stottlemeyer hit a two RBI single giving the Diamondbacks a 2-0 lead. Those runs were set up by Travis Lee stealing two bases in the inning, and Damian Miller stealing one. The Mets would those runs back in the fourth.

Todd Zeile hit a one out double after a Robin Ventura single. Zeile came in to score on a Mark Johnson RBI ground out. Rey Ordonez followed with an RBI single to tie up the game.

The Diamondbacks got the lead right back, and once again, it was Stottlemeyer at the forefront with a lead-off double against Jones. He’d move to third on a Jay Bell single, and he would score on a Luis Gonzalez sacrifice fly. That lead would again be very short lived for the Diamondbacks.

After a Derek Bell one out single, Piazza would come up with two outs. In a way it seems only Piazza can, he completely changed the course of the game with a monster home run to left giving the Mets a 4-3 lead. This time, the Mets had the lead, and unlike the Diamondbacks, they would not relinquish it.

In his final inning of work, Jones pitched a 1-2-3 inning, and he gave the ball to the Mets bullpen, who did the job with the help of the defense.

With the 4-3 lead and the suspect defensive outfield in place, Bobby Valentine began his defensive substitutions. Turk Wendell was double switched into the game with Jon Nunnally moving to left. Jay Payton also came into the game to take over center from McEwing.

The speedy Tony Womack would hit a two out single against Wendell, and then he was off for the races on a Bell double. The Valentine defensive substitutions immediately paid dividends as Nunnally got to the ball quickly and fired a relay throw to Ordonez. Ordonez made a strong one hop throw home, which Piazza not only nabbed, but he was also able to get the tag down to preserve the one run lead.

Over the final two innings, both teams would trade rallies which came up just short. For the Mets, both John Franco and Armando Benitez bent, but they did not break. In both of their innings, there was a runner in scorign position due to a stolen base, but they did what they needed to do to preserve the Mets victory.

Suddenly, things look good for the Mets again who have won two straight and are back to two games over .500. The hope now is they can go on a similar run to what they had last year to get back into contention and give the Atlanta Braves a run for their money.

Game Notes: Bell has a nine game hitting streak. Mike Hampton will be moved up to pitch in Glendon Rusch‘s place. After being benched again, this time in place of Johnson, Payton intimated he may be better suited to playing somewhere else.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Rickey Gone And Mets Still Lose

The Mets finally got rid of Rickey Henderson. The Mets finally had enough of his lack of hustle and his attitude. According to Bobby Valentine, it wasn’t just him, but the players as well. Combine that with his threatening a reporter, and the Mets finally got rid of the future Hall of Famer. Given how he has been purported to be the issue with the team, you’d think they’d right the ship immediately.

They didn’t.

The Mets are really running out of excuses as to why they are playing as terribly as they are. A team who was once six games over .500 is now at .500, and they have lost four out of the five games they have played against the Marlins. This is the same Marlins team who lost 98 games last year and 108 the previous season.

The Mets had a 2-0 first inning lead in this game. Derek Bell hit a one out homer, and then later in the inning, Todd Zeile hit an RBI single. At that time, the Mets had runners in the corner with one out, but the rally ended there when Benny Agbayani hit into an inning ending double play.

As an aside, Agbayani is one of the players who should benefit from Henderson’s release. Agbayani went from coming THIS close to beginning the year in the minors to being on the cusp of an everyday role. Others who may benefit include Joe McEwing, who made his Mets debut starting in center before moving around the field.

That Mets lead grew to 3-0 in the third. Bell hit a lead-off single, and he’d steal second. Paul Bako‘s throw was wild allowing Bell to go to third on the play. He would score an unearned run on Robin Ventura‘s RBI ground out.

Unfortunately, this 3-0 was not enough for Pat Mahomes to protect. With the injury to Bobby Jones, and the complete ineffectiveness of Bill Pulsipher, Mahomes was again thrust into a starting role. For the first three innings, he kept the Marlins off the board. Starting in the fourth, they’d begin to hit him hard.

