Rey Ordonez

2000 Game Recap: Franco Blows Mahomes Gem

When you look at this game on paper, you think this is one where you wouldn’t take much issue if the Mets lost. Pat Mahomes was making a spot start for the injured Al Leiter, and he was squaring off against Kevin Brown. The Mets offense has been struggling, which may be a function of the fatigue of starting the season in Japan, and this was a day game after a night game.

What we didn’t count on happening was Mahomes out-dueling Brown for 5.2 innings. Maybe we shouldn’t have been too surprised with how great he was for the Mets last year.

For the first five innings, the Dodgers couldn’t get a runner past first base. That was the case right from the jump with Mahomes picking Devon White off of first after he led off the game with a single.

The Dodgers finally broke through against Mahomes when Mark Grudzielanek hit a lead-off homer against Mahomes. After two quick outs, Eric Karros would double leading to Bobby Valentine going to get his spot starter after a great outing. When Turk Wendell retired Adrian Beltre, Mahomes was in line for the win.

That was because the Mets offense was able to get the ball up against the sinkerballer Brown. In the second, Jay Payton hit his first career homer. In the ensuing inning, Edgardo Alfonzo hit a two run homer to give the Mets a 3-0 lead.

The Mets offense would come alive with their backups, and they would put some insurance runs against the Dodgers bullpen. Kurt Abbott, Todd Pratt, and Melvin Mora led off the bottom of the eighth with three straight singles off Gregg Olson to expand the lead to 4-1.

The bases were then loaded on a catcher’s interference against Benny Agbayani leading to a Rey Ordonez RBI ground out. Even with the Mets not taking full advantage of the situation, you had to expect a 5-1 lead should have been more than enough. It wasn’t.

John Franco entered the ninth, and even without there being a save opportunity, he blew it. He gave up a homer to the first batter he faced, Karros. After striking out Beltre, he walked Chad Kreuter, and former Met Kevin Elster singled. White then hit a game tying three run homer.

Just like that, the great performance by Mahomes was wasted.

The Mets had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with Todd Zeile drawing a two out walk against Mike Fetters and then stealing second. Pratt would walk as well, but Mora could not drive them home.

Armando Benitez came on for the 10th, and after two quick fly outs, he gave up the game winning homer to Karros. After Jeff Shaw retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning, the Mets lost about as frustrating a game as they can lose.

Game Notes: Fans booed Rickey Henderson lustily by the fans, and he returned the favor by clapping for himself after he flew out to Shawn Green in the fourth. Valentine would lift him for defensive purposes in the top of the seventh, and Mora would make a nice play in the wind. The first non-Orodonez start at short went to Mora and not Abbott.

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: Maybe The Mets Aren’t A Good Team

It is still early in the season, but at some point we may need to question just how good of a Mets team this is. Rickey Henderson is loafing it around the bases and blowing bubbles as he gets thrown out. Rey Ordonez is making errors. Darryl Hamilton is hobbled. Their new ace, Mike Hampton, isn’t looking like an ace.

Mostly, Bobby Valentine‘s team has looked sloppy and over-matched to begin this season. Today’s game against the San Diego Padres was the perfect encapsulation of that.

Matt Clement, who had a 4.48 ERA last year, shut down this once powerful offense over 6.2 innings allowing just one run on five hits. Time and again, this team was unable to get a key hit. It should then come as little surprise that the one run they actually scored against Clement came off a bases loaded walk to Edgardo Alfonzo in the seventh. That was promptly followed by a Mike Piazza fly out.

At that point, whatever the Mets did was too little, too late as the team was already trailing 7-0. That was the case not so much because Hampton was bad, he wasn’t, but because this team just doesn’t seem as focused as they were last year. Right now, it all just seems bizarre.

Ruben Rivera of all people is hitting two RBI triples. It was just 2-0 in the top of the sixth when Rivera reached safely again. This time it led off the inning, and it was because Ordonez threw one away. Ordonez has quickly gone from a Major League record setter for errorless games to making two errors already this season.

