Glendon Rusch

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.

2000 Game Recap: Marlins Put Mets In Dempster

So much for the Mets getting healthy after getting swept by the Giants. Instead of taking a series against a bad Marlins team, the Mets lost two out of three, and they really lost the last two games of the series in rather embarrassing fashion. Yesterday, it was a route. Today, well, it was domination.

Looking at the positives for the Mets, there was one, and that one was Glendon Rusch. After this rough outing against the Giants, he returned to the form he was to start the season. His final line was 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.

Once again, it was a sterling seven inning effort. where he allowed two runs or fewer on six or fewer hits. He has done that in five of his six starts. That makes his 1-3 record to begin this season all the more bewildering.

Rusch allowed three straight singles to start the game, and on the third single Cliff Floyd scored Luis Castillo. After that, Rusch only allowed three more hits the entire game, and including the walk, just four base runners. He really wasn’t even threatened.

The problem is the Mets never really threatened Ryan Dempster. After all, that is difficult to do when the one and only hit you get is a Mike Piazza two out double in the sixth. At least with that double the Mets did not suffer the indignity of being no-hit. Instead, they had the indignity of being one hit by a pitcher who entered this season with a 5.36 career ERA.

It’s not even like Dempster was THAT sharp. After all, he did walk four batters, and the Mets did get runners into scoring position. In the first, there were runners on first and second with one out after Derek Bell reached on an error and Edgardo Alfonzo walked.

In the fourth, Alfonzo reached via a lead-off walk, and he was erased on a Piazza fielder’s choice. After a walk to Robin Ventura, there was once again runners at first and second with one out. Finally, as referenced above, Piazza hit a two out double in the sixth.

Again, the Mets offense did nothing against Dempster who just made the Mets look bad at the plate striking out eight batters en route to his shutout in the Marlins 3-1 victory.

To make matters worse, Rickey Henderson blew up again. After the detente in San Francisco, Henderson responded by becoming an on-base machine. While he has just four hits over his last 13 at-bats, he has drawn an astounding eight walks for a .524 OBP.

Despite that hot streak, Bobby Valentine opted to rest the 41 year old in the day game after the night game. In Valentine’s defense, this is not too dissimilar than what he did with Henderson last year, and Henderson responded with a great year. However, this is a soft spot for Henderson, and he was angry for sitting yet again in place of Jon Nunnally.

This means that yet again we have to monitor how much of a problem Henderson and his playing time will be, and worse yet, when the Mets are mired in a slump like this losing six of seven to sub .500 teams, you wonder how much this is affecting the team.

Game Notes: This is the first time the Mets have been one hit since 1994 when Andy Benes pitched a one-hitter in San Diego. The last time the Mets were no-hit was by Darryl Kile in 1993.

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: Giants Bull Rusched Glendon In Third

For a brief moment, it appeared tonight’s game was going to be different than yesterday. For starters, it was Glendon Rusch, who has been a revelation this year, on the mound instead of Bill Pulsipher. Better yet, the Mets offense seemed alive at the start of the game.

Edgardo Alfonzo would draw a two out walk, and he would come home on a Robin Ventura double. That gave the Mets a 1-0 lead over Livan Hernandez and the Giants. From that point forward, no Mets player would reach third base for the rest of the game.

The Mets would only muster seven more hits. When they did get the hits, they couldn’t do anything. For example, Rey Ordonez hit into an inning ending double play in the second. This was as poor a performance from the Mets offense you will see, and it looks all the worse with Hernandez entering the game with a 5.08 ERA. After his complete game victory, it is now down to 4.22.

With respect to Rusch, it seemed to be his typical start. Jeff Kent had tied the score with an RBI double in the first, but the rally ended there as he was thrown out trying to go to third on the play. Rusch settled in and made quick work of the Giants in the second and third. Unfortunately, the fourth was a nightmare for Rusch.

Rusch allowed a double to Barry Bonds to start the inning, and he moved to third on a Kent single. Russ Davis knocked in Bonds, and after Rusch hit J.T. Snow, the bases were loaded. It was 3-0 after a Rich Aurilia RBI single. At that point, it was 3-1 Giants marking the first time all season Rusch allowed more than two runs in a game. Then, Rusch allowed four runs in one at-bat when Bobby Estalella.

At that point, the game was effectively over. The Mets weren’t doing anything against Hernandez, and really, they have been ice cold in their two games since leaving Colorado. While Todd Pratt did a good Mike Piazza impersonation in Coors, he has struggled through two games in this series. Of course, part of the reason for that is hi knee issues.

While the game was lost, Rusch deserves a lot of credit. He bore down after that nightmare fourth, and he pitched two more innings to help save the Mets bullpen which has been showing some strain after a trip to Colorado and Pulsipher’s short start.

The Mets have now lost two in a row after beating up on the Rockies, and they have now lost five of their last seven. If nothing else, this does set the stage for Mike Hampton to step up and act the part of the Mets stopper for the first time to see if he can truly emerge as the team’s ace they hoped he would be.

