Turk Wendell

2000 Game Recap: Mets Homers Provide Enough Cushion For Leaky Bullpen

Well, in this three game series, it appears as if getting a 2-0 lead was a death knell. To that end, it seems fortunate Glendon Rusch walked the first batter of the game before allowing RBI singles to Bobby Abreu and Mike Lieberthal to give the Mets a 2-0 deficit before they ever came up to the plate.

The Mets got one of those runs back when Derek Bell hit a homer off of Cliff Politte in the bottom of the first. It was a much needed hit for Bell who was mired in a real 12-for-88 stretch (.136) at the same time Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton have taken off at the plate.

Just like the Mets did in the first two games of this series, after scoring their first run of the game, their offense went dormant. After Bell’s homer, Politte would retire the next eight Mets in a row. The Mets would get things started again in the fourth when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Todd Zeile struck out to end the inning.

The Mets couldn’t cash in on rallies in this game, but the one thing they were able to do was hit the long ball. In the fifth, Melvin Mora tied the game on a solo homer, and then in the sixth, Payton hit a two run homer to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.

During this time, Rusch had settled in and gone to work after that tough 36 pitch first inning. In the fourth, he got out of jam with runners on first and second with two outs by getting Politte to pop out. In the seventh, he fought through a Robin Ventura error allowing the lead-off batter to reach. Through it all, Rusch pitched seven strong innings allowing just the two earned runs from the first inning while allowing seven hits and one walk. He would also strike out seven.

Rusch was lifted for the pinch hitter Lenny Harris, who hit a one out double. He’d come around to score later that inning on a two out RBI single by Bell. Little did we know it at the time, but the Mets would need that run.

While the Mets bullpen has been leaky of late, Turk Wendell has been good. He had not allowed a run over his last three appearances, and he had allowed runs once over his last eight appearances. Today, he was not good at all, and he nearly blew the game.

The top of the eighth started with a Scott Rolen homer. After that, Wendell walked Lieberthal, and Lieberthal went to second on a Todd Pratt passed ball. Pat Burrell, who at least didn’t homer today, reached safely on Ventura’s second error of the game. Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly pulling the Phillies to within 5-4. Fortunately, Wendell retired Kevin Sefcik to get out of the inning.

Things were not nearly as eventful in the ninth. Beginning his second inning of work, Wendell retired Doug Glanville and Ron Gant. Bobby Valentine then brought in Dennis Cook to get the left-handed Abreu to end the game. With that, Cook had his first save of the season, and the Mets avoided the sweep.

Game Notes: After his time working on things in Triple-A, Bobby Jones is slated to make his next start against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Darryl Hamilton will start his rehab assignment next week. Armando Benitez called Mets fans dumb for booing John Franco yesterday, and he accused Mets fans of only wanting to see the bad. With his two errors today, Ventura passed his error total for all of last season.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Rookie Pat Burrell Becoming A Mets Killer

Starting with Mike Piazza hitting a first inning two run homer off of Curt Schilling scoring Edgardo Alfonzo to give the Mets a 2-0 lead, this game had a bit of an ugly deja vu feeling to their frustrating loss to the Phillies yesterday.

Part of that deja vu was Pat Burrell being the Phillies big bat leading the assault. The other part was a ninth inning meltdown by the Mets bullpen.

After two, the Mets had a 3-0 lead with Jason Tyner hitting an RBI ground out scoring Jay Payton in the second. Al Leiter would surrender that 3-0 lead in the third with two of the three runs being unearned.

With one out, Robin Ventura made a rare error allowing Doug Glanville to reach safely. After that, the Phillies would load the bases. Mike Lieberthal hit a two run double, and then Kevin Jordan hit a sacrifice fly tying the game at 3-3.

After the score was tied, Schilling had begun making quick work of the Mets lineup. Starting with the second inning, Schilling retired nine in a row. After Schilling retired Tyner to lead off the fifth, Leiter and Melvin Mora would hit a back-to-back singles, but the Mets could not push a run across.

That immediately came back to haunt the Mets with Burrell leading off the sixth with a homer. In the seventh, it was Ron Gant homering against Leiter to give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. When Scott Rolen followed the Gant homer with a single, Bobby Valentine lifted Leiter for Turk Wendell.

