Glendon Rusch

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: Mets Make Rusch Hard Luck Loser Again

Sometimes, there is just no rhyme or reason for it. Each and every year, there is going to be one pitcher in your rotation who is going to go out there and pitch well, and for reasons which cannot be fully explained, they just don’t get any run support. Really, that is the only way to explain what has been happening to Glendon Rusch this season.

Ronnie Belliard homered off of Rusch to start the bottom of the first, and the Mets would struggle against John Snyder. In his career, Snyder has just not been a good pitcher. However, to be fair, he is in the middle of the best ever stretch of his career. Even with Snyder pitching the game of his life, the Mets would get a lead.

Robin Ventura led off the top of the second with a walk, and he moved to second on a Todd Zeile single. Jay Payton would single home Ventura, but the rally would sputter there as Melvin Mora, Rusch, and Jason Tyner could not bring home either Zeile or Payton. That would be the story of the day for the Mets.

In the third, Edgardo Alfonzo was on second with one out, and the Mets could not bring him home. In the fourth, Rusch could not get a bunt down, and Mora was caught stealing. In the fifth, Mike Piazza hit a two out RBI single, and he advanced to second on the throw home. However, he was stranded there as Zeile could not deliver the key hit after Ventura was intentionally walked.

The Mets would rue missing out on those opportunities as Rusch got wild in the sixth. After plunking Luis Lopez, he walked Charlie Hayes. Jeromy Burnitz advanced the runners on a ground out. Marquis Grissom would then hit a go-ahead two RBI single.

When all was said and done, it was not Rusch’s best start, but it was more than good enough to earn the victory. Over his 6.1 innings, he allowed just three runs while allowing three hits and a very uncharacteristically high six walks. In fact, Rusch had only walked six batters total over the first two months of the season.

To Rusch’s credit, even with the wildness, he limited the damage. With Turk Wendell shutting down the Brewers over the final 1.2 innings, the Mets had a chance to tie the game and pull out a victory. Instead, the Mets would again blow their chances.

That was really the case in the eighth. After Piazza and Ventura led off the inning with back-to-back singles, Bobby Valentine got aggressive sending out Kurt Abbott and Joe McEwing to pinch run. It was an agressive move which backfired because the Mets offense sputtered from there.

Curtis Leskanic got Zeile to pop out before striking out Payton. Valentine then sent up Matt Franco to pinch hit for Mora, but Franco would line out to end the inning. You could question not using Lenny Harris there, but then again, Harris would not get a pinch hit single in the ninth.

Ultimately, the Mets had their chances, but they continuously failed to deliver. Maybe, just maybe, it is one of those strange things were Rusch is going to be the pitcher with minimal run support and be the hard luck loser in 2000. That’s the way it is right now. Hopefully, that will not continue to be the case.

Game Notes: This ended the Brewers nine game losing streak against the Mets. Tyner was back in the lineup after missing the last few with a sore arm. After two big games in a row, Benny Agbayani was out of the lineup. Oddly enough, he was not one of the people used as a pinch hitter.

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 Beat Cubs And Rain

With Mike Hampton only pitching two innings against the Yankees on Sunday before the game was washed out, the Mets opted to bring back their ace on short rest. After Hampton allowed one run in the first inning on an Mark Grace RBI single, the rains came, and once again, Hampton’s day was done.

This would be the first of three rain delays. To put it in perspective, the actual game play was three hours and 40 minutes, but the rain delays were three hours and 23 minutes. All told, this was an over seven hour day at the ballpark.

While the skies had brought the rain, the Mets lineup had brought the thunder hitting four homers in the game. The first of which was a Robin Ventura homer off of Scott Downs to being the second inning. The Mets bats would then go silent until the fourth. At that point, they were down 2-1 with Augie Ojeda hitting a solo homer off of Pat Mahomes.

In the fourth, there were runners at the corners and one out when Benny Agbayani tied the score on a sacrifice fly. That lead would be very short lived. Even though he was not scheduled to pitch today, with the rain delays, the Mets opted to go with Glendon Rusch to start the fourth. Apparently, he was not quite warmed up enough.

