The first Subway Series was 1997, and it had all of New York enthralled. There was the upstart New York Mets led by Lance Johnson, Bernard Gilkey, and Todd Hundley, against the defending World Series champion New York Yankees.
The first Subway Series did something rare in sports. It exceeded the hype. Dave Mlicki is still a Mets legend for the complete game shutout to open the series culminated with striking out Derek Jeter to end the game.
The Mets would spoil a David Cone no-hit bid in the series finale and almost pull out a win. While the concept of the Mets and Yankees being rivals was a bit forced at the outset, we did see the beginnings of a rivalry.
The rivalry reached its apex in the 2000 World Series and with all the drama surrounding Mike Piazza and Roger Clemens. There was a lot more to it like former Mets greats like Cone, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry returning to Shea.
Mostly, it was Bobby Valentine who knew the Mets underdog status. He embraced it, and he treated those games like they were must win. Typically, they were for him as it was usually a marker for how the Mets were performing that season.
Since 2000, we have seen the series go through ebbs and flows. There have been moments like the Luis Castillo dropped fly ball or Carlos Delgado‘s power display. Of course, there was the Shawn Estes/Clemens drama.
All that said, this series has never been the same since 2000. In reality, this series has never been at a lower point than it is right now.
The Yankees are in third place and nine games back of the Tampa Bay Rays, but they do have a half-game lead in the Wild Card race. The Mets are in fourth place, are four games under .500, and they trail by three games in the Wild Card race.
The Yankees are without Aaron Judge. The Mets are without Pete Alonso. The ticket prices are through the roof, and Citi Field still has not sold out the game. It’s also a two game set making the possibility of the teams walking away with a somewhat uninteresting split.
On the bright side, we are going to see Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander. The Baby Mets of Francisco Álvarez, Brett Baty, and Mark Vientos will get their first taste of this series, and more importantly, put their stamp on this series.
We may very well see competitive games with a number of storylines emerge. However, in the past, the storylines were already written because of all the intrigue surrounding the series. That intrigue is seemingly gone for now.
It went for a double.
When Alonso first came to the majors, he was not a good first baseman. However, the New York Mets were more than happy to live with it because Alonso could scoop balls, and more importantly, hit homers.
Much to Alonso’s credit, he was not remotely satisfied with that. In fact, he talked about winning a Gold Glove one day, and he made improvements each year.
In his rookie year, Alonso was a -6 OAA. He improved that to a 1 OAA last year. That was good for 11th among Major League first baseman. That’s an astounding leap.
This year, Alonso is back to a -6 OAA.
Again, Alonso is mashing homers and driving in runs. To that extent, not many care all that much the defense has slipped considerably. Even with this game, some may argue it’s yet to hurt the Mets (not true).
For Alonso, it’s arguably taken him completely out of the MVP discussion. There was a time ranking fourth in the league for homers and first in RBI for a first place team made you a near lock for the award.
The problem for Alonso is 2022, and the more informed electorate look at total production, defense included. On that point, Alonso “only” has a 3.0 bWAR and 2.7 fWAR.
That’s despite a 142 OPS+ (seventh in the league) and 138 wRC+ (ninth). His bWAR is tied for 26th in the NL, and his fWAR is 23rd. That’s a far cry from what his offensive production would indicate.
Really, Alonso’s defensive issues impact him more than the occasional poor play. In the end, it’s going to cost him an MVP. That’s not just this year. That’s any year he’s this poor defensively.
So, even if you choose to ignore the impact on the Mets, the voters won’t. In fact, they’ll likely see the hit his defense has had ok his WAR and vote accordingly.
Overall, no matter your perspective, Alonso’s defense has taken a significant step back, and it’s a problem for him and the team. We’ll see how he (and maybe the Mets) address it before the end of the season.
For some reason , bizarre things just seem to happen to the New York Mets when they play the New York Yankees. The Mets usually lose as a result.