Preston Wilson, who is starting to wear out the Mets, led off the inning with a double. He’d then score on a Kevin Millar two run homer. Mahomes would get that run back with an RBI double off opposing pitcher Vladimir Nunez in the bottom of the inning to extend the Mets lead to 4-1. He’d then pitch a scoreless fifth, thanks in part, to an inning ending double play after Luis Castillo reached on an error.

In the sixth, the trouble started for Mahomes the way it usually does for any pitcher – the lead-off walk. Cliff Floyd walked to start the inning, and he stole second. That allowed him to score easily on Wilson’s second double of the game. Turk Wendell would relieve Mahomes, but he would allow the inherited runner to score making this a tied 4-4 game.

When Zeile homered off of Ron Mahay to lead off the bottom of the sixth, that’s where the Mets should have put this game away. That gave the Mets a 5-4 lead late in the game. That meant the Mets bullpen, which is supposedly superior to the Marlins’, would be able to close this one out. They didn’t.

Again, it was Wilson who killed the Mets. Dennis Cook started the seventh, and he was didn’t have control. Castillo had reached on a lead-off single. He’d then plunk Floyd with one out. That put two on in front of Wilson who hit a three run homer to give the Marlins a 7-5 lead.

Not wanting to lose this game, Valentine went to Armando Benitez. Benitez got the last five outs of the game which gave the Mets a chance. They would have their chances, but they failed to capitalize.

In the eighth, Todd Pratt, who started this day game after the night game, hit a two out single. Sensing his chance to get the win, Valentine sent Mike Piazza up as a pinch hitter for Kurt Abbott against Braden Looper. Instead of Piazza hitting the game tying blast, he struck out. Then, Valentine pinch hit Jon Nunnally for Jay Payton. Despite Looper not being good against left-handed batters, Nunnally struck out to end the inning.

It should be noted at that point, Valentine had emptied out his bench completely. Actually, there was one bat left, but that bat was Rey Ordonez, who is injured and unavailable. That meant Valentine was going to have to use a pitcher in the ninth as a pinch hitter. It is really difficult to defend that complete lack of foresight and decision making.

You could say it cost the Mets.

McEwing led off the ninth with a double against Antonio Alfonseca, and he’d score on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single. Now, instead of having Piazza to bat here or even Nunnally, the Mets had Mike Hampton. For a second, Valentine looked like a genius when Hampton got a hold of one, and he appeared to hit a game winning two run homer. Instead, it went foul, and Hampton would wind up striking out in the at-bat.

With two outs, Zeile kept the rally alive with a single pushing Alfonzo into scoring position. That’s where Alfonzo would stay as Matt Franco grounded out meekly to Alfonseca to end the game.

With the loss, the Mets are at .500, and they look like a team completely lost. They are getting beat up by the Marlins, and they are trying to use interchangeable parts in their outfield and rotation. For now, the only thing they can hope for is Hampton to once again play the role of stopper and get the Mets back on track tomorrow.

Game Notes: McEwing was up because Melvin Mora was placed on the DL. He had busted up his index finger and needed stitches on a bunt attempt on Friday. This will put the shortstop duties squarely on Abbott until Ordonez feels healthy enough to play again.

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.t

Mojo Rising Bracket: (3) Al Leiter vs. (14) Bobby Jones

(3) Al Leiter – Was a 1 or 1A during most of his Mets tenure, and he gave his all battling tough when the Mets needed him most. Had arguably the single greatest pitching performance in team history with his two hit shut out of the Reds in the Wild Card play-in game. Won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2000. Became the first ever pitcher to beat all 30 teams. Wore the caps for each and every first reponder agency during his complete game on the one-year anniversary of 9/11. Trails only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom in ERA+ among Mets pitchers with at least 1,000 innings arguably making him the best left-handed pitcher in team history.

(14) Bobby Jones – Handled weight of expectations of being a Mets first round draft pick who went to the same high school as Seaver fairly well. Finished in the top 10 in Rookie of the Year voting and was an All-Star in 1997. Was an Opening Day starter three times for the Mets. Like Leiter, arguably had the greatest pitching performance in Mets history with his one hitter to clinch the 2000 NLDS.

