Dennis Springer

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: 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: 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.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Demolish Cubs To Complete Sweep

When Mike Piazza is hot at the plate, the Mets are the best team in baseball. Really, with the way he has been hitting over the past week, he has been ignited this Mets team once mired in controversy and under-performance, and they are now going out there and flat out beating teams.

The Mets got out to a quick 3-0 lead in this one with Edgardo Alfonzo and Piazza going back-to-back against Cubs starter Kevin Tapani. At that point, the Mets appeared well on their way to sweeping the Cubs.

There was a slight hiccup as Mike Hampton would give up the lead, and once again, it was the walks which hurt him. The Cubs first run of the game came from Shane Andrews, who walked ahead of a Joe Girardi second inning RBI double. The following inning there wasn’t a walk, but a two run homer from Sammy Sosa.

At that point, Hampton wasn’t pitching great, and it was reminiscent of those earlier games when he wasn’t giving the Mets much of an opportunity to win. Instead of making this a back-and-forth game, Hampton would settle in, and he would retire eight of the next nine batters he faced. That allowed the Mets to put this game away.

The Mets offense exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning. The rally started with a Robin Ventura lead-off double. It was the first four extra base hits that inning. After a Rey Ordonez double scoring Ventura, Hampton would deliver an RBI single helping his own cause. Later that inning, Derek Bell had the big hit with a three run homer.

This was another example of how great Bell has been early this season with the Mets. In addition to the stellar defense in right with a number of game saving catches, he has been hitting the ball extremely well. After this game, he is hitting .390/.440/.584 on the season. On any other team, this would make hi9m the top hitter, but then again, he is on a team with Piazza.

That seven run fourth culminated with Ruben Quevedo relieving Tapani, and Ventura reaching on an error allowing Piazza to score an unearned run. The Mets would not be done there as they once again went to work against the Cubs pitching in the fifth.

Again, Bell had a big hit with an RBI single, and later that inning Piazza hit a bases loaded two RBI double. It was the second straight inning Piazza doubled, and it was the third straight inning Piazza had an extra base hit. At that point, Bobby Valentine began pulling his starters with his having Todd Pratt pinch run for Piazza. Pratt would score along with Alfonzo on a Todd Zeile RBI single.

At that point, it was 15-2 Mets, and the game was effectively over. The Mets ran out their B or C lineup with Ventura, Alfonzo, Ordonez, and Bell coming out of the game. The Mets probably needed to play this game a bit tighter, but at 15-2, this game was more about getting out of the game without suffering any injuries.

Hampton allowed a pair of unearned runs in the seventh, his final inning of the game. His allowing five runs wasn’t great, nor were his four walks, but you can’t take much issue with three earned over seven innings. You also can’t take issue with an RBI hit or the win.

You can also focus on Rich Rodriguez‘s struggles, but he was a LOOGY being pushed two innings to save the bullpen a bit. In the end, this was a 15-8 victory, and this was the Mets sweeping the Cubs to push their winning streak to seven. They have now won nine of their last 10 and swept consecutive series against an NL Central opponent.

Game Notes: With Rick Reed getting hit on the hand, it appears Pat Mahomes will start in his place with Dennis Springer taking Mahomes’ spot as the long reliever. Jay Payton returned to the lineup after having kidney stones removed.

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 Sweep Double-Header From Cubs

If Don Baylor was angry with Bobby Valentine and the Mets for protesting the Cubs Opening Day victory due to Baylor’s lineup snafu, he may be downright livid right now with the Mets sweeping the doubleheader after Friday night’s game was rained out.

In the opener, Glendon Rusch had another terrific outing to start the season. He followed his complete game loss against the Pirates with a seven inning effort picking up the win after allowing just two earned on four hits. One thing which is really standing out with Rusch right now is he not only working fast, but he is also not beating himself by being stingy with his walks.

When the Cubs finally got to him in the seventh with a pair of homers by Mark Grace and Shane Andrews, the Mets already had a 3-2 lead. With the Mets holding onto Mike Piazza to catch the knuckleballer in the second end of the doubleheader, the Mets utilized more of a small ball approach.

In the first inning, Robin Ventura knocked in the first run of the game with an RBI groundout. The Mets expanded the lead with a groundout by Todd Pratt and an RBI single from Matt Franco.

The Mets would then blow the game open in the eighth. After Pratt drew a lead-off walk and moved to second on a ground out (not ruled a sacrifice) by Franco, Melvin Mora was intentionally walked. Rey Ordonez responded with an RBI single. After Piazza entered the game as a pinch hitter and was walked, Benny Agbayani and Derek Bell hit back-to-back doubles giving the Mets an 8-2 lead in a game they would eventually win 8-3.

In the second half of the doubleheader, for the first time in team history, they would start a knuckleball pitcher with Dennis Springer taking the mound. Springer would acquit himself well taking the no decision after allowing three runs over 5.1 innings.

Springer was staked with an early lead when Agbayani hit a bases loaded two RBI single to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead. The rally ended there was Todd Zeile committed the mortal sin of making the last out at third after getting caught by Henry Rodriguez in his attempt to go from first to third.

The Cubs first got to Springer in the fifth with a Jeff Huson RBI single. They would then chase Springer in the fifth. After allowing back-to-back doubles to Rodriguez and Jeff Reed, the Cubs took the lead 3-2. After a Roosevelt Brown single, Valentine got Springer.

Dennis Cook made an immediate impact by picking Brown off first. After the intentional walk to Andrews, Cook retired Kyle Farnsworth to get the Mets out of the jam. If Baylor could make that decision again, he would probably pinch hit for Farnsworth.

The Mets would have a big bottom of the sixth starting with a Robin Ventura lead-off homer. The Mets would then load the bases for Ordonez who delivered another big hit with a two RBI single. The big inning continued with a Melvin Mora sacrifice fly. Piazza then reached on a Andrews error, who stayed in the game for defensive purposes, allowing Ordonez to score. This gave the Mets a 7-3 lead.

Rodriguez would do all he could do to try to bring the Cubs back. In the top of the seventh, he hit an RBI double off of Cook to pull the Cubs within 7-4. In the ninth, with Armando Benitez on for the save, he hit a two run homer to pull the Cubs within 7-6.

Benitez rebounded to strike out Tarrik Brock to end the game. With that strikeout, the Mets swept the doubleheader, and the team has now won six straight games.

In the doubleheader, the Mets had a number of players come up big. Derek Bell was 6-for-8 with two doubles. Agbayani was 3-for-4 with a double. The most surprising was Ordonez who was 3-for-7 with a double and three RBI. Ultimately, when the Mets are getting that type of production at the plate from Ordonez, they are unbeatable.

Game 1 Notes: Franco’s single in the sixth broke an 0-for-12 stretch to start the season.

Game 2 Notes: Piazza had previously caught Springer in the minor leagues, which was one of the reasons why he caught him in the second game.

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.