You could argue Leiter deserved better on the day. Through his 6.1 innings, he had allowed five runs with only three of them earned. He would walk three while striking out seven. However, that third inning rally was exacerbated by Leiter, and he didn’t get the big out he needed.

Fortunately for Leiter, the Mets would get him off the hook. Chris Brock came out of the Phillies bullpen in the eighth, and he was greeted immediately with back-to-back singles by Derek Bell and Alfonzo. After Alfonzo stole second and Piazza struck out, there was runners on second and third with one out. Ventura delivered and atoned for the two unearned runs resulting from his error with a two RBI single tying the game.

The Mets had the chance to take the lead but squandered it. Todd Zeile followed Ventura’s RBI single with a single of his own. The rally ended there as Payton struck out, and Tyner grounded out to end the inning. Much like in the sixth, the Mets would immediately regret wasting this chance.

John Franco had nothing. He was pitching for the second straight game and third time over a four day span. Perhaps, he was just tired. Whatever the case, he imploded.

After a Gant double, there were runners on second and third with no outs. After Franco struck out Scott Rolen, Lieberthal, who is a Mets killer, was walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play. That double play never happened.

Franco walked Jordan to force home a run. Then, Valentine brought in Benitez to pitch to Burrell. Benitez was tired himself. He had pitched over an inning yesterday and threw 33 pitches. On the fifth pitch to Burrell, Burrell got Benitez again this time hitting a grand slam to put the Phillies up 10-5.

With the Mets going down 1-2-3 in the ninth, they yet again had wasted a good pitching performance, and they were unable to overcome the failures of Benitez. Worse yet, it seems as if the rookie Pat Burrell is starting to become a Mets killer.

Game Notes: Piazza is currently riding an 11 game hitting streak. Rey Ordonez has been officially ruled out for the rest of the year leaving the Mets to ride with Melvin Mora and Kurt Abbott at shortstop until they decided to obtain one in a trade.

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Make Rusch Hard Luck Loser Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Beat Cubs And Rain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editor’s Note: With there being no games to begin the season, this site will follow the 2000 season and post recaps as if those games happened in real time. If nothing else, it is better to remember this pennant winning season and revisit some of the overlooked games than it is to dwell on the complete lack of baseball.

2000 Game Recap: Mets Throw One Away

This is a game the Mets are going to want to get back. After having a 3-1 lead through four-and-a-half innings, they blew that lead, and then they effectively game this game away to the Cubs.

Through the first four, it was 1-1 with both Rick Reed and Kevin Tapani dealing. With respect to Reed it was a sight for sore eyes. Early in the season, Reed was pitching like the team’s ace. However, he has been nicked up a bit lately, and he has struggled with a 7.00 ERA over his last five starts.

After Sammy Sosa and Mark Grace got to him with back-to-back doubles in the first, he retired 11 of the next 13 Cubs with no one reaching scoring position. While Reed was shutting down the Cubs, the Mets were working on getting him a lead.

The Mets tied the game in the second. With runners on second and third after a Robin Ventura walk and Todd Zeile double, Jason Tyner hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game. The rally ended there with Reed striking out to end the inning.

Reed failed to deliver again in the fourth. After Tapani hit Tyner, the bases were loaded with two outs. The Mets didn’t push home a run as Reed struck out. That’s National League baseball for you.

In the fifth, Reed wasn’t around for Tapani to get out of the inning. The rally started with Jay Payton, who was installed as the lead-off hitter during his hot stretch, and he moved to second on a Derek Bell single. After Edgardo Alfonzo and Mike Piazza failed to deliver, Robin Ventura hit a two run double giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.

The Cubs got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning. Jeff Huson led off the inning with a single, and Tapani sacrificed him over to third. Huson then moved up to third when Reed uncorked a wild pitch. That allowed him to score on a Eric Young Sr. sacrifice fly.

Reed would nearly escape the seventh with a 3-2 lead before handing it off to the Mets bullpen. After two quick outs, Young singled and stole second. Reed just couldn’t get that last out as Brant Brown hit an RBI single tying the game. After Turk Wendell relieved Reed to get out of the inning, Reed had a no decision after 6.2 strong innings.