Game Notes: Darryl Hamilton is opting for an alternative toe surgery which could cost him 1-2 months instead of the 2000 season. Rickey Henderson seemed to snap out of his slump going 2-for-4 getting himself over the Mendoza Line.

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 Shoot Selves In Foot Continuously In 12 Inning Loss

Look, it was one thing to get shut down by Denny Neagle. He’s a very good pitcher who has a few Cy Young caliber seasons under his belt. It is a whole other thing to get shut down by Steve Parris. While Parris is coming off a decent year, he was coming off a start where the Dodgers battered him for five runs over two innings, and he had an 8.47 ERA entering the game.

Before delving into all that went wrong, there should be focus on what went right – Glendon Rusch.

Rusch entered Spring Training having to win a job in the rotation, and even if he was not the sentimental favorite among fans, Rusch did win that spot. He has backed up that Spring Training performance by having a terrific start to the season.

This start against the Reds marked his third straight start where he pitched at least 7.0 innings while allowing two runs or less. One of the big keys is using a quick tempo and not beating himself. So far, over his 22.2 innings this year, he has walked just two batters.

Really, the one thing which is plaguing him right now is the long ball. That issue arose again when Ken Griffey, Jr. hit a solo homer off of him to give the Reds an early 1-0 lead. Fortunately for Rusch, he’d shut down the Reds from there on out, and he would take the no decision. He more than deserved a win (again), but at least he didn’t take the loss.

The reason Rusch didn’t take the loss was because Robin Ventura hit a solo homer to lead off the fourth. The problem for Ventura and the Mets was this was the only run they would score on the day. Really, they have no one to blame but themselves for that as they wasted opportunity after opportunity.

In the first, Ventura hit into an inning ending double play with runners on first and second. Todd Pratt would hit into a double play to end the second ending any chances of a rally getting going. In the third, Edgardo Alfonzo flew out with runners on first and second.

The Mets next chance to score came in the eighth. Derek Bell drew a two out walk, and he advanced to second on a passed ball. After Alfonzo walked, there was yet another situation with runners on first and second. This time, Ventura struck out swinging to end the inning.

As bad as those earlier missed chances were, the ninth would be a bit of a horror show for the Mets.

Todd Zeile would lead-off the inning with a single. This led to Bobby Valentine pegging Rickey Henderson, the all-time stolen base leader as a pinch runner. Henderson, clearly miffed at the throwing over and uncalled balks, took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to Matt Franco.

Not only would Franco swing and miss at what should’ve been ball four, but Henderson, who didn’t get a good break and wasn’t exactly hustling, was thrown out by a VERY wide margin by Benito Santiago. Henderson didn’t even bother getting into a rundown or anything. He just took the tag and walked off the field.

And yet, after that, the Mets still had a chance in the ninth. Pratt drew a walk, and he would be standing on third after a Rey Ordonez double. This led to some very curious decision making by Valentine. With Mike Piazza on the bench, the best hitter on the team, he stuck with Melvin Mora, who drew a walk to load the bases, and then Jon Nunnally, who flew out to end the inning and send the game into extras.

Nothing really happened in extras until the 12th inning when Armando Benitez entered the game and lost the strike zone. Sandwiched between a Boone sacrifice bunt were two walks (one intentional, one not). The Reds then took the lead on a Travis Dawkins RBI single.

In the 12th, the Mets yet again had a chance to win. After Mora grounded out against Scott Sullivan, Nunally drew a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. That put him in scoring position with less than two outs. After a Derek Bell walk, the Mets once again had first and second, and once again, they did nothing with it.

Alfonzo and Ventura both popped out in the infield to end the game. This put a sour note on an otherwise terrific homestand where they went from puzzling to getting to be the team we expected them to be this year. Overall, whenever you get an 8-2 home stand, you take it no matter how disappointing the home stand ends.

Game Notes: In Mets related news, Darryl Strawberry left rehab earlier than expected without any public explanation available. The Mets are now embarking on a long 13 game road trip taking them to Colorado, San Francisco, Florida, and Pittsburgh.

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.

2000 Game Recap: Valentine’s Wharton Speech Hangs Over Team

It was a day game after a night game, so Mike Piazza was not there to again single-handedly lift the Mets offense. However, to be fair, it is difficult to know how much of a difference Piazza could’ve made (sacrilegious, I know) with the Pirates having Jimmy Anderson dealing the way he did.

It really was a surprising pitchers duel between Anderson and Glendon Rusch, who was making his 2000 debut for the Mets. What is also interesting is both pitchers had beat out other former Mets pitchers to get their spot in the rotation.

With Rusch, he battled with famed Generation K pitcher Bill Pulsipher for the last spot in the rotation. Anderson, on the other hand, battled with Pete Schourek. At least for today, both pitchers proved their teams right in the decisions they made. In fact, both pitchers worked fast, and they each put up zeros for six innings.

Between the two pitchers, Rusch was arguably the better pitcher. In his complete game, he allowed just one run on four hits while walking one and striking out five. Entering the seventh, Rusch had allowed just one Pirate into scoring position. Really, the only reason he didn’t get the win was he made one mistake to Kevin Young, which turned into a two run homer which was all the difference in the 2-0 loss.