That error was followed by a fun scenario you never see with Ed Sprague hitting a sacrifice fly to Alfonzo at second allowing Eric Owens to score from third. After that Hampton was done after allowing four runs, two earned over 5.2 innings.

So far in his brief Mets career, Hampton isn’t going deep into games, and he is walking a lot of batters. Even though this wasn’t his dismal Opening Day performance, three walks over 5.2 innings is cause for concern.

Speaking of Mets who are starting to show signs of worry, Turk Wendell got lit up again, and he carries a 4.91 ERA early this season. His outing was marked by Owens hitting a triple between Hamilton and Derek Bell and scoring when Bell threw it away. That’s right, the Mets were so bad today the Padres were hitting Little League homers against them.

If you are looking for signs of hope, it’s April afterall, the Mets still seem to possess that resiliency which marked them in 1999 by scoring at least one run in each of the final three innings.

One of those runs came compliment of a Benny Agbayani pinch hit RBI double in the eighth. Somehow, this was his first plate appearance since his Sayonara Slam. Hopefully, the Mets realize what they have in him and use him instead of letting this Jon Nunnally experiment fail.

In the ninth, Todd Pratt hit a three run homer in a rally started by Jay Payton. With respect to Payton, he looked really good today, and he has looked pretty good in his limited chances. If Hamilton is going to be this hobbled, Payton looks like he can step in now and play everyday.

Overall, this was just a bad 8-5 loss. Teams suffer these losses all the time, even the best teams. Even great teams have stretches like this. However, when you see sloppiness and listlessness on the field, especially from people like Henderson, you can’t help but start to get nervous about the Mets prospects in 2000.

Game Notes: Todd Zeile is the Mets only everyday player who has a batting average over .200. Alfonzo leads the team with a .788 OPS.

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 Offense Still Doesn’t Know Season Began

Last year, the Mets torched Woody Williams in their three games against him. They hit .258/.355/.468 off of him, and they scored 15 runs off of him in 17.1 innings pitched. If ever there was a game for the Mets offense to wake up this year, it was going to be this one, and yet, Williams would shut out the Mets over his six innings pitched.

It wasn’t like the Mets had chances. The Mets had at least one on in five of the six innings Williams pitched, and they had a runner in scoring position in four of the six innings. Still, they couldn’t muster one run. The worst of it was in the fourth inning.

With the Mets already trailing 4-0, they loaded the bases with no outs. Even with Williams being wild on the mound walking consecutive batters, Rey Ordonez went up there hacking, and he popped up the first pitch. With the pitcher’s spot due up, again Bobby Valentine went to Jon Nunnally instead of Benny Agbayani, and Nunnally would strike out looking. Finally, Rickey Henderson grounded out to end the inning.

It wasn’t like this would be their last chance in the game. In the bottom of the eighth and facing Padres reliever Carlos Almanzar, Edgardo Alfonzo would hit a lead-off double. After a Mike Piazza ground out and a Robin Ventura walk, Derek Bell and Todd Zeile both struck out looking to end the rally.

While the Mets offense wasn’t taking advantage of opportunities, the Padres offense did just that against Bobby Jones. Jones actually entered this season as the fourth starter after an injury plagued 1999 season where he was left off the postseason roster. Unlike Octavio Dotel, he wasn’t even given an opportunity to prove his worth in what was a crowded and dominant bullpen.

Things did not get off to a good start for him in 2000. In the second inning, he broke the golden rule by walking Phil Nevin to start the inning. After an Eric Owens flyout, back-to-back doubles by Bret Boone and Ruben Rivera gave the Padres a 2-0 lead. That grew to 3-0 when Carlos Hernandez, who the Mets simply cannot get out right now, hit an RBI single.

In the third, the Padres would load the bases with two outs, Jones walked Boone to force in the fourth run of the game. At that point, Jones’ pitch count was already at 73, and Valentine was not about to let this game out of hand. He brought in his long reliever, Pat Mahomes, who got the Mets out of the jam.

If you’re looking for a silver lining in this game, it is the bullpen. Starting with Mahomes pitching 1.1 scoreless innings, the bullpen pitched 6.1 scoreless. That included Rich Rodriguez who did the yeoman’s work of pitching 3.0 innings.

