Derek Bell

2000 Game Recap: Pratt Caps Off Grand Comeback

If you thought this game went long, you were right. In fact, this back-and-forth 4:09 game between the Mets and Dodgers was the longest nine inning game in Mets history. That also makes it the longest Mets nine inning victory in team history.

Melvin Mora was rushed back off the DL after Rey Ordonez‘s injury, and he found himself atop the lineup and playing center. If there was any rust, Mora did not show it hitting a lead-off single, and stealing second. On his stolen base attempt, former Met Todd Hundley threw it away allowing Mora to go to third. That allowed him to score easily on Edgardo Alfonzo‘s RBI single.

The Mets did not enjoy the lead for very long. In the third, the Dodgers broke through against Bobby Jones. The trouble started with a Todd Hollandsworth lead-off walk. Hollandsworth stole second, but Jones almost got out of the inning after getting the next two Dodgers out.

Jones could not get Shawn Green out who hit an RBI single and advanced to second on a Mora error. Green would then score on an Eric Karros two run homer. That homer gave the Dodgers a 3-1 lead.

Dodgers starter Eric Gagne would only last four plus. After he allowed an Alfonzo double and Mike Piazza RBI single, he was lifted for Matt Herges. While Herges was relief in the fifth getting the Dodgers out of the jam, he was not that in the sixth.

After quick strikeouts of Kurt Abbott and Jones, Herges consecutive singles to Mora and Derek Bell. On the Bell infield single, Dave Hansen threw it away allowing Mora and Bell to go to second and third. That allowed both runners to score on the ensuing Alfonzo RBI single which gave the Mets a 4-3 lead.

At that point, Jones had pitched reasonably well. Over five innings, he had allowed just three runs on six hits and two walks. At 87 pitches, you understood why he was sent out there for the bottom of the sixth. Still, after former Met Hundley led off the inning with a double, he got the quick hook with Dennis Cook coming into the game to face the left-handed Hansen.

Davey Johnson countered to putting Kevin Elster into the game as a pinch hitter. As an aside, that’s a sentence which could have been written a decade ago back when Hundley, Johnson, and Elster were all Mets.

Elster singled putting runners at the corners. Geronimo Berroa then pinch hit for Herges, and he drove home Chad Kreuter, who pinch ran for an injured Hundley. Cook finally got a lefty in Hollandsworth, and he struck him out.

With the known right-handed batters coming up, Bobby Valentine brought in Pat Mahomes, who has been really overworked of late. Mahomes allowed an RBI single to Mark Grudzielanek before retiring Gary Sheffield to end the inning. With that, the Mets 4-3 lead had become a 5-4 deficit.

That’s where the score was in the ninth when the Dodgers brought in Jeff Shaw to close out the game. Mike Piazza would get the inning started with a lead-off single on the first pitch Shaw threw. With the slow-footed Piazza representing the tying run, Valentine sent in Jay Payton to pinch run.

After Robin Ventura walked on four pitches, Payton would score the tying run on a Todd Zeile RBI single. That also had the go-ahead run in scoring position. The Dodgers not wanting to lose the game brought in Terry Adams to relieve Shaw.

With the go-ahead run on second with no outs, Valentine made the curious decision of having Joe McEwing pinch hit for Benny Agbayani to bunt the runners over. Instead, McEwing would strike out. After Kurt Abbott walked, Jon Nunnally struck out.

That put the game on Mora’s shoulders. He had a tough seven pitch at-bat where he drew a walk forcing home the go-ahead run. That brought up John Franco‘s spot in the batting order. With Piazza already out of the game with Payton pinch running for him, Valentine sent up Todd Pratt. Pratt would deliver a grand slam to put the Mets up 10-5.

Armando Benitez entered the game in the ninth, and he quickly shut the door. With a victory in this long, long game, the Mets have put themselves in a position to have a winning road trip with one game remaining. That’s not too bad considering how poorly things went in San Diego to start this insane three city two time zone road trip.

Game Notes: Ordonez is expected to miss at least six weeks. Mora and Abbott are expected to split the shortstop duties in his absence. Today, Mora was in center, and Abbott was at short.

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: Rey Ordonez Breaks Arms In Loss

It was a play only Rey Ordonez could make. After F.P. Santangelo had his at-bat extended by a Robin Ventura error on a foul ball pop up, he walked. Al Leiter picked Santangelo off first, and Todd Zeile made a poor throw. For any other shortstop, this would have been a ball thrown into left field.

