Bobby Valentine

Keith Hernandez Reminder Mets Need Better Attention To Own Hall Of Fame

During this series between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals, it was announced Keith Hernandez will FINALLY be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame. It didn’t exactly go great:

The Edward Jones advertisement being larger than Hernandez’s name is embarrassing. Then again, at least the Cardinals are attending to their Hall of Fame.

The Cardinals have an official committee, and they have fan votes to determine who belongs in their Hall of Fame. More than that, they actually have a Hall of Fame.

When Citi Field first opened, there was some lip service to the Mets Hall of Fame. As time progressed, and the impact of Madoff continued, we saw the Team Store push into and completely overwhelm the Mets Hall of Fame.

Aside from that, there’s been a serious lack of attention to inducting new members. The last member inducted was Mike Piazza in 2013. That’s unacceptable.

Right now, 13 of the top 24 Mets by WAR have not been inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. Put another way, most of the best players in team history have not been recognized.

That includes Edgardo Alfonzo and Al Leiter. That’s shocking with Alonzo being the best second baseman in team history, and with Leiter being the only Mets pitcher to win a play-in game.

It’s more than that. Bobby Valentine led the Mets to consecutive postseasons. Johan Santana had many great moments including the first and only no-hitter in Mets history. There’s also Nelson Doubleday who purchased the Mets and brought in the right people leading to the best run in Mets history.

Point is, the Mets Hall of Fame is severely lacking. Case-in-point. David Wright has not yet been inducted. We can argue over retiring his number, but his not being in the Mets Hall of Fame is absurd.

The Mets need to have Wright and others in the team Hall of Fame. For that matter, there needs to be a real Mets Hall of Fame.

This is a franchise with real history and great moments. It’s well past time it’s celebrated and properly honored. The Mets need a real and proper Hall of Fame. Hopefully, it will happen soon.

20/20 Hindsight: Phillies Awaken Mets

There are ebbs and flows to the season, and the New York Mets were fighting it. Fortunately, Jose Alvarado and the Philadelphia Phillies were there to help them out:

1. Alvarado is a punk. He throws at batters. He talks a good game, but when he’s confronted, he goes hiding behind teammates.

2. Dominic Smith announced to the world he and the Mets will not be pushed around. Unlike Alvarado, Smith would back it up.

3. Before the Alvarado nonsense, he fell to a paltry .206/.225/.324. After that, he’s 4-for-9 with two doubles.

4. As much as he’s heated up, it’s Michael Conforto carrying the Mets offense. He hit the huge go-ahead homer, and he’s hitting .327/.400/.551 over his last 14 games. It’s like he’s always been this good, and we shouldn’t have overreacted to a slump.

5. Jeff McNeil looked awfully comfortable batting lead-off.

6. Pete Alonso had his own take on why the Mets have started hitting – Donnie Stevenson. Stevenson is apparently a mix of Sidd Finch and that mustachioed man who looked like Bobby Valentine.

7. Mets need McNeil’s ability leading off if Brandon Nimmo is more hurt than originally expected.

8. Mets are also going to need to see Kevin Pillar step up. His game in the series finale with the big homer was a great start.

9. Jonathan Villar‘s scoring from first was an incredible and shocking play. We haven’t really seen a Mets player make a difference in a game with pure speed since Jose Reyes‘ first stint with the team.

10. Villar running the bases is like what we used to see from Daniel Murphy except with speed.

11. Edwin Diaz continues to both be great and completely unreliable.

12. Considering Diaz has issues going consecutive days, pitching with runners on base, and the like, it might be time to start considering him more for a set-up role.

13. Diaz faltered because he faltered. That’s not Luis Rojas‘ fault. Not everything that goes wrong with this team is Rojas’ fault.

14. The Mets can consider that because Jeurys Familia seems back to form. We saw that again with his big strikeout of Bryce Harper and resulting save. He and replay really bailed out Diaz.

15. You can’t kill Miguel Castro for having one poor outing. He’s been phenomenal all year. Really, the Mets pitching as a whole has been.

16. The Mets seemingly are getting nicked up of late. At the moment, Marcus Stroman‘s hamstring is the biggest issue. Hopefully, the reports he’ll be alright prove true.