Of course, the moment which will forever haunt us all is the Luis Castillo dropped pop up. Instead of a Mets win, they lose as Mark Teixeira got on his horse (pun intended) and scored from first to win the game.
For a moment, it seemed like the Mets were going to have another one of those awful gut wrenching moments against the Yankees.
Edwin Díaz, -27mph Fastball. 😂 pic.twitter.com/jq3G6yugwu— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 27, 2022
There are no words for how bad that was. In that moment, you do have a slight pause and concern Díaz will throw it into center, but you never imagine he just won’t throw it at all.
You can already see the narratives emerging. The Mets are reeling, and the Yankees would be the ones who effectively ended their season. The Mets were again going to give away the division to the Atlanta Braves.
Diaz is not a big time closer who cannot handle the pressure situations or New York. He cannot handle the four out saves, and if the Mets even get to October, he will melt down there. Really, this was going to be as insufferable a loss as the Mets could possibly have.
Of course, there would be Mets fans concerns and panic coupled with Yankees fans gloating to make it all the worse. Thankfully, that moment was just a moment we can all laugh about now.
Instead of Anthony Rizzo hitting that game tying three run homer we all expected, he struck out. Then, Gleyber Torres struck out to end the game. Essentially, Diaz did what great closers do – they shake it off and get the next batter.
Maybe this is a sign things are different this year. Certainly, it is a sign Diaz is different, and maybe these two things go hand-in-hand. Whatever the case, we don’t have another Luis Castillo moment, and for that, we as Mets fans can be eternally grateful.
The shocking part of The Oscars was when Will Smith responded to a Chris Rock joke about his wife by slapping him in the face and then yelling at him. Being a diehard Mets fan, Rock is obviously accustomed to unexpected slaps in the face.
In fact, through the years, there are just a number of players Mets fans just wanted to give the Will Smith treatment to for what they did on or off the field. To wit, here is the Mets all-time deserved a slap team:
SP Tom Glavine – Glavine was never truly appreciated by Mets fans after he had beaten them all those years with the Atlanta Braves. Despite his success, any goodwill he had unraveled as he did in the final game of the 2007 season. After the game, Glavine explained to devastated fans, he was disappointed but not devastated.
RP Guillermo Mota – How do you shake off Paul Lo Duca and then get beat by Scott Spiezio ? That moment forever changed the trajectory of that series. Also, why was he such a punk constantly throwing at Mike Piazza?
C Kevin Plawecki – When T.J. Rivera wore the crown after a Mets win (why was that ever a thing?), we saw the type of objects he kept in his locker. Making matters worse, he was a better relief pitcher than he was a hitter with the Mets (I kid, I kid).
1B Lucas Duda – Duda was an underrated Met, and he was a driving force for the 2015 Mets comeback to win the division, but that throw to home plate was one of the worst throws in Mets history.
2B Luis Castillo – How in the world do you just drop an easy pop-up which could end the game, and why did he have to do it against the Yankees? Consider he under performed his contract so much even the Wilpons were willing to eat money just to get rid of him.
3B Jim Fregosi – It’s astounding. The 1962 Mets were the worst team in Major League history, and yet, the first real instance we see the Mets mocked for is when the team traded Nolan Ryan in the deal for Fregosi. After the trade, Ryan became a Hall of Famer, and the Mets would eventually see Fregosi off to the Rangers. To make matters worse, we’re constantly reminded of this every single trade deadline when we hear about all-time worst trades.
SS Mike Bordick – In typical Mets fashion, Bordick went from career year to near career worst numbers when he went from the Baltimore Orioles to the Mets. Making this even worse is the fact the trade cost the Mets Melvin Mora who was both beloved and a future All-Star and Silver Slugger.
OF Vince Coleman – There should be no more reviled Mets player than Coleman. He was the enemy with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was flat out terrible with the Mets, and he would throw a firecracker at fans. He would even injure Dwight Gooden‘s shoulder practicing his golf swing, He’s literally the worst to put on a Mets uniform.
