Not much happened last night (unless you think the All-Star game is something of note) so I figured I'll look back at my favorite five games of the year so far. If you are trying to fall asleep, this might help do the job.
Game #1 April 6th - Turner Field
Opening Day was upon us and Tom Glavine, who was absolutely owned by his old team in 2003 and was 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA, was on the hill against the Braves. Met fans did not really know what to expect from this season and had a guy named Kaz, who only batted .192 during spring, at shortstop and Guitierrez at 2b, who was subbing in for our resident golden child Jose Reyes. I have to admit, I was not feeling too confident about this one when I sat down to watch it. Then the first pitch of the season was thrown. Matsui smacked a homerun over the centerfield wall and hit a leadoff homerun. Kaz then continued his offensive onslaught with a 3 for 3 night, 3 RBIs, 2 BBs, 1 run scored, and no errors. Piazza added a 421 foot solo homerun in third inning as well and the Mets jumped on Braves and had a 7-2 lead by the time the fourth inning rolled around. Glavine surrendered two runs in the first inning, but settled down to go six innings, surrendering two runs, and only four hits. It was a tremendous way to start the year and awesome victory.
Game # 27 May 5th - Shea Stadium
How could a game that was Barry Bond-less that had over a one hour rain delay and was won 8-2 by the Mets be one of the highlights of the first half? Easily, Mike Piazza secured his place in the history books with a first inning homerun off of Jerome Williams (way to be part of history Jerome). A record that was long overdue and should have fallen in 2003 was finally out of the way. Now Piazza's move to first base could now get into full swing and the Mets would be much better off from here on out....right?
Game #28 May 6th - Shea Stadium
I may be kind of impartial to this game since I was there. It was a Al Leiter vs. Jason Schmidt and the day after Piazza's big day. This was a game in which the pitchers dominated most of the game. Schmidt actually pitched a no hitter into the sixth before Todd Zeile singled to break the no-no bid. No runs were scored at all until the top of the 7th. Pedro Feliz homered off Al Leiter to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. The way the Mets were hitting, you kind of figured that might decide the game. However, Karim Garcia stepped up and smacked a homer in the top of the 7th off Schmidt to push the game into a 1-1 tie. By this time, there was no more beer to buy and I had to go to work tomorrow so I was hoping the game would not go too late since it was extremely boring so far. Sometimes I do not mind pitchers duels, but this was one of those times I minded. Luckily it did not go too late, but it certainly was getting boring...until....Mike Stanton made and appearance. Artie Howe knew we were all falling asleep so he decided to add some excitement to our lives. Every inning is an adventure with Stanton, and this was no different. Stanton managed to get the first two outs, then promptly imploded. He gives up a single to Edgardo Alfonzo and then a single to Marquis Grissom. With Bonds coming to the plate, Howe decides to take his chances with Pedro Feliz with the bases loaded and Bonds is intentionally put on. Then Art summons in David "Stormy" Weathers. Stormy then proceeds to run the count to 3-2 on Feliz and by this time I was ready to murder people. It's late, the beer wells have run dry, I have work tomorrow, and Weathers is now about to walk in the winning run. Then the gods smile down upon us in the form Weathers striking out Feliz to get us out of the inning. Finally, three hours and thirty minutes later, someone decides to end it for everyone. Big Mike Piazza steps up with two outs in the bottom of the 11th and blasts a solo homerun. That was the only game I've been to that had a walkoff homerun and it made the game awesome. It was tough getting there, but the ending was dramatic to say the least.
