Joe McEwing

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: 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: 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.

2000 Game Recap: Someone Named Bubba Carpenter Beats Mets

Once again, Rick Reed allowed two earned (or fewer) over seven innings. Once again, he was dominating this time striking out 10 batters. Only this time, it wasn’t good enough for the Mets.

While Reed was striking out Rockies left and right, Masato Yoshii was back at Shea Stadium, and he looked more comfortable on that mound than he has all year on the mound in Coors. In fact, Yoshii would match Reed allowing three runs over seven innings himself.

In fact, the Rockies would be leading with Brent Mayne of all people leading the charge. Mayne had an RBI double in the second and an RBI single in the fourth. Reed hurt himself in that fourth inning throwing one away during a pick-off allowing Jeffrey Hammonds to go from first-to third. He would score that inning on a Darren Bragg RBI single.

The Mets had only two runs entering the bottom of the seventh. In the second, Robin Ventura hit homer off of Yoshii. Later, in the fourth, Derek Bell hit a lead-off double, and he would score after a pair of ground outs from Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza. Ventura would double after the Piazza ground out, but he would be stranded there.

Yoshii would again stifle a Mets two run rally in the sixth. After a pair of Alfonzo and Piazza singles put runners on the corners, Ventura grounded out to end the inning. This put the Mets down one entering the bottom half of the inning. That’s when Todd Zeile hit a game tying homer. The problem is the Mets offense couldn’t push a run across after that homer.

John Franco and Armando Benitez (two innings) did their part by combining to pitch three scoreless innings. During that time, the Mets offense could not get out of its own way.

Going back to the seventh, after Zeile’s homer, the Mets had runners on first and second with one out only for that rally to end on a Joe McEwing GIDP. Like in the seventh, the Mets had a two out rally in the 10th which they squandered. Bell singled, and Alfonzo drew a walk, but Piazza would ground out to end the inning.

The Mets would rue wasting these chances as Turk Wendell surrendered a home to Bubba Carpenter in the 11th. Carpenter is a 31 year old rookie who no one has ever heard of before today. These are the types of homers which eat away at you because 31 year old rookies like Carpenter should not be beating you.

But, he did because Wendell threw a bad pitch and because the Mets offense could not push home yet another runner who was in scoring position. Zeile hit a one out double, and Bobby Valentine would have Kurt Abbott pinch run for him. Abbott moved to third on an Agbayani ground out, but he would stay there as Matt Franco struck out to end the game.

Again, the Mets are losing games they should win, and they are losing to inferior teams. Simply put, if the Mets have any designs on making the postseason this year, they have to play better than this. There really are no excuses for this.

Game Notes: Darryl Hamilton has begun rehabbing after surgery for his toe. Over his last five games, Zeile is 10-for-18.

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: Rickey Gone And Mets Still Lose

The Mets finally got rid of Rickey Henderson. The Mets finally had enough of his lack of hustle and his attitude. According to Bobby Valentine, it wasn’t just him, but the players as well. Combine that with his threatening a reporter, and the Mets finally got rid of the future Hall of Famer. Given how he has been purported to be the issue with the team, you’d think they’d right the ship immediately.

They didn’t.

The Mets are really running out of excuses as to why they are playing as terribly as they are. A team who was once six games over .500 is now at .500, and they have lost four out of the five games they have played against the Marlins. This is the same Marlins team who lost 98 games last year and 108 the previous season.

The Mets had a 2-0 first inning lead in this game. Derek Bell hit a one out homer, and then later in the inning, Todd Zeile hit an RBI single. At that time, the Mets had runners in the corner with one out, but the rally ended there when Benny Agbayani hit into an inning ending double play.

As an aside, Agbayani is one of the players who should benefit from Henderson’s release. Agbayani went from coming THIS close to beginning the year in the minors to being on the cusp of an everyday role. Others who may benefit include Joe McEwing, who made his Mets debut starting in center before moving around the field.

That Mets lead grew to 3-0 in the third. Bell hit a lead-off single, and he’d steal second. Paul Bako‘s throw was wild allowing Bell to go to third on the play. He would score an unearned run on Robin Ventura‘s RBI ground out.

Unfortunately, this 3-0 was not enough for Pat Mahomes to protect. With the injury to Bobby Jones, and the complete ineffectiveness of Bill Pulsipher, Mahomes was again thrust into a starting role. For the first three innings, he kept the Marlins off the board. Starting in the fourth, they’d begin to hit him hard.

Preston Wilson, who is starting to wear out the Mets, led off the inning with a double. He’d then score on a Kevin Millar two run homer. Mahomes would get that run back with an RBI double off opposing pitcher Vladimir Nunez in the bottom of the inning to extend the Mets lead to 4-1. He’d then pitch a scoreless fifth, thanks in part, to an inning ending double play after Luis Castillo reached on an error.