OF Roger Cedeno – Mets fans were beyond excited Cedeno was returning in what we hoped was a retooling of the pennant winning roster. Instead, what we got was “The Worst Team Money Could Buy” Part Deux with Cedeno being flat out terrible.
OF Bobby Bonilla – He wore earplugs because he couldn’t handle the heckling. He was playing cards in the clubhouse when the Mets lost the 1999 NLCS. He became a perpetual punchline for a team who never spent money.
Keep in mind, this is not a complete list. We can go on and on and on. No matter where you wind up on any of these players and your suggestions for others, please keep in mind, no one deserves the treatment more than Jeff Wilpon. No one did more to hurt the Mets than him during his stretch of absolute embarrassing incompetence.
Once again SNY ran with pure garbage from Andy Martino. He once again levied libelous accusations accusing a loyal fan base of being racist with zero evidence to support the bone-headed contention. This is exactly what he does.
He says Mets fans should support Chase Utley. Its racist to boo a vastly underperforming Luis Castillo even if Martino, himself, called Yoenis Cespedes lazy for getting double heel surgery. Now, he wants us all to tell him why Mets fans don’t like Robinson Cano while again accusing Mets fans of being racist.
Before delving further on Cano, go back to 2019. You could argue Cano not performing up to standards was a key factor why the Mets missed the postseason that year. No, it wasn’t the only reason, but it was certainly a factor.
After all, the could be Hall of Famer had one of the worst years of his career with a 94 wRC+ and a -2 DRS. Cano was supposed to be a big bat in the lineup and steadying influence in the infield for a young Amed Rosario. Instead, in what was an injury plagued season, he underachieved and was at times a liability.
In year one, following that horrific trade where the Mets gave up both Jarred Kelenic and Justin Dunn while assuming nearly all of his contract, Cano was already the liability many thought he would be before the end of his career. What’s funny is despite that fans were not booing him when he took the field or came to the plate.
This was far from a Francisco Lindor situation. Mets fans may not have fully embraced Cano, but they certainly did not jeer him. No, he was treated with some level of reverence for all he accomplished in his career while many hoped getting away from Chili Davis could rejuvenate his career.
While you could’ve given Cano credit for his 2020 resurgence, we found out it was because of PEDs. His using PEDs that season did lead to his second suspension costing him the entirety of the 2021 season.
When Mets fans look at Cano now, they’re not angry with him or booing him. They’re not demanding he get released or traded. Sure, there are fans who want that, but if you go back to the 1970s, you could assuredly find Mets fans who were happy the team traded Tom Seaver. Mistaking a vocal minority or giving the lunatic fringe credit is always disingenuous and irresponsible (to be fair, that is what this article does in part by even addressing Martino).
When Mets fans look at Cano, they see a player who was the key return in one of the worst trades in franchise history. It was his contract which was yet another excuse why the Wilpons refused to spend to help get the Mets to the World Series. Now, he’s just an odd fit who is 39 trying to become a real everyday contributor to a Major League team for the first time since the 2017 season.
Mets fans don’t hate Cano. Saying they dislike him is a stretch. No, they’ve been frustrated with him, and now, they don’t know how he fits. When he does come back, he’s not going to immediately be booed, and if he contributes everything related to the trade and suspension will quickly be forgotten. Really, proferring otherwise is just plain wrong.
Then again, the Wilpons still own SNY, and as we know, they have nothing but contempt for Mets fans. This is why they pay Martino to go forth and spew pure unsubstantiated garbage like this.
While everyone applauded MLB for finally doing the right thing by allowing the Mets to wear the caps honoring the first responders, Andy Martino found a way to take issue with it.
Now that MLB has allowed Yankees/Mets to wear first responder hats, they could find selves in awkward position of ranking tragedies. That was always the concern — what happens the next time a team wants to commemorate a terrible event? Is 9/11 only carve out? New questions arise.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) September 11, 2020
This is just par for the course for someone who continues to establish himself as the Skip Bayless of regional sports networks. After all, this is the same guy who called Mets fans racist for booing Luis Castillo and called on Mets fans to respect Chase Utley.