However, this is Ordonez. He made one of the most incredible plays you will ever see. Ordonez lunged to get the errant throw, and he then twisted in the air getting the tag on Santangelo to record the out. That wasn’t the only out on the play. The defensive wizard Ordonez broke his arm on the play, and he is going to be headed to the DL.

Ordonez wouldn’t be the only loss for the Mets. For the first time all season, the Mets would lose a game Leiter started.

Like the last time the Mets went out west, which was somehow little over a week ago, the Mets hot bats went cold against a mediocre pitcher. This time, it was Chan Ho Park who shut them down.

Over the first six-and-a-half innings, both teams would put together rallies, but they would each fall short. For example, the Mets twice had two on, and they failed to score. As for the Dodgers, they were shooting themselves in the foot.

In the second, Mike Piazza threw out his old roommate Eric Karros trying to steal a base to end the inning. In the fifth, Karros tried to score from first on a Chad Kreuter double, and he was thrown out at the plate on a Joe McEwingKurt Abbott relay. Abbott’s throw was high, but Piazza had enough time to leap, land, and put down the tag. In the sixth, Karros was not going to run the Dodgers out of the inning.

In that sixth inning, Leiter just lost it. He gave up a single to Jose Vizcaino to start the inning. After a Park sacrifice bunt Leiter hit the next two batters to load the bases with one out. Leiter was all over the place, and after throwing a first pitch ball to Shawn Green, he tried to throw a strike. Instead, he made a mistake, a big mistake as Green hit a grand slam.

It was a shame that happened as Leiter was very good in this game other than that stretch. In fact, other than that inning, Leiter had allowed just three other hits and issued one walk. If not for this sixth inning meltdown, who knows how much longer this game would’ve gone.

The Mets bullpen did their job with Rich Rodriguez and Jim Mann combining to pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth to give the Mets a chance. To their credit, the Mets would rally in the ninth against Dodgers closer Jeff Shaw.

Benny Agbayani led off the ninth with a single, and there would be runners on first and second with one out after a Matt Franco pinch hit walk. After a Derek Bell ground out, McEwing hit an RBI double. Unfortunately, that was the only run the Mets would score in the 4-1 loss as Edgardo Alfonzo grounded out to end the game.

For the Mets, the loss is one thing. The bigger issue for the team going forward is going to be how they are going to handle shortstop for the next two months as Ordonez’s broken arm heals.

Game Notes: Melvin Mora is expected to come off the DL after this road trip. It remains to be seen if he will be rushed back with Ordonez hitting the DL and Abbott hitting just .200. This was Mann’s MLB debut. Given what the Mets decided to do with Rick Reed, he may stay on the roster for a longer stretch than originally anticipated.

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 Cardinals

The one thing which has plagued Glendon Rusch this season has been a lack of run support. While the vast majority of his starts have him going deep into the game allowing few runs, the Mets offense has not given him runs to help those strong outings lead to wins. Today was different.

After hitting two homers yesterday, including the game winning grand slam, Todd Zeile hit a second inning homer off of Darryl Kile to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived as the Cardinals got it right back in the bottom of the second. Mark McGwire led off the inning with a double, and he would come around to score on a Placido Polanco sacrifice fly.

The Mets responded immediately with Edgardo Alfonzo hitting a solo homer to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets would not trail again in this game.

After allowing a run in the second, Rusch made quick work of the Cardinals. While he uncharacteristically issued walks in the the ensuing two innings, he would get through unscathed. It would not be until the fifth when the Cardinals got to him again. In that inning, Mike Matheny and Fernando Vina hit a pair of doubles scoring a run.

With Todd Pratt hitting a homer in the third, that would pull the Cardinals to within 3-2. The Cardinals would not get any closer in the game.

After Rusch allowed the RBI double to Vina in the fifth, he would retire the final seven Cardinals batters he faced. His final line would be 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, and 7 K. He would also pick up his third win of the season.

The Mets 4-2 lead had grown to 5-2 when Zeile and Joe McEwing hit their own pair of doubles in the sixth. After John Franco pitched a scoreless eighth, the Mets added an insurance run in the ninth on a Jay Payton RBI single. That RBI single snapped a 2-for-30 streak for Payton, and it was his first RBI since May 10.