17. David Peterson has been pretty good, but he needs to be more than a five and fly pitcher.

18. Taijuan Walker increasingly looks like the steal of the offseason.

19. Francisco Lindor is going to be fine, and while we await his bat, we can just enjoy what is just truly special defense.

20. Mets are just starting to get going, and they’re already in first place. It’s going to be a great May and an even better year.

Game Recaps

Phillies Awoke a Sleeping Giant

Clutch Conforto

Mets Make Alvarado and Hoskins Pay

Simply Amazin – Don’t Freak Out

I had the privilege of appearing on the Simply Amazin’ podcast with the great Tim Ryder. During the podcast, names discussed include but are not limited to Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, Carlos Carrasco, Rick Porcello, Francisco Lindor, J.D. Davis, Carlos Beltran, Bobby Valentine, David Wright, Bobby Thompson, Ralph Branca, Alex Cora, Luis Guillorme, Dominic Smith, Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, J.T. Realmuto, James Paxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Aaron Loup, Mike Piazza, Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, Jose Martinez, Alex Gonzalez, James Loney, Moises Alou, John Olerud, Davey Johnson, Pete Alonso, Wilson Ramos, David Peterson, Joey Lucchesi, Jordan Yamamoto, Corey Oswalt, Luis Rojas, Jeremy Hefner, Jim Eisenreich, Alex Fernandez, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo, Darryl Strawberry, Albert Almora, and more

Please take a listen.

John Olerud Overlooked Hall Of Fame Case

When Carlos Delgado was five percented off the Hall of Fame ballot, there was shock from fans. Almost yearly, people look to point out the absurdity.

While understood, Delgado did not have a career as good as John Olerud‘s, and yet, we rarely hear about how Olerud should not have been five percented off the ballot.

Olerud played 17 years in the majors hitting .295/.398/.465 with 500 doubles, 13 triples, 255 homers, and 1,230 RBI. He won one batting title, was a two time All-Star, and won three Gold Gloves.

In terms of the advanced numbers, he has a 58.1 WAR, 39.0 WAR7, and a 48.6 JAWS.

Looking at the average Hall of Fame first baseman, he’s fairly well behind the 66.9 WAR and 54.8 JAWS. However, he’s closer to the 42.7 WAR7. Examining his career past these numbers you see a more compelling case.

Notably, by WAR, Olerud is the 20th best first baseman of all-time. When looking at the top 20, the only three eligible players not tainted by steroids not in the Hall of Fame are Todd Helton, Keith Hernandez, and Olerud.

Behind these players are nine Hall of Famers. Those players include Hank Greenberg and Orlando Cepeda. Other players behind him are Fred McGriff, Delgado, and Don Mattingly, three players who have very vocal advocates.

First and foremost, the 500 doubles is significant. Olerud is one of 64 players to accomplish that feat. Of those 64, there are few eligible players not in the Hall of Fame.

When you eliminate steroids tainted players like Rafael Palmeiro and players currently on the ballot like Helton, there are only members of the 500 doubles club not in the Hall of Fame.

Digging deeper into that, putting aside Barry Bonds and Palmeiro, Scott Rolen and Helton are the only players with 500 doubles and three Gold Gloves who aren’t in the Hall of Fame. Notably, Rolen and Helton are still on the ballot.

Beyond that, Olerud deserves a bump for his postseason play. In his postseason career, he was a .278/.365/.435 hitter. When you look at his performance prior to the final two seasons of his career, he had a .816 OPS. He won two World Series and was part of several memorable games.

There are also some very unique and noteworthy aspects of his career. Olerud became the only first baseman and just the second overall to hit a cycle in both leagues.

Like Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, he went straight from the draft to the Majors. In fact, Olerud would be the only second round pick to accomplish the feat.

While Hernandez is seen as the best defensive first baseman ever, Olerud is the all-time leader in defensive WAR at first base. He’s fifth in total zone rating.

Even with his being part of the best defensive infield in history, Olerud is overlooked for being one of the greatest defenders at the position. In fact, he was so good Bobby Valentine was able to utilize him holding on runners without Olerud having to stand directly on the bag.

Nearly everything about Olerud’s career was unique right down to his wearing a batting helmet in the field. Looking at his entire career, Olerud left an indelible mark on the history of baseball.

He was a great defensive first baseman, one of the best ever, and he was a very good hitter who would hit .350+ three times and have eight seasons above a 124 OPS+. In fact, in 16 of his 17 seasons, Olerud was an above league average hitter.