Hopefully for him, this is performance art and not who he truly is.
Saying what he said about the first responder caps would be akin to akin to questioning the Mets wearing Black Lives Matter shirts on Opening Day or sitting out the game against the Miami Marlins.
Considering what Martino said about the caps, wouldn’t it also be fair to question the ranking of those tragedies? After all, the Mets sat out that game, but they played while the air quality in California reached dangerous levels.
During the Astros-A's game yesterday, the Air Quality Index in Oakland climbed to 195. Anything over 150 is unhealthy. Above 200 is very unhealthy — and enough to get a NFL game relocated.
If coronavirus wasn't enough, sports leagues have a new problem.https://t.co/eyJYU56LC6
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) September 11, 2020
Of course, he doesn’t present that argument there. You could surmise any number of reasons why, and you’d likely be correct. However, the overarching reasons is his raison d’être is to take insensitive contrarian positions solely designed to needle Mets fans.
There are many responses to make to Martino, but perhaps the best came from Brian Wright, author of Mets books, who said:
Here’s a wild idea: let any team who wants to commemorate a tragedy and honor heroes be allowed to do so without pushback https://t.co/my2CH5dyPr
— Brian Wright (@BrianWright86) September 11, 2020
Just remember what this is all about.
On September 11, 2001, two planes flew into the Twin Towers in an unprecedented foreign terrorist attack on US soil. Those towers fell, and nearly 3,000 people died that day.
People who have aided in the recovery efforts have faced long term health issues and have also tragically died. This says nothing of the emotional toll it took on people having witnessed the events and having lost loved ones.
Mets Baseball was a part of the healing process. Shea Stadium was used as a staging ground. Mike Piazza homered in the first game back in New York. Led by Todd Zeile, the Mets players wore the first responder caps to honor their sacrifice.
This is exactly what Martino took issue with when he asked if we now have to rank tragedies because a New York team once again honored the fallen.
As we’re seeing, the Mets are going to plug J.D. Davis at third base, and they’re going to bat him second in the lineup. If the Mets are going to do that, they are going to need more from him defensively.
Look, Davis is not good anywhere you put him in the field. That includes third base which is purportedly his natural position.
This year, Davis has a -3 DRS at third base. That makes his career mark a -14 DRS. Baseball Savant has not released the 2020 OAA numbers for Davis at third base yet, but for his career he’s a -2 OAA. All told, he’s simply not good there.
What makes it worse is how he plays the position. We saw that last night as Jon Berti embarrassed the Mets. That was largely made possible by Davis’ complete lack of awareness.
After Berti stole second, he would effectively steal his next two bases on Davis as Davis failed to cover third both times.
When Berti stole third, Ali Sanchez made a strong throw to the moving Davis. As Davis was late to react, he could do nothing more than catch the ball and trail Berti to the bag.
You’d think after that play Davis would be more attentive. Sadly, you’d be wrong.
On what now rivals Luis Castillo‘s dropped pop up as one of the most embarrassing plays in Mets history, everyone had to shoulder some share of the blame.
First and foremost, Sanchez needs to do a better job of looking back the runner. Yes, Berti turned, but Sanchez could’ve waited for Berti to get closer to third.
That mistake was exacerbated by the lollypop throw. That throw allowed Berti to take off for home. Between that throw and Jeurys Familia spiking the ball in front of Sanchez, Berti was able to score even though he fell down and did a bear crawl.
As bad as Sanchez and Familia were on that play, Davis might’ve been worse. Take another look at that play.
This is gonna be burned in our brain for a while. ???? pic.twitter.com/UtkM99wMeV
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) August 26, 2020
Berti has a big secondary lead. That’s partially because of how the defense was positioned with Jesus Aguilar was at the plate.