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2000 Game Recap: Generation KO’d

Going from Coors Field to PacBell is like traveling into another dimension. At Coors, check swings go for 500 foot homers, and at PacBell, you could hit a ball harder than anyone has ever hit in the history of baseball, and it would die on the warning track. A bit of hyperbole for sure, but it does underscore just how completely different these two NL West parks are.

As bizarre as that travel was, it might’ve been equally bizarre seeing Bill Pulsipher on the mound for the Mets again.

With Bobby Jones on the DL, Dennis Springer‘s ineffectiveness, and the heavy use of the bullpen, Pat Mahomes included, the Mets opted to give the ball to a member of Generation K. For a brief moment during 13 pitch 1-2-3 first inning, it seemed like Pulsipher might surprise us all and pitch like the pitcher we all expected him to be.

Then, in the second, Pulsipher’s former teammate, Jeff Kent homered off of him to begin the second. Yes, that is how long ago there was hope and hype around Generation K. Kent was the everyday second baseman for the Mets. While Pulsipher settled down, it all fell apart in the third.

The only out Pulsipher recorded in that inning was on a Felipe Crespo sacrifice bunt. Otherwise, he walked three batters, hit another, and allowed two singles. In the end, he lasted just 3.1 innings allowing four runs on three hits. Things could’ve been worse, but Mahomes got him out of the jam.

While things didn’t get worse for Pulsipher, things got worse for the Mets. Todd Pratt hurt his knee during that third inning rally when J.T. Snow slid home on a Calvin Murray fielder’s choice. Todd Zeile got the ball home in time, but there was no double play attempt with Snow coming in hard.

Pratt took exception and started jawing at Snow. The benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. While Pratt was hobbled, the Mets had little choice but to leave him in the game. Mike Piazza is still dealing with the wrist/elbow issues from his own home plate collision in Colorado, and the Mets sent down Vance Wilson to allow them to call up Pulsipher for the start.

For seemingly his first time as a Met, Mahomes didn’t quite have it allowing two in the fifth to balloon the Giants lead to 6-0. Things devolved from there when the Mets went to Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez just hasn’t been all the good this year being largely miscast in a long man/mop-up role. Today was no different, and he would have the indignity of being the first ever pitcher to allow a splash down homer at PacBell.

Overall, this was just an ugly 10-3 loss with the Mets offense being dominated by Shawn Estes. There was a brief moment in the second where the Mets could have made this a game against him, but Rey Ordonez lined into a double play stranding Jay Payton and Pratt.

The Mets wouldn’t do anything against Estes again until the seventh when Zeile homered, but at that point it was 9-1.

In the end, if you’re looking at bright spots, Edgardo Alfonzo remained red hot going 3-for-4 with an RBI. In fact, Fonzie would have three of the Mets seven hits. Another bright note was Payton robbing Bill Mueller of a homer in the third. Other than that, this was just about as bad for the Mets as you could imagine.

Game Notes: This was the Mets first game at PacBell. At Candlestick, the Mets were 104-139 (.428). Rickey Henderson is mired in a deep slump. Over his last six games, he is just 2-for-16, and he is hitting just .194 on the season.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Lose Game And Might Lose Piazza

For some reason, the Mets were not given a travel day before flying almost across the country to play a day game in Coors Field. Anytime a team has to do that, they are at a disadvantage. That is all the more the case as the fatigued players have to deal with the thin air. That thin air is also a great disadvantage for pitchers.

Much like he has most of this season, Mike Hampton struggled in his start in Coors Field. While we can over-focus on that, fact is this is an environment ill-suited for Hampton and really any pitcher who toes the rubber.

With Hampton, it was once again the walks which got him into trouble. In the Rockies six run third, Hampton ignited a powder keg by walking Brian Hunter and Mike Lansing ahead of the heart of the Rockies order, and beginning with a Larry Walker two RBI triple, the Rockies would make him pay.