So far, it is only the fourth game of the season, and it may be too early to panic. However, this is a Mets team who had a great offense last year, and now without John Olerud and Roger Cedeno, they are having some difficulty scoring runs. It also doesn’t help Henderson isn’t happy.

Still, the pitching and defense are still there, and as long as they are working well, we should have time for the Mets offense to wake up, as it usually does when we hit the summer months. Until then, the Mets have a favorable enough April schedule to allow this team to get into a groove.

Game Recap: The Mets used Nunnally, Jay Payton, Matt Franco, and Kurt Abbott off the bench. All signs right now are even with his grand slam, Agbayani will lay dormant until he is sent down for Glendon Rusch.

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: Derek Answers The Bell

It is a good thing the Mets left Al Leiter home to prepare for this Shea Stadium Opening Day start because it appeared the Mets bats were jet-lagged from their trip home from Japan. That may be a bit of a misnomer because aside from the Benny Agbayani Sayonara Slam, the Mets offense has not been the dynamic offense it was last year.

Leiter was great for the Mets against a good Padres lineup which includes future Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn and Phil Nevin, who was actually drafted ahead of Derek Jeter and had a breakout season last year. Nevin aside, Leiter dominated this lineup allowing just five hits over eight one run innings where he walked none and struck out seven.

The problem for Leiter and the Mets was not only Sterling Hitchcock matching him pitch-for-pitch, but the Padres had a 1-0 lead entering the seventh due to Nevin’s second inning homer off of Leiter. Entering that seventh inning, the Mets had just two hits, and just one runner in scoring position.

Finally, Hitchcock made a mistake issuing a lead-off walk to Edgardo Alfonzo. Mike Piazza followed with a single putting runners on the corners with no outs. That’s when Todd Zeile had his first big moment as a Met delivering a game tying sacrifice fly.

The Mets then squandered their chance to take the lead. After Zeile’s sacrifice fly, Hitchcock hit Robin Ventura, and the Padres went to the bullpen to summon Donne Wall. He responded by striking out Darryl Hamilton and Rey Ordonez to get out of the jam.

Like Hitchcock, Wall looked unhittable. After striking out Hamilton and Ordonez, he would come out for the eighth, and he would get Jon Nunnally to pop out before striking out Rickey Henderson. As an aside, it is really bizarre Bobby Valentine would go with Nunnally to pinch hit for Leiter.

Nunnally has not been good for two years running. While there is a case to be made for the L/R split, last year Nunnally hit .286/.286/.357 off right-handed pitchers last year whereas Agbayani hit .279/.347/.512 off of them last year. Throw in his grand slam in Japan, and you have to wonder why he didn’t come to the plate.

Fortunately, it didn’t matter. Just like when Zeile had his first big Mets moment, Derek Bell would have his own with a go-ahead game winning homer off of Wall. Armando Benitez, in his first year as the Mets full-time closer picked up where he left off last year by mowing down the Padres in the ninth.

We can harp on things like the Mets offense not appearing through three games this year. However, behind that has been some really good pitching and two wins. If the Mets keep playing like that, this is a team who can fulfill the World Series aspirations we have for them.

Game Notes: After experimenting with Hamilton batting second in Japan, Valentine put Bell in his comfortable second hole in the lineup from his Astros days. That could be a function of the left-handed pitcher going.

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: 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.

2000 Game Recap: Mike Hampton Walks Through Japan

For the first time in Major League history, the Cincinnati Reds are not hosting the first MLB game of the regular season. No, that tradition had to die so Major League Baseball could begin the 2000 season in Japan. That led to the Mets and Cubs playing the first two games of the season in the Tokyo Dome.

Everything about the game was bizarre. There were the players wearing advertisements on their jerseys to be reminiscent of NPB players. There was the the slightly expanded rosters to accommodate the teams traveling to Japan and having a slightly shorter Spring Training. There was also fans having to get up for a 6:00 A.M. first pitch.

Really, in terms of baseball, Bobby Valentine, who had managed the Chiba Lotte Marines before coming back to the US, was probably the only person comfortable. That would not be true for long as he would quickly become rather uncomfortable with the Cubs hitters looking very comfortable at the plate against new Mets ace Mike Hampton.