Despite Berti having a big secondary lead and his toying with Sanchez, Davis doesn’t move. Keep in mind, if Davis moves towards third, Sanchez might’ve had a chance to pick Berti off third. For that matter, if Davis moves towards third, Marlins third base coach Trey Hillman tells Berti, and Berti doesn’t even think of trying to steal home.
As bad as Davis’ lack of awareness was with Berti dancing down the line was, he made the situation even worse. Watch the play again. Davis doesn’t even move towards third until Berti falls.
A player is breaking from third base, the base he’s supposed to be protecting, and Davis is a complete bystander to the play.
It’s one thing for Davis not to be a strong fielder. It’s a whole other thing to be inattentive. That simply can’t happen.
Davis’ inattentiveness led to a run scoring, and the Mets being completely embarrassed. If this is the way he’s going to play in the field, it only further cements the fact he’s nothing more than a DH.
Due to injuries, Luis Guillorme went from completely forgotten man to what appeared to be an extremely important part of this Mets team. He was playing that well.
Starting on August 11, he played in six straight games. Over that stretch, he hit .588/.636/.706 with a run, two doubles, four walks, and four RBI. He walked (4) more times than he struck out (3).
With that stretch, he had a seven game hitting streak, and he improved to a 199 OPS+ on the season. At .458, he was at least flirting with being the first Major Leaguer to hit .400 in a season since Ted Williams.
Stay hot, Luis Guillorme. pic.twitter.com/TtlszqRhm7
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) August 16, 2020
Even if no one reasonably expected him to do it, it would’ve been fun to watch. What also would’ve been fun to watch was his Gold Glove caliber defense.
Guillorme was and is absolutely brilliant at second. It’s a very small sample size for sure, but he was already at a 1 DRS and 14.2 UZR/150. Those numbers were very likely going to improve because he’s always been an exceptional defender.
Luis Guillorme can pitch and make great plays in the field. Versatility >>> pic.twitter.com/uzEQkSyYb2
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2020
We saw him working with Andres Gimenez to turn double plays the Mets wouldn’t have even dreamt of turning since Edgardo Alfonzo and Rey Ordonez were the double play combination for the best defensive infield in baseball history.
Luis Guillorme and Andrés Giménez are making it look it easy out here. pic.twitter.com/NFRyvPzin6
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 12, 2020
By every measure, Guillorme earned his playing time. He was great in the field. That has always been expected of him. He was also better at the plate than expected. Although, the low expectations of him at the plate were not entirely fair.
Again, we’re playing with some small sample sizes here, but Guillorme proved himself last year. In the second half of 2019, he hit .300/.391/.475 with four doubles, a homer, and three RBI in 48 PA. You could certainly argue what we’re seeing this year was an extension of that.
You can also fairly argue none of last year or this is a reliable indicator of anything. The only thing we do know is at the moment Guillorme was playing like some sort of hybrid of Jeff McNeil and Luis Castillo (Marlins, not Mets version).
When you’re playing at that level, you should be in the everyday lineup. Unfortunately for Guillorme, the Mets were not interested in seeing how long Guillorme could keep up that high level of play and help the Mets win.
Admittedly, it is a dicey situation. Dominic Smith has been playing great all year. Pete Alonso started hitting again. Robinson Cano has turned back the clock and is arguably the Mets best hitter this year. All told, it’s difficult to make a move to take these players out of the lineup.
It’s also difficult to remove McNeil from the lineup. With his versatility and track record, he’s one of the best and most important players on the team.
As usual, the obvious answer would be to sit J.D. Davis, but the Mets remain unwilling to do that. It doesn’t matter to them Davis is at a 0.1 WAR to Guillorme’s 0.5. It doesn’t matter Davis is at a -3 DRS at third this year and a -14 for his career. He’s also a -2 OAA there for his career.
It should also be noted Guillorme is at a 194 wRC+ to Davis’ 145 wRC+. Really, in every aspect of the game, Guillorme has completely and utterly outplayed Davis this year.
However, Guillorme with his game changing defense and hot hitting will sit in favor of Davis.