After Armando Benitez pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation, the Mets completed a sweep of the first place Cardinals. Given how the Mets dealt with an injury to Rick Reed, Mike Piazza sitting a day game after a night game, and the travel from the west coast, this was without a doubt the Mets most impressive series of the season.

Game Notes: Mark Johnson was sent down to make room for Jim Mann. Mann was called up with the Mets needing an extra arm in the pen with Pat Mahomes going over two innings twice over the past week. With Reed missing at least one start, Paul Wilson put together another quality start in Triple-A. After Derek Bell led off yesterday, Nunnally led off today with Payton hitting second.

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: Zeile Grand Slam Wins It

The Mets started this game making a statement, and that statement would be a distant memory in a crazy game with a ton of challenges. That includes but is far from limited to a rain delay of a little more than half an hour.

Newly inserted lead-off batter Derek Bell began the game with a lead-off single. He’d score on an Edgardo Alfonzo double. After Andy Benes walked Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile went back-to-back to give the Mets a commanding 5-0 first inning lead.

With Rick Reed on the mound, that should have been more than enough. Little did we know at the time, Reed was dealing with an oblique injury which eventually would force him from the game. As a result of the injury, Reed was not nearly as effective as we’ve seen him all season long.

That began in the bottom of the first with Reed issuing a lead-off walk to Fernando Vina. In that inning, which included a balk, he’d allow a Ray Lankford RBI double and a Craig Paquette RBI single to pull the Cardinals to within 5-2.

What was frustrating for the Mets is they had an opportunity to get those runs back and then some in the second. They loaded the bases with one out, but this time neither Ventura nor Zeile could knock in a run. The Mets would rue that missed chance when Lankford got to Reed again this time hitting a two run homer to pull the Cardinals within a run.

Reed got through that third inning, but he would be pulled from the game. At the moment, it is expected the Mets will put him on the DL, which is a move which will again test the Mets non-existent pitching depth.

Piazza got one of the runs back with a solo homer in the fourth, but shortly, the Mets would fall behind the Cardinals.

With Pat Mahomes going 2.1 innings just three days prior, and there was also the consideration with Reed going down, he may need to enter the rotation. Taking that into account, Bobby Valentine brought in Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez was as bad as he’s been all year by immediately loading the bases forcing Valentine’s hands.

Mahomes came into the bases loaded no outs situation, and he allowed the first run to score with a wild pitch. Mahomes then walked Mark McGwire to re-load the bases. It was Lankford again getting to the Mets by hitting a sacrifice fly giving the Cardinals a 7-6 lead.

The topsy-turvy start to the game calmed down for a bit until the sixth inning. Mahomes walked Edgar Renteria to lead-off the inning. After Renteria stole a base, he came home to score on a McGwire RBI single expanding the Cardinals lead to 8-6. With Mahomes struggling after 2.1 solid innings of relief, Valentine went to Dennis Cook.

Cook had allowed at least one run in five out of his last seven outings. Today, he stepped up, and he first got the Mets out the jam in the sixth, and then he pitched a scoreless seventh. Getting out of that jam allowed the Mets to stay in the game, a game they once led 5-0.

In the eighth, the Mets would get their chance against Heathcliff Slocumb. Between an error by Paquette allowing Alfonzo to reach safely, Slocumb had walked Jon Nunnally and Piazza to load the bases. After Mark Johnson (who entered on a double switch with Cook) struck out, the Mets had the same situation they had in the second – bases loaded with one out. This time Zeile would deliver hitting a grand slam.

With that grand slam, the Mets went from a very frustrating loss to a 10-8 lead. The Mets would tack on two runs in the ninth to increase their lead to 12-8. After John Franco pitched a scoreless ninth, it was a 12-8 victory. Overall, this was an impressive win albeit a win which potentially came with the loss of Reed.

Game Notes: This was Bell’s first game as the Mets lead-off hitter with McEwing batting second. While he did not have a run or an RBI, Benny Agbayani had a three hit game. The other Met with three hits today was Alfonzo.

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: Hampton Aces Cardinals Test

The Mets have a bit of a litmus test right now. They are flying halfway across the country after losing two out of three to a bad Padres team. Now, they are facing a red hot Cardinals team who has won five in a row and six of their last seven. If this is a test, they have passed the first part.