That Walker triple was the first of five straight Rockies hits. Four of those hits would go for extra bases including a Todd Helton RBI triple. Later in the fifth, Hampton’s last inning, the Mets defense did him no favors with Edgardo Alfonzo making a rare error leading to an unearned run.

That Alfonzo error turned out to be much worse than your typical error leading to an unearned run. On the play, Alfonzo was trying to nail Helton at the plate. His low throw led to Piazza putting down an awkward tag, losing the ball, and having to leave the game with an injured wrist.

Getting back to Hampton, this is Coors Field, but once again, there is question whether he is the ace the Mets thought they were getting. His final line in this game was 5.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. That’s not exactly awe inspiring, and notably, Pedro Astacio wasn’t having the same issues. To be fair, Astacio has called Coors home for two years now, and he wasn’t exactly great either.

The key difference is Astacio found his way out of jams. In the first, he got Todd Zeile to ground out to get out of a bases loaded jam. In the fifth, the Mets had the bases loaded with no outs, and Astacio was able to limit the damage by getting Jay Payton to hit into a double play. As a result, he exited the fifth with a 7-2 lead.

The Mets got a rally going again in the seventh. Robin Ventura and Zeile hit back-t0-back RBI singles, and Payton hit an RBI double. Astacio would then be relieved by Stan Belinda, and he would receive an ovation for allowing JUST five runs over 6.2 innings. Again, this is Coors Field.

That Mets rally was just too little too late. At that point, the game was out of reach, even by Coors Field standards, as Eric Cammack provided little relief allowing four runs in the sixth. After Rich Rodriguez allowed a run in the bottom of the eighth, the Mets would lose the game 12-5.

In the grand scheme of things, the Mets losing this game isn’t that big of a deal. The bigger issue and potential loss is Piazza. Fortunately, x-rays were negative. However, wrist injuries tend to linger, and no one really knows when Piazza can get back to being Piazza. If Piazza isn’t Piazza, there’s not telling what will happen to this Mets team who just started playing like contenders again.

Game Notes: Masato Yoshii, who the Mets traded to the Rockies in the offseason, is slated to pitch against his former team tomorrow. Notably, that trade not only gave the Mets both Bobby Jones and Bobby Jones, but it also meant Yoshii did not get to return to his native Japan as a Major League player.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Reds Offense Springer To Life In Demolishing Of Mets

Well, the Mets nine game winning streak had to end at some point, and really, when you looked at this game, especially the pitching match-up, aside from the Mets being red-hot, you couldn’t really come up with a reason why the Mets SHOULD win this game.

While the Reds were sending Denny Neagle, a Cy Young caliber pitcher, to the mound, the Mets sent their sixth, seventh, or even eighth starter, Dennis Springer to the mound. While Springer gave the Mets a chance to win in his first start, he looked more like the pitcher who had a 5.17 ERA entering this season.

The Reds barrage against him started immediately scoring runs in each of the first three innings to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Two batters into the game, it was 2-0 Reds on a Dmitri Young homer. Young struck again in the second with an RBI double. Instead of Young, it was Aaron Boone with an RBI double in the third.

With the way the Mets offense has been humming, a 4-0 deficit in the third would not be expected to be insurmountable. It was today as Neagle was dealing. The Mets would have just two hits against Neagle over his seven innings pitched. The first was a double by Kurt Abbott in the second, and the other was a Mike Piazza double in the sixth.

The Mets were not able to push either run home, and really, they took advantage of none of their opportunities. While Neagle was difficult to hit, he still have the Mets some chances by walking four runners. In fact, while he did pitch seven scoreless, the Mets had base runners in four of the seven innings with a runner in scoring position in three of those innings.

At the end of the day, you have to just tip your cap to Neagle for pitching a great game. With respect to the Mets, you just acknowledge the Reds were a better team today, especially with Young and Ed Taubensee putting on a hitting clinic, each hitting a double and homer and combining to drive in eight of the 12 Reds runs.