Chad Meyers doubled off of him, and Ojeda walked. Both runners moved up on a Daniel Garibay sacrifice bunt. Myers scored off of a Eric Young Sr. sacrifice fly, and Ojeda scored off of a Joe Girardi RBI single. That gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

The second of the Mets four homers came in the fifth as Mike Piazza launched a two run homer tying the game at 4-4. The Mets would double their four runs with a big sixth inning.

The inning began with a Jay Payton double. There would be runners on first and second after Todd Pratt reached on a Grace error. Kurt Abbott, who was the goat yesterday, came up big hitting a go-ahead RBI double. Melvin Mora followed with an RBI double of his own. Piazza capped off that rally with an RBI single increasing the Mets lead to 8-4.

With the way this game was going, it was far from over.

After Agbayani homered in the seventh, the Cubs made a comback in the bottom half of the inning. After a Grace double off of Turk Wendell, there were runners on second and third with one out. Sammy Sosa then scored on a Glenallen Hill RBI single. Wendell was almost out of the inning before issuing a two out walk to Gary Matthews to load the bases.

Dennis Cook came on to relieve Wendell to move the switch hitting Ojeda to the right side. Cook struggled in the seventh as he has done much of the season allowing RBI singles to Ojeda and Willie Greene. After Cook walked Eric Young Sr. to re-load the bases, Bobby Valentine brought in John Franco, who retired Girardi to get the Mets out of the inning with a 9-8 lead.

That led grew to 10-8 when Agbayani hit his second homer of the game in the top of the ninth. That was more than enough of a cushion for Armando Benitez who mowed down the Cubs in the bottom of the ninth earning his 16th save of the season with Rusch earning the win in relief.

This was a very long game which was made even longer by the rain delays. Still, the Mets fought through the sloppiness which accompanies games like this. That makes the flight out of Chicago a little easier than it would have been otherwise.

Game Notes: One of the reasons Hampton left the game was he is dealing with a strained groin. Edgardo Alfonzo was given the day off with a stiff back. The Mets are rumored to be in on Sosa and Juan Gonzalez, but according to rumors, they are not willing to part with top prospects Alex Escobar or Grant Roberts. Bobby Jones went down to Triple-A Norfolk to work on things.

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: Shea Abbott

After a hot start to the season, Glendon Rusch has started to be a little less reliable. The pitcher who started the season off allowing two or fewer runs while going deep into games is showing he is quite prone to the clunker. Today was one of those clunkers.

Things weren’t that bad through three with the Orioles only run coming off of Cal Ripken Jr. solo homer. In the fourth, it was a lead-off walk to B.J. Surhoff and the long ball again which got to Rusch.

After Surhoff walked, Rusch got the next two outs, including a sacrifice bunt by opposing pitcher Jason Johnson. Brady Anderson hit a double, and then, the inexplicably great offensive season out of nowhere by Mike Bordick continued with his hitting a two run homer giving the Orioles a 4-0 lead.

Todd Zeile would get the Mets back into the game with a three run homer in the fourth, but the Orioles would increase their lead in the fifth on a Surhoff RBI single and Charles Johnson sacrifice fly. Through five, Rusch was done for the day after allowing six runs.

Pat Mahomes kept the Orioles scoreless in the sixth, and the Mets offense would go to work.

Robin Ventura drew a lead-off walk. and he’d go to second on a Zeile second. On what seemed to be his first big hit in forever (all season?), Jay Payton hit an RBI double scoring Ventura. Kurt Abbott then drove home Zeile on a sacrifice fly. Later that inning, after Buddy Groom came on for Johnson, Jason Tyner tied the game with an RBI single.

The Mets would get the lead for the first time in this game on a Payton homer off Mike Trombley to lead-off the eighth. That lead was short lived as Armando Benitez blew the save. That blown save was not entirely on him.

Initially, it was John Franco who was brought on for the save situation. However, after he had loaded the bases with one out, Benitez came on to get the save against his former team. After a Will Clark sacrifice fly, the game was tied. Benitez would recover to get Ripken out to keep the game tied 7-7.

The Mets had a chance to walk-off in the ninth. There were runners on first and second with one out, but Ventura would strike out. Todd Pratt pinch hit for Benitez, and he would fly out to end the inning. After Dennis Cook pitched a scoreless 10th, the Mets would have their shot again in the bottom of the 10th.

It wouldn’t take long before Abbott hit a walk-off homer against Jose Mercedes to give the Mets an 8-7 victory. That homer was the Mets first walk-off homer of the season, and it is a great victory which should hopefully propel the Mets into the first leg of the Subway Series against the Yankees.