The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first as Pat Hentgen got wild. After allowing a two out double to Edgardo Alfonzo, he walked three straight. When he walked Todd Zeile, he forced home a run giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

For a while that seemed like it was all the support Mike Hampton was going to need. Something has clicked for Hampton over the past month, and he seems more comfortable on the mound. Mostly, he looks like the ace the Mets thought they were getting. Today was yet another ace-like performance.

Hampton would pitch deep into the game lasting eight innings. Over those eight innings, Hampton would allow just two earned on nine hits and two walks while striking out five. While Jim Edmonds got to him with a solo homer in the fifth, one of the key things Hampton did do was keep Mark McGwire in the park.

In addition to shutting down the Cardinals offense, Hampton would help his own cause. In the fourth, Benny Agbayani led off the inning with a single, and he would steal second. That led to a very interesting decision by the Mets with Rey Ordonez bunting over Agbayani for Hampton. It seemed to work as Hampton drove Agbayani home with a sacrifice fly.

Still, after four, the game was tied 2-2. The Hentgen who was wild in the first had settled down, and he had parted the game with a no decision after allowing two runs over six. The Cardinals bullpen would not be as lucky.

In the seventh, Mark Thompson lost the strike zone after retiring the first two batters. He’d then walk Derek Bell, Alfonzo, and Mike Piazza. Tony La Russa went to the bullpen to bring in the lefty Mike Mohler to face Robin Ventura. The move did not work as Ventura hit an RBI single scoring Bell and Alfonzo giving the Mets a 4-2 lead.

It was Ventura again giving the Mets a cushion in the ninth. After Alfonzo doubled and Piazza singled off Heathcliff Slocumb to start the inning, Ventura drove in Alfonzo with a sacrifice fly. The Mets would strand Piazza on the base paths, but fortuantely, that did not matter as Armando Benitez continued his terrific streak by recording the save.

This win harkens back to the Diamondbacks series where the Mets beat another first place team. With these wins, we see the Mets getting terrific production from their top player with key plays from role players like Agbayani. With Benitez shutting the door on the back-end the Mets are in a very good place right now.

Game Notes: Bobby Valentine swore after the game Ordonez was bunting for a base hit. This was a key point of contention as Ordonez and Valentine have been feuding lately over Ordonez’s poor hitting. This has become a key issue with Melvin Mora getting closer to coming off the DL.

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: Piazza Again Destroys Hoffman

After taking the red eye, the Mets offense arrived too late to score any runs against the Padres yesterday. Today was a much different story as the Mets batters were well rested, ready to hit, and were going to take advantage of their opportunities.

The game began with Ken Caminiti throwing the ball away. That allowed Joe McEwing to reach. After a stolen base, he was in scoring position. After Stan Spencer struck out Derek Bell, Edgardo Alfonzo hit an RBI single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Of note, Padres starter Spencer has a very slow delivery to the plate. Wile it had allowed McEwing to steal a base with ease, it was not slow enough for Alfonzo, who was caught stealing.

That Mets 1-0 lead grew to 3-0 when Todd Zeile and Todd Pratt hit back-to-back homers to start the second.

The Padres did not get to Al Leiter until the fourth. Like many rallies, this began with a lead-off walk. After Leiter issued a lead-off walk to Ruben Rivera, Tony Gwynn doubled him home. Gwynn then scored on an Ed Sprague double pulling the Padres to within 3-2.

The Padres would then tie the score in the sixth when Gwynn took advantage of a Leiter mistake by hitting a homer to straight away center. After that homer, Leiter would retired the next six batters. In total, he was good allowing three earned over seven while striking out seven. However, he was not good enough as he took the no decision.

Turk Wendell relieved Leiter, and he’d pitch a scoreless eighth and ninth. He allowed a single in each inning, but he didn’t allow a runner to get into scoring position. With his work, and the work of Padres reliever Donne Wall, this game went into extra innings.

Trevor Hoffman began the 1oth by retiring Jay Payton and Rey Ordonez. Mark Johnson pinch hit for Wendell, and he blooped a single. Seeing the opportunity to win the game, Bobby Valentine went to Mike Piazza to pinch hit for McEwing. Once again, we were reminded Piazza absolutely owns Hoffman as he hit a two run shot to give the Mets a 5-3 lead.