While he wasn’t particularly good, Rich Rodriguez deserves some credit for wearing one in this game. The LOOGY threw three innings saving the bullpen. To be honest, the game was all but over when he entered in the seventh inning and the Mets trailing 5-0 and Neagle dominating.

He also wasn’t helped by Todd Zeile making a throwing error to allow Hal Morris to reach and open the flood gates for a four run seventh. It also didn’t help he was on fumes when the Reds put across three more runs in the ninth.

Ultimately, the Mets wore won, and the Reds seemed to get all of their frustration with the 1999 season and the beginning part of this season on the Mets. Realistically speaking, this Mets team was going to have to lose eventually, so you just shake this one off, and you look to the Mets beginning another impressive winning streak.

Game Notes: The Mets were not shut out as Derek Bell hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth after Jon Nunnally hit a lead-off triple. At that time, it made the score 9-1. This appears like it will be Springer’s last start as Bobby Jones has begun his rehab assignment, and Rick Reed‘s palm is making progress.

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.

Best Mets Of All Time: No. 13 Edgardo Alfonzo

As we wind our way through the list of the best Mets of all-time, there are going to be some choices which are beyond obvious. The first one which really came along was David Wright with number 5. The second one which has come along is Edgardo Alfonzo.

In many ways, Alfonzo was the at the forefront of the Mets turn-around from the disaster that was The Worst Team Money Could Buy to the first ever Mets team to make back-to-back postseason appearances. In 1997, Alfonzo, then a third baseman, had a breakout year in his third season in the majors.

That year, Alfonzo led the Mets with a 6.2 WAR as the team shocked baseball winning 88 games. This marked a period where he emerged as one of the best players in the game surpassing 6.0 WAR in three out of four seasons. Over that time span, he would be the top player on the Mets (by WAR) twice.

While Alfonzo broke out in 1997, people did not really take notice of him until 1999. In that season, he was part of the best infield in Major League history. More than that, he emerged as the best second baseman in the National League, even if he would not make the All-Star team. During that season, he would become the first ever Mets player to go 6-for-6 in a game:

While overlooked for the All-Star team that year, no one would overlook him when it came to the big moments. After collapsing to end the 1998 season and just barely missing the Wild Card, Alfonzo was not going to let it happen again hitting .320/.419/.600 over the final six games to help force the Wild Card play-in game against the Cincinnati Reds. In that game, he’d immediately put the Mets on top:

Alfonzo wasn’t done. In what is perhaps the greatest two game stretch for any Mets player in team history, Alfonzo would follow homering in the Wild Card Play-In Game by homering in his first ever postseason at-bat. His homer off of Randy Johnson was the first sign the Mets were ready to shock the heavily favored Diamondbacks. Later, in that game, with the score tied 4-4, he would hit a game winning grand slam off of Bobby Chouinard:

After the NLCS heartbreak, the Mets were determined to win the pennant the following year, and Alfonzo would lead them there. That 2000 season was arguably the best any Mets second baseman has ever had or will ever have.

In that season, he would make his first All-Star team, and he would post the highest OBP of any Met not named John Olerud. His OPS makes him the only middle infielder in the Mets single-season top 10. This time, the Mets would easily grab the Wild Card, and once again, Alfonzo would be great in the postseason.

After hitting a much needed insurance home run in Game 2, a game the Mets won in extras, it was the Mets turn to exact revenge in Game 3. The Mets were down 2-1 facing Robb Nen, who had not blown a save since the All-Star Break. With two outs in the eighth, Alfonzo hit a game tying double scoring Lenny Harris from second. The Mets would eventually win that game on a Benny Agbayani walk-off, and the series the following day on Bobby Jones‘ one-hitter.

Alfonzo was simply great in the NLCS hitting .444/.565/.611 with a double, triple, and four RBI. In addition to Mike Piazza, Alfonzo was one of the Mets who could have staked a claim as the MVP of that series. In fact, it was his RBI single in the first inning of Game 5 which would prove to be the pennant winning RBI.

Like most of the Mets players, Alfonzo would struggle in that World Series. Of note, in the bottom of the seventh of Game 5, Alfonzo would become the last ever Mets player to record a World Series base hit at Shea Stadium.