Game Notes: The recently released Jon Nunnally couldn’t latch on with another MLB club, and he will be signing with the Orix Blue Wave. Darryl Hamilton has begun hitting out of a cage after his toe surgery.

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 Stung Late By Devil Rays In Blowout Loss

Believe it or not, the Mets actually led this game 4-3 heading into the top of the sixth. Somehow from there, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would completely blow out a Mets team who just could not get out of their own way in what would become an embarrassing loss.

Through the first five innings, Mike Piazza had carried the Mets offense and mostly had shown no ill effects of his head injury.

In the second, Piazza got on in front of a Jay Payton two run homer. In the third, Piazza hit an RBI double scoring Kurt Abbott. In the fifth, he gave the Mets a 4-3 lead hitting a sacrifice fly scoring Joe McEwing. If not for Piazza, it’s likely Esteban Yan has a lead heading into the latter innings. Yan would get it anyway as Bobby Jones fell apart.

Through the first five innings, we started to see what is a pattern emerging for Jones in 2000. He is able to put up zeros, but he is just unable to prevent that one big inning. For a moment, that seemed like it was going to be the second inning.

In that inning, Jones had allowed back-to-back homers to Felix Martinez and Yan. It’s one thing to allow back-to-back homers, it is a whole other thing to allow that to the eighth and ninth place hitters. It gets even worse when you consider Yan is an American League pitcher.

We also saw another pattern emerge with Jones. He doesn’t seem like he is going to be good for anything more than five innings. That became evident with Jones melting down in the sixth inning. Really, the entire Mets team melted down in that inning and the rest of the game.

The first two batters reached against Jones, and after a Steve Cox groundout, John Flaherty tied the game with an RBI single. After Jones walked Miguel Cairo to load the bases, Bobby Valentine brought in Pat Mahomes to help the Mets get out of the jam.

Mahomes walked Felix Martinez to force in a run. Jose Guillen pinch hit for Yan, and he hit an RBI ground out. The big blow of the inning would come when Gerald Williams hit a two RBI double. When he hit that double, the Devil Rays had scored five runs in the inning giving them an 8-4 lead.

Looking at it, you’re not sure what is more incredulous – the fact the Devil Rays put up a five spot in the sixth or the fact they did it again in the eighth.

Between Rich Rodriguez hitting batters, Martinez’s bat came flying towards Robin Ventura. Instead of a routine ground out, the distracted Ventura threw the ball away. That set the stage for five unearned runs in the inning.

The first came off of a Williams sacrifice fly. The next was a Russ Johnson RBI single. Finally, the nightmare ended with a Bubba Trammell three run homer. Suddenly, a game the Mets once led 4-3 was a massive 13-4 deficit. This is as bad an unraveling a team can have.

Yes, you can pinpoint Jones, but honestly, he gave you what you can reasonably expect from him. Valentine needs to be quicker with the hook with Jones. Mostly, Steve Phillips should not have entered the season with just three starters which the team could have reasonably relied upon. To a certain extent, he’s been bailed out by Glendon Rusch‘s terrific work, but the lack of a true fifth starter or anything resembling depth behind that is completely inexcusable.

The Devil Rays weren’t done scoring in this game, and the Mets added some ninth inning window dressing. In the end, it was an ugly 15-5 loss. Aside from Piazza, only Jay Payton and Joe McEwing, each of whom had two hits, did not look good in this game. When this happens, it is really just best to turn the page and look to the next game and series.

Game Notes: In 1999, the Mets gave up a total of 20 unearned runs behind the greatest defensive infield in Major League history. Today, alone, the Mets gave up five which is a quarter of all they gave up 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: Zeile Homer Helps Mets Outlast McGriff

After a long road trip with a lot of travel, there is nothing like coming home, having an off day, and then seeing the lowly Tampa Bay Rays on your schedule. The Mets took full advantage today.

What is interesting is the Mets actually fell behind in this game, and that was due to the bat of Fred McGriff.

Entering the sixth, the Mets had led 2-1 off of a pair of solo homers from Jay Payton and Todd Pratt, who started in place of the injured Piazza, off of Rays starter Albie Lopez. As noted above, McGriff would not let that lead stand.