Before you could blink, it was 1-0. Hampton walked Eric Young to start the game, and he would quickly steal second allowing him to score on a Damon Buford (who previously played in Japan) RBI single. Mark Grace was hit by a pitch, and suddenly, you were cringing at the prospect of a Sammy Sosa homer.

While much changed about the Mets this past offseason, most of the greatest infield of all-time remained in tact. We saw that as they turned a 6-4-3 double play helping Hampton and the Mets get out of the inning without further damage.

This is pretty much how it went for the Mets all day. Hampton would walk the ballpark, nine in total over five innings, and the infield defense would bail him out.

After a lead-off walk to Shane Andrews in the second, he was immediately erased as Jose Nieves hit into a 6-6-3 double play. In the fifth, things would have been much worse after Hampton walked Andrews to force in a run had he not induced Nieves to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the fifth.

After that pitch, Hampton was done. He had thrown 103 pitches over five while allowing four hits and nine walks. He’d also throw a wild pitch while striking out two. If you are looking for a bright side, he was getting a lot of groundballs in front of what is still an amazing infield defense, and he did not allow one extra base hit.

While Hampton was fighting it throughout the game, Jon Lieber cruised through seven innings.

Believe it or not, the Mets real offensive threat early in the game was Rey Ordonez. He had a lead-off single in the third, and after Hampton bunted him over, and Rickey Henderson singled, he’d score on a Darryl Hamilton sacrifice fly.

The following inning, the Mets had an opportunity to break the 1-1 tie to take the lead with Ordonez drawing a two out walk to load the bases, but Hampton was not able to help his own cause.

Things were interesting and close into the seventh due to Dennis Cook bailing out Turk Wendell in the sixth. Unfortunately, Cook could not get out of his own trouble in the seventh as Andrews hit a two run homer to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead. That lead would grow to 5-1 when Grace homered off Rich Rodriguez in the eighth.

With Lieber out of the game in the eighth, Edgardo Alfonzo drew a lead-off walk off of Brian Williams, and Mike Piazza homered to pull the Mets to within 5-3. Unfortunately, this was not the start of a huge comeback as six of the last seven Mets recorded outs to end the game.

It was one day, but the moves made by Steve Phillips to take this Mets team over the top did not do much. Hampton took the loss while walking nine over five innings. Derek Bell, who also came in that trade, was 1-for-4, and Todd Zeile, who was signed to replace John Olerud, was 0-for-4.

Still, it is just one game, and it was an odd one by all accounts. We shall see how the next game goes as well as the rest of the 2000 season.

Game Notes: Bobby Jones and Al Leiter did not make the trip as they are preparing for their starts at Shea. This means Rick Reed will start the second game of the season. Henderson isn’t exactly endearing himself to fans as he followed playing cards with Bobby Bonilla with a demand for a new contract. He was, however, 1-for-4 with a walk.

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.

Mets Who Should Be Inducted Into Team Hall Of Fame

The Mets have continued their recent push to honor their past by announcing they will induct Edgardo Alfonzo, Ron Darling, Al Jackson, and Jon Matlack into the Mets Ha of Fame. This is a very good group, and the Mets should be commended for taking this positive step.

That said, the Mets Hall of Fame is not as representative of the best players in team history, and the Mets still have work to do. On that front, here are five people the Mets should look to induct in the ensuing years.

David Wright

Believe it or not, the Mets have yet to induct Wright into their Hall of Fame despite his being their all-time leader in many offensive categories, leading all Mets position players in WAR, and being the fourth Captain in team history.

Obviously, it’s only a matter of time before the Mets induct him, and very likely, it’s also a matter of time before the Mets retire his number five.

Al Leiter

Leiter is arguably the third best left-handed starter in Mets history, and with his 124 ERA+, he’s definitively a top ten starting pitcher in Mets history. Expounding upon his ERA+, it’s third best in team history behind only Tom Seaver and Jacob deGrom among Mets pitchers who have thrown at least 1,000 innings.

