By Nick Adams
There are four previous World Series’ in New York Mets history. They have won two and lost two.
They are now 0-5 in Series openers.
The good news for Terry Collins and the boys is that it really hasn’t meant much. The Mets are 2-2 in the World Series after losing the first bout. Here’s a brief history:
1969 – National League Cy Young winner Tom “The Franchise” Seaver squared off against a heavily favored Baltimore Orioles team sporting their own Cy Young awardee, starter Mike Cuellar. Seaver was touched for four runs in five innings before relinquishing the hill to the bullpen in a losing effort. Cuellar simply out-dueled the iconic Seaver that night, sprinkling six hits and a run over nine innings of a complete 8K/4BB ballgame.The Amazins went on to win their first World Series title in 1969, but that game was the start of a trend that has held fast into modernity.
1973 – The Mets were again the underdog (in fact, they had the lowest winning percentage of any team ever to make into the Series to that point) against a potent Oakland Athletics featuring Reggie Jackson and a starting rotation with three 20-game winners on it. Manager Yogi Berra had earlier that season coined one of his most famous “Yogi-isms” in saying “It aint over til it’s over” before the Mets went on a historic run to win the NL Pennant and gain their second World Series berth. Mets starter, lefty Jon Matlack went six innings, giving up only two earned runs in a tightly pitched game but Game One went to the A’s behind Ken Holtzman and closer Rollie Fingers with a final score of 2-1. That Series would go a full seven games before the A’s triumphed.
1986 – Current Mets third-base coach Tim Teufel was playing second base at Shea Stadium on the night of October 18th. The Boston Red Sox American League MVP, Jim Rice had reached first base on one of Mets starter Ron Darling’s three walks and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, one on and no score in the top of the seventh inning, Redsox batter Rich Gedman stepped into the batter’s box and plinked a bounding groundball directly at the Mets second baseman. Teufel failed to stay down on the play and misplayed the ball. As the ball skipped weakly into right field Rice rounded third and scored easily. It was the only run scored in a game that featured just 9 hits compared to 17 strikeouts. Fortunately for Tuefel, Bill Buckner was subbed in late in Game Six of that series to commit a WAY more famous error, so nobody really remembers the Tuefel play because the Mets won their second title.
2000 – On October 21st, 2000, the Mets and New York Yankees played the longest World Series Game in history to that point. After 4-hours, 51-minutes, the Yankees would prevail 4-3 in 12 innings against losing pitcher, Turk Wendell. But Wendell isn’t the villain in this story. The Mets carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth and turned to maligned closer Armando Benitez for the save. With one out recorded, the Mets were two outs away from taking Game One at Yankee Stadium when slumping Yankee right-fielder Paul O’Niell stepped into the box to face Benitez’ 98MPH fastball. Benitez quickly put O’Niell in a 1-2 hole. O’Niell battled back, fouling off five pitches en route to a full count whereupon Benitez lost the at-bat by walking O’Niell. Two singles later, there was still only one out when the Yankees’ Chuck Knoblach lofted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly that scored O’Niell and sent the game to extra innings. Yankees spot starter Jose Vizcaino won the game in the 12th off Wendell with a two-out RBI single to give the Mets their fourth straight Game One World Series defeat. They lost the 2000 Subway Series to the Yankees in five games.
2015 – On the 29th anniversary of Bill Buckner’s famous error, the Mets found themselves in another Game One in Kansas City. After relinquishing the first World Series inside-the-park home-run since 1929 to the Royals’ leadoff batter, Alcides Escobar, on the first pitch of the series, Matt Harvey threw 79 more laborious pitches before handing the game over to the Mets bullpen. With the game tied in the eight inning, the Mets Wilmer Flores sent a bounding shot down the first-base line. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, channeling Buckner, made a poor attempt at a tricky ball, missed it and Juan Lagares scored from second to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. Mets reliever Kyle Clippard managed two dicey outs in the bottom of the eighth before manager Terry Collins made the call to insert closer Jeurys Familia. Familia rapidly extinguished KC’s eighth inning chances and got a quick out in the bottom of the ninth before leaving a fastball out over the plate for an Alex Gordon smash to straight away center. Tie ballgame. Mets reliever Bartolo Colon loaded the bases in the bottom of the 14th inning and lost the game on a sacrifice fly to right field, bringing current Mets perfect 0-5 record in Game one of the World Series.
“Their team, one of the things we know about them is they’re never down and out…We’ve got to put them away. We’ve got to do a better job.”
– manager Terry Collins (AP)
The Mets have to win four out of six games to win a title. History says they will win 60% of their remaining games. Other than TV delays because “the truck lost power” (SERIOUSLY, FOX?!) What is there to worry about?
The Mets and Royals meet again tonight in Kansas. First pitch is at 8:07P EST…If, of course, the guys in the broadcast truck are cool with that.
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