Unfortunately, back problems would begin to sap Alfonzo of his power, but he would still remain a productive player for the Mets. While he had a down year in 2001, he was still one of the Mets players who wore the first responder’s caps in defiance of MLB. In the first game back in New York after the 9/11 attacks, Alfonzo drew the walk in front of Piazza before the emotional home run.

After his down season, and the 2001 Mets not returning to the postseason, the Mets made a blockbuster trade to acquire Roberto Alomar which pushed Alfonzo back to third; a move he did not want. Being the team first and professional player he was, Alfonzo responded with a very good year.

In fact, by WAR, he was the third best third baseman in all of baseball. Sadly, that was not enough for the Mets to be convinced to keep their star, and Alfonzo departed the Mets during free agency. He would return late in 2006 on a minor league deal, but the Mets never called him up to see if there was any magic left in that bat. As a Mets fan, you couldn’t help but wonder if he could have made a difference, especially in that Game 7.

After that 2006 season, his Major League career was over. At that time, he was the best infielder in Mets history, and he would be named as the best second baseman on the Mets 50th Anniversary team. He ranks fifth in batting average, runs scored, and hits in team history. H also has the seventh best OBP, the 10th most games played, the sixth most doubles, the 10th most homers, and the seventh most RBI and walks.

No matter how you break it down, he is the best second baseman in team history, and he is the best Venezuelan in Mets history. He is also the best Mets player to ever wear the number 13.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series highlighting the best players in Mets history by highlighting the best Mets player to wear a particular uniform number. In this case, this is not saying Alfonzo was the 13th best player in Mets history, but rather the best Mets player to wear the number 13.

Previous

1.Mookie Wilson
2.Mackey Sasser
3. Curtis Granderson
4. Lenny Dykstra
5. David Wright
6. Wally Backman
7. Jose Reyes
8. Gary Carter

9. Todd Hundley
10. Rey Ordonez
11. Wayne Garrett
12. John Stearns

2000 Game Recap: Ventura Giveth But Mostly Taketh

The bad news is this game encapsulated everything which has gone wrong for the Mets early on this season. The good news is despite everything which had gone wrong, the Mets were somehow able to pull out a victory.

With Mike Piazza back in the lineup, the Mets offense shut down by Jimmy Anderson came alive against Kris Benson. Before the Pirates could even come to the plate, the Mets had a 3-0 lead courtesy of Robin Ventura‘s three run homer. What is startling for Ventura is the 1999 Gold Glove winner has more errors (3) than homers (1) so far this season. More on that later.

The Mets 3-0 lead was extremely short lived as Bobby Jones didn’t even record an out in the game. Two batters into the game, he had a strained calf, and he had to come out of the game. This was the third straight start he couldn’t even pitch past four innings. As if his performance wasn’t enough of an issue, his now being injured could force the issue.

Jones wasn’t the only one dealing with an injury issue. Rickey Henderson was lifted for Jon Nunnally after getting hit by a pitch while leading off the game.

Pat Mahomes came into the game, and he didn’t appear quite ready to go. He was greeted by Brian Giles hitting an RBI double, and he’d be hit hard allowing four first inning runs (including the two he inherited) putting the Mets behind 4-3.

After that first inning, Mahomes would settle in a bit, and the Mets offesne would grab him a lead. First, it was a Nunnally two run homer in the second, and then it was a Todd Zeile two RBI double in the third. The Zeile double chased Benson from the game.

The Mets had a 6-4 lead, and that’s when the sloppiness started. With two outs in the third, Rey Ordonez would boot a ground ball leading to two unearned runs. The first came off a Jason Kendall RBI single, and the second was off Giles’ second double of the game. With that the Mets 6-4 lead became a 7-6 deficit.

Fortunately, the Mets offense was still humming. They came right back and retook the lead. Once again, it was Nunnally. He hit a one out single, and he stole second. He then scored on a Derek Bell RBI single. After an Edgardo Alfonzo double, and Ventura RBI single, the Mets were back on top 9-7. They would not fall behind again.