Overall, Olerud was an outstanding player who was one of the more complete first baseman of not just his era but MLB history. While you may still fairly look upon as his career as just short, he certainly deserved a deeper look into what might’ve been a Hall of Fame career.

Mets Old Timer’s Day Lineups And Ideas

It’s been a beef with Mets fans for a while. The Mets now have a rich history, and we want to see that honored. One way we want to see it is Old Timer’s Day.

It’s something the Mets used to have in the early years, but they haven’t had it in the time the Wilpons owned the Mets. Now, according to Steve Cohen himself, that’s going to change.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the prospective lineups could look like. This is a completely unscientific sampling utilizing just my opinion on who is popular, who Mets fans want to see back, and who can still play a bit. There are two for each position as there are two teams playing against one another:

MGR Davey Johnson/Bobby Valentine

P Dwight Gooden/John Franco

C Todd Hundley/Mike Piazza

1B Keith Hernandez/John Olerud

2B Tim Teufel/Edgardo Alfonzo

3B Howard Johnson/David Wright

SS Rey Ordonez/Jose Reyes (I don’t want him there, but he’ll be invited)

LF Cliff Floyd/Endy Chavez

CF Mookie Wilson/Carlos Beltran

RF Darryl Strawberry/Curtis Granderson

Of course, this is holding a little too true to the positions these players played in their careers. Due to age and the like, they may move around the diamond. That’s more than alright as we just want to see them again.

Of course, some will understandably opt out of have other commitments. To that end, there are plenty of unnamed options like Al Leiter, Todd Pratt, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, Kevin Elster, Robin Ventura, Kevin Elster, Bernard Gilkey, Lance Johnson, and Benny Agbayani.

For that matter, why not bring Bobby Bonilla. The Mets can have fun with it and hold the game on July 1. Before the game, the Mets could have fun with it and give Bonilla a giant check.

If you think about it, that will finally give Bonilla some of the applause he should’ve gotten as a player, and it will finally put to rest the negative narrative around the day.

The game can also feature the racing stripe jerseys and the black jerseys fans seem to love so much. We can also have cameos from Mets greats from the past like Jerry Koosman who may not be able to play.

Overall, that’s exactly what the Cohen Era is presenting. It’s allowing the Mets and their fans to move forward, enjoy the past, and have some fun.

Ranking Mets Managers

Typically speaking, deciding who is “THE BEST” at something is a futile endeavor. After all, trying to apply objective measures to reach a subjective opinion is a concept somewhat at odds with itself.

In terms of baseball, it’s nearly impossible with the change of eras. Should Babe Ruth be considered the best ever when he played before integration? Should Barry Bonds be disqualified due to PEDs? Should we split the difference and say it’s Willie Mays?

Again, there’s just too many factors at play to determine who is THE BEST. To that end, we should look at this more as who’s in the discussion rather than who is atop the list.

In terms of the Mets, we know Tom Seaver is the best player to ever play for the team. That’s one of the rare instances where it’s clear-cut. It’s far from clear-cut on the manager side.

For 25 years, it was clearly Gil Hodges. He led the Miracle Mets to the 1969 World Series partially due to innovation. Hodges utilized platoons, and he might’ve been the first manager to utilize a five man rotation.

As we all know Hodges never got the chance to cement himself as the best manager ever as he suddenly died of a heart attack on the eve of the 1972 season. You can’t help but wonder what he could’ve done with the Mets getting Rusty Staub.

In 1984, the Mets hired Davey Johnson, who arguably went on to become the best manager in team history. In addition to winning the 1986 World Series, his teams never finished lower than second in the division.

Johnson was also the only Mets manager to win multiple division titles. In his tenure, his teams averaged 96 wins. It’s part of the reason why he has the most wins and highest winning percentage. Those were the Mets glory years, and he was at the helm.

Arguably, Hodges and Johnson are the Mets two best managers. However, there could be a case for Bobby Valentine.

Valentine is third in terms of wins and winning percentage. He came one year short of Johnson’s team record by having five consecutive winning seasons. However, notably, Valentine’s teams were not as loaded as Johnson’s.