It was a shame for him as Anderson lived by the adage it is better to be lucky than good. The Mets had a few rallies fall completely short.

In the first, the Mets had runners on second and third with one out. Todd Zeile lined out, and Jay Payton would strike out. In the second, Robin Ventura would have a lead-off single, and he would ultimately be stranded at third base.

A two out rally in the fourth left runners at first and second stranded as Rey Ordonez flew out. There were runners at the corner with one out in the fifth when Edgardo Alfonzo hit into an inning ending double play. That was it for the Mets, who just couldn’t get the big hit.

What was left was a very good Mets team, or at least is supposed to be one, losing to a bad Pirates team. The one unknown here is how much Bobby Valentine‘s comments at Wharton about the Mets offseason, which including his problems with the team not re-signing John Olerud, had on this game.

Whatever the case, comments like those from Valentine aren’t going to help him or his team. The lame duck manager who was almost fired last year is going to find himself further on the hot seat for his outspokenness. Mostly, he will be on the hot seat if his team continues underachieving this way.

Game Notes: One of the players Valentine indicated he didn’t want was Derek Bell, who had a diving grab in the sixth inning. He also said he would rather play Matt Franco or Jorge Toca at first over Todd Zeile.

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 Beaten And Battered By Phillies

Despite the listless Mets offense finally coming to life in Veteran’s Stadium, the Mets would still be beaten and battered in their 9-7 loss against the Phillies.

After all the criticism and booing, Rickey Henderson showed signs of life with a 2-for-4 game. He ignited the Mets offense like he did all last year with a double to open the game against Phillies starter Paul Byrd. Jon Nunnally and Mike Piazza would also double giving the Mets a 2-0 lead.

Then, incredulously Piazza and Robin Ventura executed a double steal. Everyone was shocked at the audacity, including Scott Rolen, who flubbed the play leading to Piazza scoring. Todd Zeile followed with the Mets fourth double of the inning leading to the 4-0 lead.

The Mets lead would last all of one inning as the Phillies destroyed Bobby Jones. The first RBI came from Mike Lieberthal, who would be heard from later, who hit a single scoring Rolen. With the bases loaded, Zeile would later let a Byrd but go through his legs. Doug Glanville then doubled, and there was yet another error in the innings, and suddenly, the Mets 4-0 lead became a 5-4 second inning deficit.

In the fifth, the Mets bounced back to take the lead with a rally again started by Henderson. He singled and stole second, and he moved to third on a Nunnally double. This wasn’t Henderson not running, but rather his waiting to see if Glanville would catch the ball. Both he and Nunnally would score on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI double. After a Piazza RBI single, the Mets were ahead again 7-5.

It didn’t matter. Jones who seemingly calmed down after that second inning got hit hard again in the fifth with Glanville and Ron Gant hitting doubles. This led to Bobby Valentine coming to get him.

Jones’ start to the season is as troubling a start as there is. He is coming off a season with shoulder injuries, and he was left off the 1999 postseason roster. With the Mets trading away Octavio Dotel in the offseason and Jason Isringhausen at the deadline last year, the Mets may not have the depth like they did last year to sustain his inability to pitch.

Isringhausen’s former Generation K teammates may also be non-factors. Bill Pulsipher lost the battle for the fifth starter spot to Glendon Rusch, and Paul Wilson missed all of last year due to injury. Who knows if they can be factors, but regardless of their actual ability, they may be needed to contribute.

When Jones was lifted, Valentine brought in Rich Rodriguez, who wound up taking the loss in this one. The left-handed reliever not only walked Bobby Abreu, but he threw a wild pitch during the at-bat allowing Gant to go to third. This allowed Gant to score on a Glanville sacrifice fly. After that, Lieberthal hit a two run homer giving the Phillies a 9-7 lead.

Neither team would score from there, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any more plays at the plate. In the sixth, Kevin Sefcik hit a one out triple. Glanville would hit a fly ball to center, and Nunnally would throw the ball home. Piazza held onto the ball as Sefcik delivered a vicious hit to Piazza. Really, it was one of the most vicious hits you will ever see a catcher take.

Piazza was staggered, but he was able to get to the dugout himself, and surprisingly, he was able to stay in the game. He would strike out in the seventh in what was his last plate appearance in the game. Like Piazza, the rest of the Mets offense couldn’t do much of anything in the later innings leading to the 9-7 loss dropping the Mets to two games under .500.

If you want a bright spot, Henderson seems to have responded to early drama, and Nunnally is slowly showing he could be a real viable option in center. We also saw Alfonzo’s and Piazza’s bats come alive. However, if the Mets pitching, whether it Jones in the rotation, or the bullpen who has now blown two straight leads, don’t get things together, the Mets are going to find themselves in real trouble at some point.

Game Notes: After missing a start to end the homestand against the Dodgers, Al Leiter appears ready to go in his next scheduled start. The Mets bullpen has so far allowed seven homers through their first eight games.

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.