In the fourth, Gerald Williams hit a lead-off double, and he would score off a McGriff RBI single. In the top of the sixth, McGriff hit a two run homer giving the Rays a 3-2 lead. Looking at that Rays lineup, McGriff was the one batter Glendon Rusch really struggled facing.

Two of the six hits Rusch allowed were off the bat of McGriff and all three of the runs scored off of Rusch were RBI courtesy of McGriff. If not for McGriff, Rusch probably gets through his six innings relatively unscathed. Instead, he walked off the mound in the sixth down 3-2.

Unlike most of his starts, his teammates would pick him up and reward him for his quality start by giving him the run support he needed. Against Rays reliever Rick White, Edgardo Alfonzo would hit a one out double. After Robin Ventura walked, Todd Zeile hit a three run homer to put the Mets ahead for good.

The seventh inning was eventful. Rusch allowed a lead-off single to Mike Difelice before getting lifted for Pat Mahomes. Mahomes did a bit of a tight rope walk. After recording two outs, he allowed a single to Steve Cox, and he uncorked a wild pitch and would walk Randy Winn to load the bases. Mahomes rebounded to get Williams to fly out to end the inning.

After that, John Franco pitched a perfect eighth, and Armando Benitez worked his way around the two walks he issued in the ninth to record his 14th save of the season. What made the save so impressive for Benitez was how he rebounded from the wildness to strike out the ever dangerous Greg Vaughn who stepped to the plate as the tying run.

With that, the Mets began a homestand with a 5-3 win, and they will look forward to seeing Piazza get back into the lineup soon and how this now revamped roster will take the next step forward.

Game Notes: Benitez has not allowed a run over his last 12 appearances striking out 14 in 12 innings. Mike Piazza was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons and may be able to return tomorrow. With Piazza’s injury, Vance Wilson was called up from Triple-A with Jim Mann being sent down. Bill Pulsipher was traded to the Diamondbacks to bring Lenny Harris back to the Mets. With his hitting just .189, Jon Nunnally was designated for assignment.

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: Hoffman Doesn’t Let Mets Score With Bases Loaded In Ninth

This should serve as a reminder the schedule makers should be provided with a map of the United States. After being in California a little more than a week ago, the Mets are back on the west coast to play the Padres. Wait, it gets better. From there, they’ll fly to St. Louis and then fly back to California to play the Dodgers.

This is exhausting for any team, and today, we saw the signs of that fatigue as the Mets bats did not wake up after exploding against the Diamondbacks. Really, it speaks volumes when the Mets beat up on Randy Johnson, but they can’t get anything going against Matt Clement.

The only time the Mets got going against Clement and the Padres was in the second. Matt Franco and Benny Agbayani hit back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners with one out. That rally went nowhere as Rey Ordonez grounded out to Clement, who nailed Franco at the plate, who was going home on the contact play.

After the second inning, the Mets would muster just one hit off of Clement who pitched eight scoreless innings striking out six Mets.

On the bright side of the Mets, Glendon Rusch was his equal. After a recent tough stint, the Mets skipped his last start. That proved to be the right move as Rusch went from the pitcher to allowed 6+ runs in two out of his last three starts to the pitcher he was in the beginning of the year. That pitcher pitches at a quick pace going seven innings allowing two or fewer runs.

Against the Padres, Rusch went seven scoreless, and like Clement, he only allowed three hits. Also like Clement, he got in trouble early only to have the defense get an out at home.

That first inning was really an adventure. Eric Owens struck out to lead off the inning, but he reached on the wild pitch on strike three. He’d then get picked off by Rusch. Owens mistake proved costly as Ruben Rivera tripled in that at-bat. Rivera wouldn’t score as he was nailed at the plate by Robin Ventura on a Tony Gwynn grounder.

The Mets then had their second and final rally of the game in the fourth. Ventura drew a walk, the Mets only walk against Clement, and he would go to second on a Mike Piazza single. That single was the Mets last hit against Clement. After an Agbayani fielder’s choice, there were runners at the corners.

During Rey Ordonez‘s at-bat, a Clement pitch got away from Carlos Hernandez but not far enough. Ventura broke from home, but Hernandez would get it home in time for Clement to get the tag down. After that play, the Mets would not have another base runner or chance against Clement.