Despite that, Valentine was the first Mets manager to lead the team to consecutive postseasons. He’s the only Mets manager to lead his team to a postseason series victory in consecutive seasons. In fact, he’s the only one to do it in any two seasons.

Overall, that’s the top three, and people should feel comfortable ranking them as they see fit. There’s a justifiable reason to put them in any order from 1-3. That said, Hodges and Johnson have the edge having won a Word Series.

After that trio, it’s fair to say Willie Randolph was a clear fourth. In addition to his leading the Mets to the 2006 NLCS, he never had a losing record while amassing the second best winning percentage in team history. His hand in developing David Wright and Jose Reyes to not only reach their potential, but also handling the city should never be discounted.

Honestly, if that isn’t your 1-4, you’re simply doing it wrong.

Terry Collins has a losing record and the most losses in team history. He blew a World Series. He also unapologetically destroyed reliever careers (see Tim Byrdak, Jim Henderson) while admitting he didn’t want to develop young players like Michael Conforto.

Yogi Berra was the manager who led the Mets to their second pennant, but he also finished with a sub .500 career despite having a World Series contending type of roster for part of his tenure.

After that, well, just consider there are only six Mets managers with a winning record. Two of them, Bud Harrelson and Mickey Callaway, were not generally well regarded for their managerial abilities. After that, there’s a lot of bad, including Hall of Famers Casey Stengel and Joe Torre.

Through Mets history, it’s clear who the four best managers are even if the order isn’t nearly as clear. Past them, it’s an uninspiring debate among pretty poor choices.

In the end, your list is personal to you, and no one can quite tell you you’re right or wrong. That is unless you do something monumentally stupid like having Hodges outside the top three or putting Stengel on your list.

Short of that, everyone’s opinions are valid, and it’s a fun debate. And remember, that’s all this is – a fun debate. It’s nothing more than that because you can’t definitely prove one is better than the other.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Offense Picks Up Reed And Flailing Bullpen

For a moment, it had seemed Rick Reed turned the corner, had been past the injuries, and is now the pitcher he was early on in the season. That didn’t seem the case today as the Pirates roughed him up. Over the three innings he lasted, he allowed homers to John Vander Wal and Kevin Young.

In total, he allowed four runs in three innings, and he slogged through with 75 pitches. With the pitch count an ineffectiveness, he was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the third.

While Jason Tyner didn’t get a hit, Melvin Mora would get a rally started with a bunt single. Later that inning, Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo would hit a pair of RBI doubles. Combined with Robin Ventura‘s solo homer in the second, the Mets pulled themselves to within 4-3. It was going to be one of those games.

Pat Mahomes came in for Reed, and he was just okay. Over his three innings, he allowed two runs, which came on a Bruce Aven two RBI double in the fifth. After Ventura got one of those runs back in the sixth with his second solo homer of the game, Dennis Cook came in and was as bad as he’s been all season.

Cook allowed a leadoff homer to Brian Giles to start the seventh. Aven would double off of Cook, and later in the inning, Abraham Nunez would hit a two out RBI single giving the Pirates an 8-4 lead. With the way the Mets bullpen has been pitching, that lead seemed safe enough even for the Pirates.

That was until the bottom of the seventh when Mike Piazza jolted the Mets. After a Bell lead-off single, Alfonzo drew a walk. Both would score on a Piazza RBI double. Nunez would give back the run he knocked in when his error allowed Jay Payton to reach and Piazza to score.

The Mets were now withing 8-7, and Bobby Valentine wasn’t taking any chances with his leaky bullpen anymore. With the game on the line, he only trusted John Franco and Armando Benitez the rest of the way. The two would combine to shut the Pirates out over the final two innings and allow the Mets to take the lead.

After Bell drew a one out walk, he was knocked home on a game tying Alfonzo double. After Piazza struck out, Ventura was intentionally walked. Alfonzo and Ventura would come home to score on a go-ahead Todd Zeile RBI double.

When Benitez set the Pirates down in order in the ninth, the Mets turned what could have been a very troublesome game into a good come from behind win. As we see, their bullpen still needs a lot of help, but you will take wins like these whenever they come along.

Game Notes: It may be public posturing, but Steve Phillips has indicated he’s comfortable going forward with Melvin Mora and Kurt Abbott at SS the rest of the way. Before Reed’s short start here, the Mets had quality starts in eight of the last nine games. Piazza has a 13 game hitting streak.