Reed assuredly wanted a better result, but this was a step in the right direction for him. More often times than not, if he pitches this way, the Mets are going to win the game. Today was just not his or the Mets day.

One of the reasons why was the Mets offense just did not get anything going after the fifth. Tapani pitched two scoreless before handing the ball to the Cubs bullpen. Felix Heredia and Rick Aguilera got the job done keeping the Mets off the board over the final two innings.

The same could not be said for the Mets bullpen. John Franco relieved Wendell to start the eighth, and in typical Franco fashion, he got into trouble. With runners on first and second and one out, Glenallen Hill hit a ball at Zeile. Zeile fired it to Kurt Abbott to get the first out, but Abbott’s return throw missed its target. Franco ran past the ball allowing Damon Buford to score the go-ahead run.

It’s easy to kill Abbott here and say the Mets would’ve won the game had that been Rey Ordonez instead of him. However, it needs to be pointed out Joe Girardi took him out with the slide at second, and Franco never quite read or adapted to the throw which was off the mark but not all that wild.

Whoever you want to blame here, the result is the same. The Mets gave away a game they should have won. They were shut down by the Cubs bullpen they should have been able to at least gotten started against. When you chalk it all up, it was just a bad loss. The key is to not let this type of loss spiral.

Game Notes: The finale of the Yankee Stadium portion of the Subway Series was rained out. There is some discussion about the make-up being a doubleheader split between Shea and Yankee Stadium.  Piazza tweaked his ankle during the game but said it should not keep him out of the lineup. The Mets are considering skipping Bobby Jones‘ next turn through the rotation, but Paul Wilson is not under consideration as he’s been limited to 85 pitches per start.

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 Lose Game And Potentially Piazza

If you want to look for positives from this game, they were there. While he had departed the game on the short side of the ledger, Mike Hampton continued his stretch of good pitching allowing three runs (two earned) over seven innings. The Mets also fought to get back into this game.

Heading into the eighth inning, the Mets could get nothing done against Kevin Brown. Brown was his typical dominant self, and if not for an Edgardo Alfonzo homer in the first, the Mets would not have scored a run. In fact, Alfonzo, Robin Ventura, and Hampton were the only to get a hit off of Brown over his six innings.

Entering the eighth, the Mets were down 3-1, which meant they were in the game. Soon, it would be tied. Kurt Abbott led off the inning with a homer off of Alan Mills. After Matt Franco drew a pinch hit walk, and Melvin Mora singled, the Dodgers brought in Matt Herges.

Alfonzo ripped a ball to deep right off of Herges scoring Jon Nunnally, who had pinch ran for Franco. With Mora holding to see if Shawn Green made the play, he could only get to third. That was the part of the Mets bad luck in the inning. Up next was Todd Pratt.

Pratt was in the game because in the sixth, Gary Sheffield‘s typical violent follow-through on his swing hit Mike Piazza in the head. The catcher had blood gushing, and he was removed from the game with his needing to get cleaned up and his likely suffering a concussion.

With Piazza suffering that concussion and coming out of the game, it meant Pratt was up in the eighth. Pratt ripped a ball to short which looked liked it short hopped Kevin Elster. Instead, it was ruled a catch. With Elster having been ruled to catch it, he easily got Mora who had already left third base. That ended an inning where the Mets could’ve taken the lead.

The Mets got their chance again in the ninth. After Ventura and Todd Zeile led off the inning with back-to-back singles, Benny Agbayani, Abbott, and Jay Payton failed to drive them home. Those two missed chances would cost the Mets dearly.

In the ninth, Turk Wendell just didn’t have it. He hung a few to Eric Karros, who couldn’t take advantage. Instead, Karros struck out. Wendell wouldn’t have the same luck with Elster who hit a walk-off homer giving the Dodgers the 4-3 win.

When it comes to this game, the much larger concern is the loss of Piazza than it is the loss of the game. Piazza has once again proved he is not just the best catcher in the game, but really one of the absolute best in the game. We’ve see the Mets can trust Pratt to help them get by, but they are going to need Piazza to go where they want to go this year.

Game Notes: The Mets ended this three city, two time zone road tripe with a 5-4 record. That’s much better than their first west coast trip where they went 5-7 in the trip that had stops in 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: 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: 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: 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.