More than the numbers, Leiter was instrumental in those late 90s teams. His 1998 season was one of the best seasons a Mets starter ever had. The following year, he had one of the best starts a Mets pitcher ever had.

In the do-or-die Wild Card play-in game, Leiter pitched a two hit shut out against the Reds. Not only did the set the stage for the magical 1999 postseason run, it was very likely the best regular season start a Mets pitcher ever had in a must win game.

Overall, Leiter was a big game pitcher who was one of the best Mets starters ever. Given his impact on those Mets teams, you really cannot adequately tell the story of that era or the Mets as a franchise without mentioning him.

Bobby Valentine

At the moment, Valentine has the third highest winning percentage, the third most wins, and the third most games managed in Mets history. He was the first manager to ever guide the Mets to consecutive postseasons.

Valentine was the perfect manager at the perfect time for the Mets. He always seemed to know the right button to push, including but not limited to his showing up in the dugout with just about the worst disguise you’ve ever seen after he was ejected.

More than the numbers, Valentine played an important role post 9/11. He was visiting firehouses and was at Shea Stadium when it was being used as a staging ground for the relief efforts. He also stood alongside his players in a NYPD cap as his players took the field for the rest of that season wearing the first responder caps.

Gary Cohen

The Mets are nearing a somewhat awkward situation with Cohen. The man who is very likely the best play-by-play announcer in the game has been a Ford C. Frick finalist, and he’s likely going to win the award at some point with his being eligible again in three years.

Effectively speaking, this would mean Cohen is in the Hall of Fame (albeit not formally inducted) but not the Mets Hall of Fame. Keep in mind, Cohen is already in the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame.

Mets fans love Cohen not just for his being part of GKR, but also for his having some of the greatest calls in Mets history. The lifelong Mets fan always seems to be able to take a great moment and elevate it.

With his fellow broadcast partners, Keith Hernandez and now Darling being inducted, he should join them in short order. When he’s being inducted, he should be joined by Howie Rose, who is similarly great and also has some of the best calls in Mets history.

Carlos Beltran

Seeing how Alfonzo was awkwardly fired from the Brooklyn Cyclones and just a few months later is going to be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame, there is actually precedent for Beltran being inducted after what has recently transpired.

Looking at his Mets career, Beltran is the best center fielder in team history, and you could argue he’s the best outfielder. Certainly, he’s the best free agent signing in team history.

Beltran ranks among the top 5 – 10 in many offensive categories, and he’s the only Mets outfielder with multiple Gold Gloves. In fact, Beltran joins Hernandez and Rey Ordonez as the only Mets to win at least three Gold Gloves.

Beltran was a leader of those Mets teams, and his 2006 season was one of, if not, the best season a Mets positional player ever has. On merit alone, he deserves induction into the Mets Hall of Fame.

Given recent events, it’s likely we won’t see that happen anytime soon. Beltran isn’t the only worthy individual who may not be inducted soon.

In fact, the same could be said about Nelson Doubleday, who is the only Mets owner with a winning record. With his acrimony with the Wilpons, it’s unlikely they move to induct their former business partner.

There are other individuals who could be considered. Johan Santana has thrown the only no-hitter in Mets history, Robin Ventura had the Grand Slam Single, Howard Johnson is the only player with multiple 30/30 seasons, and Curtis Granderson was a leader on the field and just about the best human being to ever don a Mets uniform.

All of this highlights how the Mets have a rich and full history, and it’s great to see them finally dedicated to recognizing and celebrating it.

National League DH Arguments Are Highly Flawed

Major League Baseball is embroiled in the sign stealing scandal, so it was time for baseball to dust off the old universal DH alarm. Many will have you believe there’s an air of inevitability to it, and from a Mets perspective, we hear this is the best case scenario with Robinson Cano, J.D. Davis, and Dominic Smith (as if you can DH three players).

Whenever we hear about this, proponents of the universal DH rush to make arguments which don’t hold up to scrutiny. Let’s look at them:

No One Wants To See Pitcher’s Hit

This is usually the biggest rejoinder as if fans enjoy seeing defensive geniuses like Rey Ordonez (59 OPS+) or Juan Lagares (83 OPS+) hit.