One of the reasons was while the Mets were playing sloppy defense, Bell continued his terrific early defense. With John Vander Wal on second with two outs, Aramis Ramirez hit a ball to deep right which seemed destined for extra bases. Bell would leap and rob Ramirez of a hit preserving the Mets two run lead and sending the game into the fifth.

The Mets would then build on their lead. After loading the bases with three straight singles to start the sixth, Ventura would hit a sacrifice fly. Later on in the inning, Jay Payton hit a bases clearing double expanding the Mets lead to 11-7.

The Pirates would again pull closer after Giles and Wil Cordero hit a pair of solo shots off of Turk Wendell in the sixth. Still, the Mets would maintain their lead, and that lead would grow to 12-7 when Ventura hit an RBI double in the eighth.

Overall, the Mets were extremely sloppy in this game, including Zeile getting mixed up on who should cover first along with three errors. Still, they were hitting, and when they hit, this team can win any game. Bell, Piazza, and Ventura each had three hit games, and Ventura drove in half of the team’s runs with six RBI.

At the end of the day, a win is a win, and for the first time this season, the Mets have won a series. It wasn’t pretty, and it came against a bad team, but it is a start.

Game Notes: This was Ventura’s first two error game since 1998. Ordonez now has four errors, which matches his total for all of last year.

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.

 

2000 Game Recap: Mets Ugly Losses All Looking The Same

Well, this game all bad deja vu all over it. Once again, Mike Hampton could not control the strike zone. Once again, the Phillies jumped all over a Mets starting pitcher. Once again, Rey Ordonez made an error. Once again, the Mets big bats went cold. Once again, the Mets bullpen allowed a homer. Once again, the Mets lost a game.

Ultimately, this Mets 8-5 loss perfectly encapsulated everything which has so far gone wrong with this team as they begin the season 3-6.

In the first, Hampton issued two first inning walks to help load the bases. This led to Mike Lieberthal once again coming through with a big hit against the Mets with his bases clearing double. In the third, there were no unintentinoal walks. Rather, Hampton was just hit hard.

Scott Rolen homered to start the inning. After a Kevin Jordan two out double, Alex Arias was intentionally walked, so Hampton could get to Robert Person and get out of the inning. Instead, he allowed a two out RBI double to the opposing pitcher, who then scored on a Doug Glanville RBI single.

Hampton only lasted these three innings before Pat Mahomes had to enter the game. This was the second straight game a Mets starter failed to go at least five innings, and it was the second straight game a Mets starter allowed 5+ runs. With Bobby Jones, that wasn’t completely unexpected. For Hampton, the ace the Mets gave up so much to get, it’s a completely different story.

Really, the Mets offense didn’t do much of anything other than a Jay Payton two run homer in the sixth. It was a big hit for Payton because Jon Nunnally has so far taken advantage of the opportunities he has had with Darryl Hamilton headed to the DL.

The Mets bats were quiet until the top of the ninth when they were already down 8-2. Robin Ventura followed a Mike Piazza lead-off single with a double. Piazza scored on a Todd Zeile sacrifice fly, and Derek Bell hit an RBI single. After a Benny Agbayani two out single, Wayne Gomes relieved Scott Aldred.

Gomes did not initially have the strike zone issuing back-to-back walks to Kurt Abbott and Rickey Henderson. That forced home a run to pull the Mets to within 8-5 and bring Edgardo Alfonzo to the plate as the go-ahead run. Alfonzo hit it hard to right, but Abreu was able to easily catch the liner for the last out of the game.

So far this year, about the only thing we have seen from the Mets that is remotely reminiscent of the 1999 season is their resiliency. We saw that from another big late inning rally. However, this rally fell short just like the others did because this Mets team has not gotten any pitching (other than Rick Reed and Mahomes), and they have been sloppy. When you play like that, there is no amount of late inning magic which can save you.

Game Notes: The Mets bullpen has now allowed eight homers in nine games. Payton now leads the Mets with two homers.

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.