Game #34 May 12th - The BOB
This was a game that true baseball fans would love. It was a match up of two Hall of Fame lefties going to do battle. This game was important for a number of reasons, but the biggest being that the Mets were 14-19 and had a stretch of games in which they face Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettite, and Roger Clemens. With a bad stretch, the Mets could be 10 out by the end of this trip. We know that is not what happened and at this point you can really sense a turning point in which they started to believe they can make some noise. Kaz had come into this game batting .252 and had been struggling a bit of late. It was the Japanese mullet vs. the Redneck mullet, it was a mullet matchup of magnificent proportions. The Kaz vs. Johnson match up seemed heavily favored to one side. However, Kaz took Johnson out of the park in what would be the only run of this game. After that lead off homerun, only five more hits were surrendered during the rest of the game. Glavine went 7 2/3 innings for a spectacular performance that lowered his ERA to 2.05 and Looper finished off the rest of 1 1/3 innings for the save. Johnson went 7 innings and was pulled for a pinch hitter with men on first and second and two outs in an attempt to get some runs on the board or else he would have most likely finished this game out. This was one of the best pitched games I've seen and one of the best pitching match ups that you will see today. Both of them were in their groove it was just great to watch, especially since the Mets won.
Game # 80 July 4th, Shea Stadium
Coming into this game the Mets had clinched a split of the season series with the New York Yankees. With Jae Seo on the mound vs. Javier Vazquez, I was not feeling too confident since Javier had pretty good numbers in his history against the Mets. As it turns out, Vazquez was off that day and had gone five innings, surrendering five walks, six hits, four runs, and in Leiter-like fashion had thrown 113 pitches (only 62 strikes). The Yankees actually were lucky that only four runs were scored at that point. Jae Seo pitch well and went 5 2/3 innings giving up only two earned runs. In the sixth inning Stanton had miraculously bailed Seo out and managed to not let any inherited runners score, which allowed the Mets to take a 4-2 lead heading into the seventh inning. My suspicion was that Stanton was on the take from Steinbrenner since he gave up more runs than innings pitched in three previous appearances this year already against the Yankees. Today was no different. He was charged with two earned runs in the seventh inning after surrendering one himself and then Bottalico let one of his baserunners score to bring this game into a tie. The last thing anyone wants is to get into a slugfest with the overpaid Yankees, but these Mets do not seem to mind. They just took the Yanks in a slugfest the day before, so why not again today? Felix Heredia came into face Floyd and the lefty vs. lefty match up worked out and he got Cliffy out. Torre did not feel like getting up off the bench to do the obvious thing and pull Heredia. So he left him in to face the red hot Richard Hidalgo. Heredia had and ERA of over 7.00 and a BAA vs. righties of over .300, so it made sense to leave him in a tie game vs. Richard. Hidalgo then promptly smashed the Heredia offering into the left field to bring the Mets six outs closer to sweeping the Yankees. Then Orber gives it back to them by surrendering a leadoff double to Crap-sui and single to Posada. Then he got Tony Clark to K which then set the stage for one of the weirder plays I've seen. Cairo hits the ball on the nose to Piazza, Piazza dives/falls over for the ball and it caroms off his glove/body into the baserunner Posada. Posada is called out and someone wakes Torre up and he actually gets up off the bench to do something. The rest of the game then gets played under protest. Now there are two outs and go ahead run is kept off second base thanks to a bit of luck. In an effort to make the game a bit more sporting, Phillips lets a passed ball through to put the go ahead run on second base. Luckily, the All-Star slugger with a .241 average Jason Giambi with his intestinal worms and all came to the plate and K'd swinging. Next inning, Tom "I got put on the all-star roster even though Keith Foulke was much more deserving" Gordon came in. Wigginton, who had gone deep earlier in the day in addition to a homerun the day before, goes deep off Tom Gordon for the eventual winning run. Anytime I get to see thousands of Yankees fans dejected because the Mets handed their asses a sweep, it is a great day.
Items from the Game:
"I told him his kids would love the museums, the dinosaurs, that type of thing," Piazza said. "Why not? I'm a company guy."
Johnson, meanwhile, decided to have some fun with the New York connection. As a handful of reporters were talking to Piazza at his locker before last night's All-Star Game, Johnson walked over and reached in to shake Piazza's hand.
"Randy Johnson," he said, as if introducing himself. "I might be working with you..."
Hmm...Why do I think this is more about showing up the Yankees than anything else? I think we do not need an upgrade that big. It may cost too much in prospects which would be OK if he was 13 years younger. This is a longshot still, but his 2005 Salary is better allocated to other places. For that much dough you can sign Pavano and Clement! Is that not more worth it?