While Armando Benitez would walk Dave Magadan to begin the bottom of the 10th, he would retire the next three Padres he faced to record the save. This was the latest great outing for Benitez. After his four run blow-up against the Marlins, he has not allowed a run in his last seven appearances.

Overall, the Mets rebounded from a tough travel and difficult game. This is the type of win which helps teams avoid losing streaks much like the one they experienced the last time they came out west.

Game Notes: Mets remain undefeated in Leiter starts going 9-0 when he takes the mound. Piazza’s pinch hit homer was the Mets second over the last week.

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: Super Joe McEwing Vanquishes The Big Unit

At this point, the Diamondbacks must be wondering what they need to do to beat the Mets at Shea Stadium. Last year, they lost both games in the NLDS played at Shea. Yesterday, they couldn’t complete the comeback. Today, they couldn’t hold onto the lead.

Mostly, Randy Johnson has to wonder how does he get Joe McEwing out?

After the Diamondbacks staked Johnson with a first inning lead with a run off of Rick Reed, McEwing led off the bottom of the first with a double. He came home to score as Derek Bell and Edgardo Alfonzo followed his double with one of their own to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

The Diamondbacks led off the third with three straight singles to tie the score. They then took a 3-2 lead when Jay Bell moved to third on an Erubiel Durazo fly ball and scored on a Steve Finley RBI groundout. Again, Johnson was given a one run lead, and again, he surrendered it in the bottom of the inning. This time, it was a Mike Piazza homer.

Both pitchers seemed to finally settle in after that with them both putting up a string of zeros. That was until Travis Lee hit a two run homer off of Reed in the top of the sixth.

For Reed, today, it was a mixed bag. On the one hand, this was the eighth time in nine starts, he had pitched at least seven innings. On the other, this is the fourth time over his last five starts he has allowed 4+ runs. Regardless of how you look at it, Reed at least kept his team in the game, and he gave them a chance to win.

In the seventh, the Mets would once again tie the score, and once again, it was McEwing torturing Johnson. With one out in the seventh, McEwing would hit a solo homer to pull the Mets within one.

In this game, McEwing was 3-for-4 with two doubles, a homer, three runs, a walk, and an RBI. He would also have a tough 12 pitch at-bat in the fifth before hitting his second double of the game. That is a great game no matter who is on the mound. When it is Johnson starting, it’s phenomenal.

Speaking of players who torture Johnson, Alfonzo was back at it. As we remember, he homered off Johnson in the NLDS. Today, he hit the first inning RBI double, and like McEwing, he would homer off of Johnson in the seventh. That would tie the score at five, and it would chase Johnson from the game.

Not enough can be said about the Mets offensive outburst against Johnson. The future Hall of Fame pitcher entered the game with a 0.97 ERA, and he had allowed just eight runs all season long. It took the Mets fewer than seven innings to almost double that total.

Dennis Cook would come in for Reed, and he would continue his poor start to the season. This time it was his allowing a homer to the left-handed hitting Steve Finley. With that homer, Cook’s season ERA is up to 6.16. Between his and Rich Rodriguez‘s struggles, the Mets simply do not have a reliable LOOGY in that bullpen right now.

Again, the Diamondbacks lead was very short-lived. Despite his sore thigh, Robin Ventura came into the game to pinch hit for Kurt Abbott with two outs in the eighth. He would tie the game with a pinch hit solo homer.

After Turk Wendell did his job retiring the side in order in the top of the ninth, it was time for some ninth inning heroics, and again it was McEwing at the forefront.

McEwing drew a walk against Byung-Hyun Kim, and he would steal second. That put him in position to score on the ensuing Bell game winning walk-off RBI single.

Simply put, this was a great win. The Mets faced a future Hall of Fame pitcher, and they put up the runs they needed. They took advantage of every opportunity. They got a huge performance from a utility player who began the year in the minors, and they had an injured player hit a game tying homer. This is exactly what very good teams do.

Game Notes: This was just Ventura’s second pinch hit homer of his career. It was also the second pinch hit homer the Mets had this year with Agbayani hitting one in Tokyo. Both Pat Mahomes and John Franco are dealing with sore ankles.

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 Nearly Blow Eight Run Lead

The rain caused this game to be delayed three-and-a-half hours, and for a while it seemed like the Mets had completely washed out the Arizona Diamondbacks. With a five run fourth, this game had seemed all but over. It wasn’t.