Looking at attendance figures, the last time an AL team had the highest attendance was 2010. This year, three of the top five and six of the top 10 teams in attendance were NL teams. By the same token, nine of the worst 11 teams in attendance were AL teams.

This is something which holds true year-in and year-out. If the DH is really a drawing point for fans, it’s not showing up in attendance figures.

Pitchers Kill Rallies

The scenario always painted is based loaded, two outs, your team down one, and you lose because the pitcher comes up to the plate. Frankly, this doesn’t happen.

In 2019, Stephen Strasburg led all pitchers in plate appearances. He averaged 2.3 plate appearances per game. Frankly, he and all pitchers are out of the game for a pinch hitter when the game is on the line.

On that front, from the seventh inning on, NL punch hitters have a 78 wRC+. That’s slightly higher than AL ninth place hitters with their 77 wRC+. Fact is, when the game is on the line, NL and AL teams are sending the same caliber of hitter to the plate.

As for the pitchers being rally killers, it’s hard to argue they’re not even if the case is grossly overstated. In 2019, there were 2,079 PA by batters with two outs and runners in scoring position. Only 97 of those PA (4.7%) were from pitchers.

Really, when you break it down, pitchers aren’t getting the plate appearances in high leverage situations proponents of the DH want you to believe.

DH Means More Offense

Now, there’s no doubting a DH is a better hitter than a pitcher. After all, in 2019, DHs had a 104 wRC+ as compared to the pitchers -18 wRC+. That’s an astronomical difference.

Even with the difference between the two, it’s not making the difference in run scoring and offense as people will have you believe.

In 2019, NL teams hit .251/323/.431, and AL teams hit .253/.323/.439. On average, NL teams scored 4.8 runs per game, and AL teams scored 4.9 runs per game. That is not remotely close to being a significant difference. In fact, on a game-to-game basis, it’s not remotely discernible.

This may come as a surprise when you look at the difference between a pitcher and DH hitting. However, as noted above, most pitchers get two PA per game. As the game moves towards increased bullpen use, that number will drop. Between that and pitchers not batting in high leverage situations, there shouldn’t be much of a surprise there’s no real difference in run scoring between the leagues.

The DH Adds Jobs

One argument for the DH is it adds jobs. It doesn’t. If you look, both AL and NL teams have 26 man rosters. The DH isn’t adding a roster spot, but rather, another spot in the lineup. As shown above, that spot alone isn’t driving attendance or run scoring.

DH Keeps Veterans Around Longer

This has always been a curious argument. At its core, this argument is saying fans would want to see older players with severely diminished skills over exciting young players.

Putting that aside, that’s not how teams utilize the DH. Last year, the 10 batters who had the most PA as a DH were:

If you’re looking to discern a pattern here, it is these are players teams have decided they don’t want in the field. That applies to the 22 year old reigning AL Rookie of the Year to the 2013 AL MVP.

Looking at Cabrera, he is a DH not because teams want to see him finish up his Hall of Fame career and give him a chance to put more numbers. Rather, it is because he has a long-term deal, and the Tigers have to play him somewhere.

Cabrera and players like Cruz are a dying breed in the AL. Teams are increasingly using the DH for poor fielders or as a way to keep players fresh. We’re not seeing it as a place where Vladimir Guerrero or other Hall of Famers try to hang on for a few more years.

Pitcher Injury Concerns

Whenever this issue comes up, we undoubtedly hear about Chien-Ming Wang‘s season ending injury. It was unfortunate, but let’s revisit it.

Wang injured himself running. No, not sliding into a base. Not a collision with a fielder. He injured himself running. Want to throw in it was from his stepping on a base, fine, go ahead.

Realistically speaking, this is no different, than pitchers running to cover first. They run full speed and step on the base. In the end, Wang injured himself on a non-contact baseball play.

If the issue is we don’t want to see pitchers running and stepping on bases, we’re going to have to find out a new way to handle plays were first basemen have to stray too far off first to field the ball.

Another point on Wang’s unfortunate injury was this occurred over a decade ago, and we haven’t seen another pitcher suffer a similar injury since that time. We also don’t see pitchers suffer injuries batting.