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 Finally Cruises In Mets Rout

When the Mets put up a nine spot in the third inning, you would normally assume the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates was all but over. However, the Mets bullpen has been leaky, and Bobby Jones, who returned from Triple-A to pitch today really has not been able to avoid the big inning all season.

Entering that bottom of the third, the game was actually tied 1-1.

In the second, Bronson Arroyo intentionally walked Benny Agbayani to load the bases to bring up Jones. The move backfired when Arroyo balked home Todd Zeile. The move eventually did work as Jones struck out to end the inning.

The Pirates got that run back in the top of the third. Pat Meares doubled and was sacrificed to second by Arroyo. Meares then scored on a Warren Morris sacrifice fly. That was as close as the Pirates would get all day.

The bottom of the third started innocently enough for Arroyo as Melvin Mora flew out to center. Then, as many rallies start, he walked Derek Bell. The flood gates soon opened. After an Edgardo Alfonzo single, Mike Piazza crushed a three homer. The Mets were far from done.

After the homer, the Mets hit three straight with the third from Jay Payton knocking in a run. For the second time in the game, Agbayani was intentionally walked. After Jones flew out, Mora hit a bases clearing double. He then scored on a Derek Bell RBI single. When Bell advanced on an error from Aramis Ramirez on the play, he then scored on an Alfonzo RBI single.

Alfonzo hit the RBI single off of Jeff Wallace who finally relieved Arroyo when the Mets were up 9-1. After that Alfonzo single, the Mets were up 10-1. Arguably, the game was not over given Jones’ performance this season. Then, something even more shocking than the nine run inning happened.

Jones was great.

After allowing that one run in the third, Jones was brilliant the rest of the way. He would not allow another run while he pitched eight strong innings. It was his longest outing since he pitched eight innings against the Houston Astros on September 16, 1998.

After that third inning, only two more Pirates would reach scoring position against Jones. His final line was an impressive 8.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, and 8 K. You could argue Jones hasn’t been this good since his 1997 All-Star season. Obviously, Jones would pick up the win.

Agbayani had a pair of RBI singles later in the game, and the Pirates scored a window dressing run with Aramis Ramirez hitting a ninth inning RBI single off of Rich Rodriguez in the ninth. All told, it was a 12-2 win, and it was an important one too as it seems, at least for one start, Jones’ work in Triple-A paid off.

Game Notes: In response to criticism over his usage of the bullpen, Bobby Valentine presented information detailing how he has used his relievers less than he had at this point last year. Mets were 7-for-14 with RISP.

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 Homers Provide Enough Cushion For Leaky Bullpen

Well, in this three game series, it appears as if getting a 2-0 lead was a death knell. To that end, it seems fortunate Glendon Rusch walked the first batter of the game before allowing RBI singles to Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal to give the Mets a 2-0 deficit before they ever came up to the plate.

The Mets got one of those runs back when Derek Bell hit a homer off of Cliff Politte in the bottom of the first. It was a much needed hit for Bell who was mired in a real 12-for-88 stretch (.136) at the same time Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton have taken off at the plate.

Just like the Mets did in the first two games of this series, after scoring their first run of the game, their offense went dormant. After Bell’s homer, Politte would retire the next eight Mets in a row. The Mets would get things started again in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Todd Zeile struck out to end the inning.

The Mets couldn’t cash in on rallies in this game, but the one thing they were able to do was hit the long ball. In the fifth, Melvin Mora tied the game on a solo homer, and then in the sixth, Payton hit a two run homer to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.

During this time, Rusch had settled in and gone to work after that tough 36 pitch first inning. In the fourth, he got out of jam with runners on first and second with two outs by getting Politte to pop out. In the seventh, he fought through a Robin Ventura error allowing the lead-off batter to reach. Through it all, Rusch pitched seven strong innings allowing just the two earned runs from the first inning while allowing seven hits and one walk. He would also strike out seven.

Rusch was lifted for the pinch hitter Lenny Harris, who hit a one out double. He’d come around to score later that inning on a two out RBI single by Bell. Little did we know it at the time, but the Mets would need that run.

While the Mets bullpen has been leaky of late, Turk Wendell has been good. He had not allowed a run over his last three appearances, and he had allowed runs once over his last eight appearances. Today, he was not good at all, and he nearly blew the game.