With Rusch shutting down the Padres as well, this game would eventually turn into a battle between John Franco and Trevor Hoffman, two of the pitchers with the most saves in baseball history. Neither were particularly good, but one would be just good enough.

In the eighth, Owens led off the inning with a single like he did in the first. The difference is this time he would not get picked off. Instead, he would steal second. With him in scoring position, this time Rivera was able to drive him home to give the Padres a 1-0 lead. Things could have been worse, but Franco got Gwynn to hit into an inning ending double play.

With the way the Mets offense had been going, this looked like it should be an easy night for Hoffman. It wasn’t. Edgardo Alfonzo and Piazza led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Then, in a truly bizarre move Bobby Valentine had Ventura bunt Alfonzo and Piazza to second and third.

After Hoffman intentionally walked Franco to load the bases, Jay Payton popped out to second, and Mark Johnson flew out to center to end the game. Looking at that inning, you have to wonder if Ventura was allowed to hit, how much different things would have gone. Then again, you have to wonder what would have been different if the Mets took advantage of any of their opportunities in this maddening 1-0 loss.

Game Notes: Ventura returned to the lineup after sitting two games with a sore left thigh. Joe McEwing again led off and played center.

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: Mets Can’t Overcome Six Run Deficit

Well, this is a redux of the Ryan Dempster/Glendon Rusch match-up in Miami last week. In that game, Rusch was terrific in that game, but he would be out-dueled by Dempster who threw a one hit shut out. Today, neither pitcher would be nearly at the same level. Part of that could have been the slick conditions for a game which had a 25 minute rain delay at the start.

For Rusch, this is now two bad starts over his last three. Entering the fifth, the Mets were already down 2-0 after Dempster hit an RBI double in the second, and Preston Wilson hit one in the third. At 2-0, the Mets were still very much in the game. They wouldn’t be that after the top of the fifth.

First, it was a three run homer by Wilson, and later that inning, Derek Lee hit a homer. That expanded the Marlins lead to 6-0. Rusch had allowed six runs on 12 hits, including those two homers. After throwing 98 pitches, he was done for the game, and unlike his prior starts, he would be a deserving loser in this game.

What was frustrating for the Mets up until that point was they had their chances, and they didn’t have to wait until the sixth to get a hit off of him.

In the first, they wasted a Rickey Henderson lead-off single, and they did the same with Todd Zeile lead-off singles in the second and fourth. Of course, part of the Henderson wasted lead-off single was Henderson’s signature lack of hustle. He thought he hit one out against Dempter beginning his home run trot. Instead, what he had was a single that hit the wall. With his speed, even at this age, that should never happen.

After falling behind 6-0, the Mets were finally able to get to Dempster, not just in this game, but in 2000.

Henderson got the Mets started with a one out single and then a stolen base. He would then score easily on a Derek Bell RBI double. After Bell, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura would go back-to-back. Suddenly, the Mets were in this game pulling to within 6-4.

After the Ventura homer, the Mets continued the rally. Jon Nunnally drew a two out walk, and Melvin Mora singled. That brought up Kurt Abbott to the plate as the go-ahead run. He’d pop out to end the inning. From there, the Mets would muster just one more hit the entire game.

Even though they only had one more hit, that doesn’t quite mean they had no more chances. In the sixth, Bell doubled putting runners on second and third with one out. Dempster would rear back and strike out Piazza, his final batter of the game. Armando Almanza relieved Dempster, and he struck out Ventura to end the inning.

In the eighth, Almanza would walk two batters giving the Mets first and second with two outs. With Piazza coming to the plate, the Marlins went to Braden Looper. Looper would get Piazza to ground out meekly to first to end the inning.

The shame of it was the Mets bullpen did their job. Turk Wendell (two innings), John Franco, and Armando Benitez shut down the Marlins over the final four innings. However, when your offense isn’t taking advantage of their opportunities, it doesn’t matter. In the end, this was just another ugly loss to a bad Marlins team; one which has pushed the Mets back to just one game over .500.

Game Notes: Edgardo Alfonzo was held out of the starting lineup with a sore calf, but he was able to pinch hit. With Rey Ordonez‘s shoulder injury, that meant the Mets middle infield was Melvin Mora at second, and Abbott at short. The Mets have officially decided to have Pat Mahomes start in Bill Pulsipher‘s place tomorrow.

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.