In that fourth, the Mets built upon a 1-0 lead from a Derek Bell RBI single the previous inning. In the fourth, starting with Benny Agbayani, the Mets hit four straight singles with Mike Hampton delivering a two RBI single. A Joe McEwing grounder ate up Jay Bell driving home another run. The final run of the inning came on an Edgardo Alfonzo sacrifice fly.

When Alfonzo homered in the seventh, the Mets had an 8-0 lead. This should have been as easy as it gets.

For a while it was, Hampton continued his stretch of terrific pitching shutting out the Diamondbacks over six innings. After Dennis Cook pitched a scoreless seventh, Bobby Valentine began pulling his regulars. Mark Johnson replaced Todd Zeile at first. Todd Pratt took over for Piazza behind the plate. Jon Nunnally came in for Bell. Kurt Abbott came in for Alfonzo.

At the time, it seemed like the smart move. There was a rain delay, and this presented an opportunity to get the regulars some rest. Little did we know, but the game would soon get away from the Mets.

It began with Pat Mahomes injuring his ankle. In the eighth, he’d walk Luis Gonzalez before surrendering a two run homer to Greg Colbrunn. At that point, it was still just 8-2, and the game was heading into the ninth. That was the type of lead you expect even Rich Rodriguez to hold. That proved to almost be wrong.

Former Met Bernard Gilkey singled to start the inning, and he scored on a Travis Lee double. After a Dan Klassen walk, Hanley Frias grounded into a double play. Any hopes that was going to be the end of the jam ended with a Tony Womack RBI single.

With the Diamondbacks now within 8-4, and Damian Miller singling, Valentine went to John Franco. Franco was not immediately relief allowing three straight singles allowing three more runs to score. Suddenly, it was 8-7, and the Diamondbacks had the tying run at third.

Valentine went deeper into his bullpen he probably never thought he would have in this game, and he went to Armando Benitez. When Benitez struck out Erubiel Durazo, he earned the save in a game the Mets led 8-0 as the eighth inning began.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets have won three in a row since April 25. Robin Ventura was held out of the lineup with a sore hamstring, but he was brought into the game for defense on the final out.

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: Leiter Just Can’t Lose

Once again this season, the Mets are struggling, and once again, they gave the ball to Al Leiter who got the win for the Mets. In eight starts for the Mets, Leiter is 5-0 with a 3.24 ERA. That includes today’s start against the Colorado Rockies where Leiter allowed two earned over eight innings on five hits and two walks. He would strike out nine Rockies en route to victory.

The two runs against Leiter came in the third. With two outs and a runner on second, Jeff Cirillo hit an RBI double, and he then scored on a Jeffrey Hammonds RBI single. After that, Leiter retired the next six batters he faced and 15 of the final 17 batters he faced. That allowed the Mets to overcome the 2-0 deficit.

The first run of the game featured two Mets who have a great opportunity ahead of them. Benny Agbayani started in left field for the second straight game since Rickey Henderson‘s release. He led off the bottom of the third with a single off Rolando Arrojo.

After a Rey Ordonez single and botched Leiter sacrifice bunt attempt, Joe McEwing stepped to the plate. McEwing has been leading off and playing center since Henderson’s release. He made an impact here driving home Agbayani on an infield single.

Unfortunately, after Derek Bell walked to load the bases, neither Edgardo Alfonzo or Mike Piazza was able to drive home the tying run. Alfonzo and Piazza would make up for that by starting a rally in the fifth.

With two outs, Alfonzo drew a walk, and Piazza singled. Both players would score on a Robin Ventura RBI double. With that, the Mets were ahead 3-2, and with the way Leiter was pitching, there was no chance the Rockies were going to get back into the game.

Speaking of players with an opportunity with Henderson gone, Jon Nunnally pinch hit for Leiter to start the eighth. McEwing sacrificed him over, and Nunnally scored on a Bell RBI single.

That gave John Franco two runs to work with in the ninth. He didn’t need that buffer as he retired the side to record his second save of the season. Overall, this was a good win for the Mets who hopefully have righted their ship after losing four of six to bad teams entering this game.

Game Notes: Henderson has signed with the Seattle Mariners. Bell is being considered to bat lead-off with Henderson gone. Armando Benitez was unavailable after pitching two innings yesterday.

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.