The top of the eighth started with a Scott Rolen homer. After that, Wendell walked Lieberthal, and Lieberthal went to second on a Todd Pratt passed ball. Pat Burrell, who at least didn’t homer today, reached safely on Ventura’s second error of the game. Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly pulling the Phillies to within 5-4. Fortunately, Wendell retired Kevin Sefcik to get out of the inning.

Things were not nearly as eventful in the ninth. Beginning his second inning of work, Wendell retired Doug Glanville and Ron Gant. Bobby Valentine then brought in Dennis Cook to get the left-handed Abreu to end the game. With that, Cook had his first save of the season, and the Mets avoided the sweep.

Game Notes: After his time working on things in Triple-A, Bobby Jones is slated to make his next start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Darryl Hamilton will start his rehab assignment next week. Armando Benitez called Mets fans dumb for booing John Franco yesterday, and he accused Mets fans of only wanting to see the bad. With his two errors today, Ventura passed his error total for all of last 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: Rookie Pat Burrell Becoming A Mets Killer

Starting with Mike Piazza hitting a first inning two run homer off of Curt Schilling scoring Edgardo Alfonzo to give the Mets a 2-0 lead, this game had a bit of an ugly deja vu feeling to their frustrating loss to the Phillies yesterday.

Part of that deja vu was Pat Burrell being the Phillies big bat leading the assault. The other part was a ninth inning meltdown by the Mets bullpen.

After two, the Mets had a 3-0 lead with Jason Tyner hitting an RBI ground out scoring Jay Payton in the second. Al Leiter would surrender that 3-0 lead in the third with two of the three runs being unearned.

With one out, Robin Ventura made a rare error allowing Doug Glanville to reach safely. After that, the Phillies would load the bases. Mike Lieberthal hit a two run double, and then Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly tying the game at 3-3.

After the score was tied, Schilling had begun making quick work of the Mets lineup. Starting with the second inning, Schilling retired nine in a row. After Schilling retired Tyner to lead off the fifth, Leiter and Melvin Mora would hit a back-to-back singles, but the Mets could not push a run across.

That immediately came back to haunt the Mets with Burrell leading off the sixth with a homer. In the seventh, it was Ron Gant homering against Leiter to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. When Scott Rolen followed the Gant homer with a single, Bobby Valentine lifted Leiter for Turk Wendell.

You could argue Leiter deserved better on the day. Through his 6.1 innings, he had allowed five runs with only three of them earned. He would walk three while striking out seven. However, that third inning rally was exacerbated by Leiter, and he didn’t get the big out he needed.

Fortunately for Leiter, the Mets would get him off the hook. Chris Brock came out of the Phillies bullpen in the eighth, and he was greeted immediately with back-to-back singles by Derek Bell and Alfonzo. After Alfonzo stole second and Piazza struck out, there was runners on second and third with one out. Ventura delivered and atoned for the two unearned runs resulting from his error with a two RBI single tying the game.

The Mets had the chance to take the lead but squandered it. Todd Zeile followed Ventura’s RBI single with a single of his own. The rally ended there as Payton struck out, and Tyner grounded out to end the inning. Much like in the sixth, the Mets would immediately regret wasting this chance.

John Franco had nothing. He was pitching for the second straight game and third time over a four day span. Perhaps, he was just tired. Whatever the case, he imploded.

After a Gant double, there were runners on second and third with no outs. After Franco struck out Scott Rolen, Lieberthal, who is a Mets killer, was walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play. That double play never happened.

Franco walked Jordan to force home a run. Then, Valentine brought in Benitez to pitch to Burrell. Benitez was tired himself. He had pitched over an inning yesterday and threw 33 pitches. On the fifth pitch to Burrell, Burrell got Benitez again this time hitting a grand slam to put the Phillies up 10-5.

With the Mets going down 1-2-3 in the ninth, they yet again had wasted a good pitching performance, and they were unable to overcome the failures of Benitez. Worse yet, it seems as if the rookie Pat Burrell is starting to become a Mets killer.

Game Notes: Piazza is currently riding an 11 game hitting streak. Rey Ordonez has been officially ruled out for the rest of the year leaving the Mets to ride with Melvin Mora and Kurt Abbott at shortstop until they decided to obtain one in a trade.

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.