2000 Game Recap: Mets Demolish Cubs To Complete Sweep

When Mike Piazza is hot at the plate, the Mets are the best team in baseball. Really, with the way he has been hitting over the past week, he has been ignited this Mets team once mired in controversy and under-performance, and they are now going out there and flat out beating teams.

The Mets got out to a quick 3-0 lead in this one with Edgardo Alfonzo and Piazza going back-to-back against Cubs starter Kevin Tapani. At that point, the Mets appeared well on their way to sweeping the Cubs.

There was a slight hiccup as Mike Hampton would give up the lead, and once again, it was the walks which hurt him. The Cubs first run of the game came from Shane Andrews, who walked ahead of a Joe Girardi second inning RBI double. The following inning there wasn’t a walk, but a two run homer from Sammy Sosa.

At that point, Hampton wasn’t pitching great, and it was reminiscent of those earlier games when he wasn’t giving the Mets much of an opportunity to win. Instead of making this a back-and-forth game, Hampton would settle in, and he would retire eight of the next nine batters he faced. That allowed the Mets to put this game away.

The Mets offense exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning. The rally started with a Robin Ventura lead-off double. It was the first four extra base hits that inning. After a Rey Ordonez double scoring Ventura, Hampton would deliver an RBI single helping his own cause. Later that inning, Derek Bell had the big hit with a three run homer.

This was another example of how great Bell has been early this season with the Mets. In addition to the stellar defense in right with a number of game saving catches, he has been hitting the ball extremely well. After this game, he is hitting .390/.440/.584 on the season. On any other team, this would make hi9m the top hitter, but then again, he is on a team with Piazza.

That seven run fourth culminated with Ruben Quevedo relieving Tapani, and Ventura reaching on an error allowing Piazza to score an unearned run. The Mets would not be done there as they once again went to work against the Cubs pitching in the fifth.

Again, Bell had a big hit with an RBI single, and later that inning Piazza hit a bases loaded two RBI double. It was the second straight inning Piazza doubled, and it was the third straight inning Piazza had an extra base hit. At that point, Bobby Valentine began pulling his starters with his having Todd Pratt pinch run for Piazza. Pratt would score along with Alfonzo on a Todd Zeile RBI single.

At that point, it was 15-2 Mets, and the game was effectively over. The Mets ran out their B or C lineup with Ventura, Alfonzo, Ordonez, and Bell coming out of the game. The Mets probably needed to play this game a bit tighter, but at 15-2, this game was more about getting out of the game without suffering any injuries.

Hampton allowed a pair of unearned runs in the seventh, his final inning of the game. His allowing five runs wasn’t great, nor were his four walks, but you can’t take much issue with three earned over seven innings. You also can’t take issue with an RBI hit or the win.

You can also focus on Rich Rodriguez‘s struggles, but he was a LOOGY being pushed two innings to save the bullpen a bit. In the end, this was a 15-8 victory, and this was the Mets sweeping the Cubs to push their winning streak to seven. They have now won nine of their last 10 and swept consecutive series against an NL Central opponent.

Game Notes: With Rick Reed getting hit on the hand, it appears Pat Mahomes will start in his place with Dennis Springer taking Mahomes’ spot as the long reliever. Jay Payton returned to the lineup after having kidney stones removed.

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.