In the sixth, the trouble started for Mahomes the way it usually does for any pitcher – the lead-off walk. Cliff Floyd walked to start the inning, and he stole second. That allowed him to score easily on Wilson’s second double of the game. Turk Wendell would relieve Mahomes, but he would allow the inherited runner to score making this a tied 4-4 game.

When Zeile homered off of Ron Mahay to lead off the bottom of the sixth, that’s where the Mets should have put this game away. That gave the Mets a 5-4 lead late in the game. That meant the Mets bullpen, which is supposedly superior to the Marlins’, would be able to close this one out. They didn’t.

Again, it was Wilson who killed the Mets. Dennis Cook started the seventh, and he was didn’t have control. Castillo had reached on a lead-off single. He’d then plunk Floyd with one out. That put two on in front of Wilson who hit a three run homer to give the Marlins a 7-5 lead.

Not wanting to lose this game, Valentine went to Armando Benitez. Benitez got the last five outs of the game which gave the Mets a chance. They would have their chances, but they failed to capitalize.

In the eighth, Todd Pratt, who started this day game after the night game, hit a two out single. Sensing his chance to get the win, Valentine sent Mike Piazza up as a pinch hitter for Kurt Abbott against Braden Looper. Instead of Piazza hitting the game tying blast, he struck out. Then, Valentine pinch hit Jon Nunnally for Jay Payton. Despite Looper not being good against left-handed batters, Nunnally struck out to end the inning.

It should be noted at that point, Valentine had emptied out his bench completely. Actually, there was one bat left, but that bat was Rey Ordonez, who is injured and unavailable. That meant Valentine was going to have to use a pitcher in the ninth as a pinch hitter. It is really difficult to defend that complete lack of foresight and decision making.

You could say it cost the Mets.

McEwing led off the ninth with a double against Antonio Alfonseca, and he’d score on an Edgardo Alfonzo RBI single. Now, instead of having Piazza to bat here or even Nunnally, the Mets had Mike Hampton. For a second, Valentine looked like a genius when Hampton got a hold of one, and he appeared to hit a game winning two run homer. Instead, it went foul, and Hampton would wind up striking out in the at-bat.

With two outs, Zeile kept the rally alive with a single pushing Alfonzo into scoring position. That’s where Alfonzo would stay as Matt Franco grounded out meekly to Alfonseca to end the game.

With the loss, the Mets are at .500, and they look like a team completely lost. They are getting beat up by the Marlins, and they are trying to use interchangeable parts in their outfield and rotation. For now, the only thing they can hope for is Hampton to once again play the role of stopper and get the Mets back on track tomorrow.

Game Notes: McEwing was up because Melvin Mora was placed on the DL. He had busted up his index finger and needed stitches on a bunt attempt on Friday. This will put the shortstop duties squarely on Abbott until Ordonez feels healthy enough to play again.

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.t

2000 Game Recap: Agbayani Says Saynora

This game started with a pitchers duel between Rick Reed and Kyle Farnsworth, and it would become a battle of the bullpens until Benny Agbayani provided the fireworks.

Reed and Farnsworth were both able to fairly navigate through what little trouble they had until the fifth inning. Both pitchers would get touched up that inning.

The Mets broke through in the top of the fifth after Todd Zeile and Rey Ordonez drew back-to-back walks to start the inning. After Reed sacrificed them over, Rickey Henderson delivered a sacrifice fly to give the Mets the lead.

As alluded to earlier, it didn’t last long as the Mets infield defense giveth and taketh. After a Joe Girardi lead-off single, Zeile threw away Farmsworth’s sac bunt putting runners at the corners with no outs. Reed minimized the damage by getting Eric Young to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. The run scored, but the rally was over.

The Mets put pressure on the Cubs the ensuing two innings, but they just could not get that key hit.

In the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with two outs and chased Farnsworth, but Ordonez couldn’t get the key hit. In the seventh, the Mets had first and second with two outs with Mike Piazza unable to deliver the key hit.

The shame is Reed was pitching a gem. In his eight innings, he allowed one unearned run with allowing just two walks and four hits. He should’ve easily walked away with the win. Instead, for a moment, it looked as if the Mets would blow it.

In the bottom of the ninth, John Franco had one of his typical filthy innings. Soon after a Mark Grace single to lead-off the inning, the Cubs quickly had first and second with one out. Franco quickly put out the fire he started striking out Cole Liniak before getting Girardi to ground out to end the inning.

Turk Wendell repeated Franco’s high wire act in the 10th by putting two on with two out. Dennis Cook relieved him. He first made things worse by walking Grace to load the bases before striking out Henry Rodriguez to end the inning.

Finally, after a couple of failed rallies for both teams, the Mets broke through against Danny Young in the 11th.