He’ll also sit in favor of Amed Rosario and Gimenez, two other players he has outplayed this year. The simple answer as to why this has happened is the Mets organization is more invested in Davis, Gimenez, and Rosario.
That’s a real shame because Guillorme has absolutely earned the starting job at second base, and at the moment, by WAR, he’s the Mets fourth best position player. Seeing everything taken into account, the Mets benching Guillorme is unjustified, and they better be right about this decision.
When it comes to the Mets, there have been several bad to disastrous free agent signings. In fact, up until recently, there was a real debate over which signing was the worst.
Players like Bobby Bonilla and Kazuo Matsui never quite fulfilled his promise. Roger Cedeno was nowhere near the player he was in 1999 when he returned to Queens. Jason Bay didn’t hit for power before the concussions happened.
As bad as those were, there was Vince Coleman, who was an unmitigated disaster. Aside from his numbers falling off a cliff, he threw firecrackers at fans, injured Dwight Gooden with a golf club, and he was accused of sexual assault (charges never filed).
Looking at it, Coleman was probably the worst of the group. When you consider the long standing animosity Mets fans had towards him prior to the signing and his off the field problems, he may still have claim to that title.
However, when it comes to on the field performance, Jed Lowrie is definitively the worst ever Mets signing. We just need to look at video from the Mets summer camp yesterday to confirm that.
Jed Lowrie is participating in base running drills with his brace on. His speed is definitely not game-ready. pic.twitter.com/PyVmUqT9J4
— Deesha (@DeeshaThosar) July 5, 2020
Rewinding back to Spring Training last year, Lowrie was initially described as having left knee soreness. Time and again, the Mets downplayed the injury, and to date, they have yet to really reveal what the injury actually is.
They didn’t reveal it when he had multiple rehab assignments shut down. They didn’t reveal it when he was 0-for-7 as a pinch hitter in September. They didn’t reveal it when he came to Spring Training this year not really ready to play. Even months later, they’re still not revealing it. Worse yet, they’re downplaying it.
New manager Luis Rojas was put in the position today that Mickey Callaway failed far too often. He had to offer an out-and-out lie and make it sound believable. According to what Rojas said, Lowrie is a “full go.”
Later in the day, we saw the video running and realized there’s no way that’s true. Lowrie is not a full go, and to a certain extent the Mets talking about Lowrie ramping up to try to play without a brace is a strawman. All told, brace or no brace, this is simply a player who can’t get on the field.
The more you see the aborted rehab attempts, the lack of explanations for the injury, the mixed messages, and Lowrie’s inability to do anything but swing the bat, the more you’re reminded of David Wright. Before his send off, Wright would make similar attempts to get back, but ultimately his body wouldn’t let him. It seems the same with Lowrie.
Maybe Lowrie is different , but that’s anyone’s guess. Really, that’s all we have. That’s partially because the Mets revealed no news, and it’s because Lowrie didn’t either.
Asked what is exactly wrong with his leg, Lowrie said he doesn't want to create a distraction.
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) July 5, 2020
Maybe telling everyone why his knee, left side, or whatever else the Mets want to call it would be more of a distraction than it is already. Maybe it won’t. Whatever the case, when you strip it all down, the Mets gave a two year $20 million deal to a guy who just can’t play.
The Mets didn’t need Lowrie when they signed him. They already had Robinson Cano, Todd Frazier, and Jeff McNeil. What they needed was arms in the bullpen, but they already allocated their budget towards an infielder who would wind up doing no more than a few pinch hitting attempts (without a hit). You could say the Mets not having those extra arms in the pen is what cost them the postseason last year.
Ultimately, Lowrie is getting $20 million from the Mets, and he can’t get on the field. The money allocated towards him could’ve addressed other deficiencies on the roster and helped pushed the Mets into the postseason. Brodie Van Wagenen signed his former client, who was too injured to even start one game, and with that Van Wagenen quite possibly made the single worst free agent signing in Mets history.
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.
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