In essence, this is an overreaction to an isolated event, which as we have seen, happens maybe once a decade.

MLB Is Only League Where Pitchers Hit

This is just flat out false. In fact, the NPL Central League also has pitchers batting. When you look at it that way, the two very best professional baseball leagues have pitchers batting.

In the minors, we also will see pitchers batting when NL affiliates square off against one another.

Looking at it this way, why should baseball lower its standards to what semi-professional and amateur leagues do? Aren’t these supposed to be the absolute best players playing at the highest level?

Really, it doesn’t make sense to lower baseball’s standards to comply with what far lesser professional leagues do.

Overall, this is much like the argument for the universal DH. It’s mostly largely unsubstantiated rhetoric which comports to what people think the DH should do, but doesn’t.

In the end, there are a substantial number of baseball fans who love the National League style of baseball. They should be permitted to enjoy that baseball, which as we have seen, generates higher attendance and larger revenues while having a game with more strategy and substantially speaking, the same amount of offense.

If you still can’t handle those roughly two PA per game from pitchers, there’s a whole league you can enjoy while you leave the traditional and better baseball for the rest of us, who based on the numbers, outnumber the DH or bust fans.

Trivia Friday: Mets Best Defenders

Last year, the Mets were the second worst defensive team in the National League with a combined -77 DRS. So far, the Mets ate the worst defensive team in the National League with a -22 DRS.

The biggest culprits are Amed Rosario (worst SS in the NL by DRS) and J.D. Davis (worst infielder in baseball). This is a far cry of the days John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, and Rey Ordonez made up the best infield in history.

What we don’t know is what their DRS would’ve been. The reason is DRS came widely available in 2003. Can you name the Mets best defensive players at each position since then? Good luck!


Tom Glavine Kevin Plawecki Daniel Murphy Jose Valentin Chris Woodward Endy Chavez Juan Lagares Jeff Francoeur

Meet The Mets Fan: Derek Carty

The Mets Fan

My name is Derek Carty. I’m the former fantasy manager for sabermetric sites Baseball Prospectus and The Hardball Times (now part of FanGraphs), but I’m best known these days for my work in Daily Fantasy. I write for ESPN, was on Baseball Tonight during the 2015 season, and put out content through RotoGrinders, including my DFS projection system THE BAT, which has been shown to outperform even Vegas lines.

How You Became a Mets Fan

I’ve been a Mets fan since I was a kid. The crazy-good infield of John Olerud, Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordonez, and Robin Ventura was what I grew up with. I’ve become more jaded over the years…

Favorite Mets Player

Mike Piazza, and it’s not close. Everyone agrees he’s the best hitting catcher of all time, but he was an incredibly underrated defender that got shafted because of the era he played in. He had a bad arm, and that’s all anyone ever focused on back then. But a catcher’s arm is much less important than his framing, and Baseball Prospectus’s retro framing stats show that he was +60 runs above average for his career. He gave some back with the arm, but for his career he was actually a well above-average defender, despite a reputation as a bad one. This is the greatest catcher of all time. Not the greatest hitting catcher. The greatest catcher. Not getting into the Hall on the first ballot was an absolute joke.

Favorite Moment in Met History

2000 NLCS Game 5. I remember listening to “Who Let the Mets Out” on repeat lol.

Message to Mets Fans

“Try not to cry”? That’s been my motto. The way they handled the trade deadline (specifically Lucas Duda and Jay Bruce) was terrible, the Bruce deal this off-season was bad, the way they’ve handled their pitchers has been bad. Seriously, what were they thinking with Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz last year? I really want to be optimistic, but it’s tough. There is *some* reason for it. I like the Todd Frazier deal. I like that they are trying to fix the training staff. I think the A-Gon deal is an okay low-risk move. But as long as the Wilpons are in charge, I have a hard time seeing this organization ever really turning a corner. I have them projected for 84 wins this year, which is solid and could put them in contention for the Second Wild Card, but that’s assuming relatively good health. A team in a market like NYC needs to be better, even if they have to tear it all down first.