After two quick outs, Zeile got the rally started with a single. The bases were then loaded after Ordonez and Melvin Mora drew back-to-back walks. Agbayani then pinch hit for Cook:

On a 1-0 pitch, Agbayani hit one just over the CF wall for what was termed a Sayonara Slam.

What really stood out about the game winning grand slam was the fact this was supposed to be Agbayani’s last game before getting sent back down to Norfolk. At the moment, the Mets outfield and roster is very crowded.

In addition to the everyday outfield of Henderson-Darryl HamiltonDerek Bell, the Mets also gave Kurt Abbott, Agbayani, Matt Franco, Joe McEwing, Mora, and others, the Mets have good depth. As a result, options and versatility work against him. That said, it’ll be very interesting if it is indeed Agbayani who gets sent down when the Mets need Glendon Rusch to make a start.

Whichever way the Mets decide, they already have a key hit from Agbayani which helped them secure a split from the Japan series.

Game Notes: Ordóñez’s Major League record for errorless games at SS was snapped with a first inning error. Even with the error, he’s shown remarkable patience at the plate drawing three walks in nine plate appearances. This follows a career high 49 walks 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.

2019 Mets Postseason Doppelgangers

There have been a few times in the Mets history where they have surprised or even shocked the World in making their run to the postseason. The biggest example is 1969, which occurred 50 years ago. The Mets would make their Miracle run in 1973, and they would emerge in 1999, 2006, and 2015.

When you look at those rosters, there are players who are comparable to the players on this year’s Mets roster. Here’s a look at how it breaks down:

Catcher

Travis d’Arnaud (Todd Pratt) – d’Arnaud may very well be pressed into action more than anticipated, and as we saw in the 2015 postseason, he can deliver some big hits when needed.

Tomas Nido (Jerry Grote) – A defensive oriented catcher who helps takes his pitchers over the top and more than makes up for whatever offensive issues he may have.

Wilson Ramos (Paul Lo Duca) – Ramos may not have been the catcher the Mets may have originally expected to bring in during the offseason, but like Lo Duca, he could be the perfect fit for this team and surprisingly be a very important piece to this club.

Infield

Pete Alonso (Michael Conforto) – Alonso is the young prospect who is getting thrown into the fire and expected to be a key bat in a lineup who are trying to overcome the Nationals.

Robinson Cano (Rickey Henderson) – Cano was brought in to be the Hall of Fame caliber player who could take this team over the top.

J.D. Davis (Matt Franco) – Players who will predominantly be pinch hitters who are going to be counted upon to provide those key unexpected game winning hits.

Todd Frazier (Ed Charles) – Both were better before joining the Mets, but they proved to be glue guys in the clubhouse making the team better for their presence alone.

Luis Guillorme (Anderson Hernandez) – Tremendously gifted middle infielders whose gloves helped earn them a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Jed Lowrie (Jose Valentin) – Switch hitters who were brought to serve as a bench piece for the Mets who could be pressed into duty more than anticipated, which could be of great value to the team.

Jeff McNeil (Cleon Jones) – Homegrown Mets ready who show their previous year breakouts were not flukes, but rather an indication they are key members of a winning team.

Amed Rosario (Jose Reyes) – Reyes figured it out in 2006, and he became a dynamic and exciting player. This can be that year for Rosario.

Dominic Smith (Ed Kranepool) – Both probably rushed and mishandled as prospects, but they both still had a lot of hits in their bats making them valuable pieces for their club.

Outfield

Keon Broxton (Xavier Nady) – The imported outfielder who has not yet lived up to expectations has an opportunity to prove himself on a talented roster.

Yoenis Cespedes (Donn Clendenon) – The Mets are relying on a big bat to come after the All-Star Break and get this team a World Series, who better than the guy who delivered that in 1969?

Michael Conforto (David Wright) – The time is now for the homegrown player to put it all together and have an MVP caliber season to put this team over the top.

Juan Lagares (Endy Chavez) – Chavez was the defensive oriented player who was pressed into more action than anticipated, and his play on the field was a big reason the 2006 Mets came withing a game of the World Series.

Brandon Nimmo (Edgardo Alfonzo) – Homegrown Met oft overlooked who may actually prove to put up the best season of all the players on the roster.

Starters

Jacob deGrom (Tom Seaver) – deGrom is the staff ace coming off a historically great season, who needs to stay at a high level for the team to make the postseason.

Noah Syndergaard (Noah Syndergaard) – The Mets need Thor to be Thor.

Zack Wheeler (Jacob deGrom) – It was deGrom’s building off of a surprising 2014 season which helped take the Mets over the top in 2015. It’s exactly what everyone is expecting from Wheeler in 2019.

Steven Matz (Al Leiter) – Hometown left-handed pitchers who have a chance to help be a big part of the reason why the Mets make a run to the postseason.

Jason Vargas (Bartolo Colon) – Vargas is the veteran below-league average starter who needs to stick in the rotation while just eating up innings.

Corey Oswalt (Logan Verrett) – The Mets need a low round drafted prospect to put together a string of great starts to help put this team over the top. With his increased velocity, this could be Oswalt.

Chris Flexen (Octavio Dotel) – Spot starters who have the repertoire to potentially do much more damage in the bullpen.

Hector Santiago (Darren Oliver) – Pitchers who once had success starting who could be valuable long men in the bullpen.

Bullpen

Edwin Diaz (Billy Wagner) – Wagner was the sure-fire reliever at the end of the bullpen who helped make games an eight inning affair.

Jeurys Familia (John Franco) – One time great Mets closer is now serving as the set-up man for a young brash fireballer brought in during the offseason.

Seth Lugo (Nolan Ryan) – Just pure dominating stuff out of the bullpen from a guy who would probably be a starting pitcher for any other Major League team.

Robert Gsellman (Pat Mahomes) – The key piece of the 1999 bullpen who permitted the Mets bullpen to be as great as it could possibly be.

Justin Wilson (Dennis Cook) – Pitchers who are more than LOOGYs who raise their game in the biggest stages.

Luis Avilan (Pedro Feliciano) – Feliciano was the LOOGY out of the bullpen who was a weapon the Mets could utilize to neutralize the opponent’s top left-handed batters.

Tim Peterson (Greg McMichael) – Strike throwers who don’t have dominating stuff.

Jacob Rhame (Heath Bell) – The guys whose stuff have not quite yet translated to performance leading them to bounce between Triple-A and the Majors.

Paul Sewald (Carlos Torres) – Jack of all trades reliever who does yeoman’s work eating up innings.

Daniel Zamora (Royce Ring) – Promising young LOOGYS who should dominate in their limited opportunities.

And finally, there is Mickey Callaway, who we are hoping will be able to accomplish what Willie Randolph accomplished by proving himself a good manager in his second year and by leading the Mets to being the best team in the National League.

 

Guillorme May Play An Important Role In 2019

Last year, Luis Guillorme struggled at the Major League level. In 35 games, he had a -0.3 WAR and a 53 wRC+. His defense, which was his calling card, was far from the Gold Glove level many expected it to be. In fact he would have just a 0 DRS in 41.0 innings at second and a -3 DRS in 98.2 innings at third. To make matters worse, even though he was on the 40 man roster, the Mets would not call him up in September.

Heading into the 2019 season, the odds were really stacked against Guillorme. Not only did the organization seem to sour on him, but the team seemed to move past him. During the offseason, the team not only signed Jed Lowrie, they would also sign Adeiny Hechavarria. The team would also add Dilson Herrera to an already crowded Syracuse infield mix.

Seeing the Mets decisions, it was fair to question whether Guillorme would remain a part of the organization for a full season let alone get another opportunity at the Major League level. Guillorme took it upon himself to answer those questions.

While the Mets were finishing another .500 season, Guillorme traveled to Europe to play in the Super 6 Baseball Tournament. In the tournament, he would hit .333/.435/.944 with a triple, three homers, and six RBI, and he would lead Spain to the bronze medal. That would be just the start of an offseason where Guillorme would work hard to get himself ready for the 2019 season.

Put another way, despite the considerable odds stacked against him, Guillorme came to Spring Training ready to force the issue. Everyone would soon take notice:

In 18 games this Spring, Guillorme has hit .361/.465/.556 with four doubles, a homer, and four RBI while playing well defensively. With his play on the field, he would outlast all of his competition for a roster spot. That included Herrera, and it would eventually include Hechavarria. He is now poised to make the Opening Day roster, and he is in a position to impress while Lowrie is on the Injured List.

This means Guillorme will once again have an opportunity to impress the Mets. If he builds off of what he did well last year, he will.

Specifically, Guillorme was quite good off the bench. In 15 pinch hitting attempts, Guillorme was 3-for-11 with a double, four walks, and an RBI. Overall, he would enter 21 games as a sub, and he would hit .375/.524/.438 in those games. One of the reasons why is despite his power, he makes a high rate of contact at the plate, which was evidenced by his 4.1 percent strikeout rate at the Major League level last year.

More than that, Guillorme has always been a smart player who has gotten the most out of his talent. As we are now seeing, he is responding to getting knocked down by coming back a better player. We have seen him play well defensively, and we have seen him perform well as a pinch hitter. Ultimately, he has proven he has the talent to play at the Major League level.

Now, he will have an opportunity to prove he can play well at the Major League level while being a key component of a postseason contender. Based upon his entire professional career, we may see him have a similar impact on the Mets that Joe McEwing once had for the 1999 and 2000 Mets.