All Things Baseball

Delgado Powers Mets to Game 1 Win

The New York Mets are the National League favorite in this season’s playoffs, and they looked very sharp in their NLDS opener at home, against the LA Dodgers. Before the game, the Mets found out that Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez would not be able to make his start due to a calf injury, forcing them to throw rookie righthander John Maine into the spotlight in Game 1.

John Maine

The rookie would go on to outpitch Derek Lowe, who many analysts consider to be a terrific October starter, thanks in large part to his spectacular performances during the Red Sox 2004 World Series win. But pitching certainly wasn’t the story of this game; what mattered was offensive production and smart baserunning.

Carlos Delgado

At the plate, the Mets were led by first-baseman Carlos Delgado, who had a monster 4-for-5 day with a solo Homerun and 3 singles, driving in 2 runs, and scoring twice. David Wright also had a tremendous day, going 2-for-4 with 2 doubles and 3RBIs. The two sluggers accounted for 6 of the Mets 9 hits and drove in 5 of the Mets 6 runs, helping their team survive poor offensive production from the rest of the lineup.

Marlon Anderson (now with Dodgers)

The Dodgers combined for 11 hits in the ballgame, getting a little bit from nearly every hitter in the lineup. Marlon Anderson led the bats with a 2-for-4 day, driving in a run and scoring 2 of his own. The Dodgers scored 5 runs in the ballgame, but they could have crossed the plate quite a few more times, had they not made a bonehead, “what the heck was that?” kind of mistake.

That’s about what Jeff Kent will look like when he sees this play on film

In the 2nd inning, the Dodgers had Jeff Kent at 2nd and JD Drew at 1st with nobody out. Russell Martin hit a single to rightfield, and when the ball got past Mets’ rightfielder Shawn Green, it seemed as though both Kent and Drew would score. Kent hesitated at first, thinking the ball might not drop, and by the time he was on his way to third base, JD Drew was just a few strides behind him. Third-base coach Rich Donnelly knew he had to waive one of them home, even though the cut-off man had the ball, because otherwise both Kent and Drew would’ve been on third base. When Kent rounded third, Donnelly waived his arm around one more time, and Drew apparently thought the third-base coach wanted him to go home as well. Donnelly was shocked. When the ball arrived at home-plate, Mets’ catcher Paul Lo Duca tagged Jeff Kent out. A couple of seconds later, he applied another tag to JD Drew, and umpire John Hirschbeck signalled both of them out. That kind of double play happens once in a lifetime, right? Well, get this, Mets’ manager Willie Randolph was on the wrong end of a similar double-play when he was a coach for the Yankees in 1985. This time however, he was on the right side of it.

Vin Scully was treated to what was likely the weirdest play of his long broadcasting career

One can only wonder what legendary Dodgers’ announcer Vin Scully was thinking, when he saw the play unravel from the pressbox. In all his years of announcing games, I doubt Scully has ever witnessed a play that bizarre.

Paul Lo Duca’s alertness was a huge part of the wacky double-play

Kudos go out to Paul Lo Duca for reacting quickly enough to tag both of the Dodgers’ ill-fated runners out. The Dodgers would go on to score in the 2nd inning on a Marlon Anderson double, but the baserunning blunder put a major damper on the inning. Had Kent been the only one to go, who knows how many more runs LA would have put up in the 2nd inning. That play showed exactly why baserunning smarts are crucial in baseball.

It’s worth mentioning that the Mets also made a very curious decision in the 6th inning of the game. New York had already scored 2 runs in the inning to lead 4-2, and the Mets had the bases loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the 6th. Pitcher Guillermo Mota was due up and curiously, manager Willie Randolph let the reliever hit. Mota lobbed the first pitch he saw to rightfield and was retired via flyout. He came back to pitch the top of the 7th inning and gave up 3 runs to the Dodgers, allowing LA to tie the game at 4 apiece. Mota left the game 0-for-1 with 3 left-on-base at the plate, and 2 innings, 3 runs (all earned), and 4 strikeouts on the mound. That’s just an awful day. The only consolation for Mota, his team won, and he got the victory — very undeserved though it was.

Now my question is, why Willie Randolph, did you not pinch-hit for Guillermo Mota? I know hindsight is 20/20, but a dead donkey could have predicted that Guillermo Mota would make the final out of the inning!

Either way, the Mets came out victorious in the 6-5 game that featured plenty of mental mistakes.

Pitchers of Record

W: Guillermo Mota

L: Brad Penny

S: Billy Wagner

Trivia Time!

Here’s yesterday’s question and the correct answer to it.

Tony LaRussa has won the Manager of the Year award 4 times, with 3 different teams. Can you name all 3?

A: Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals

Today’s question is…

The Mets last won the World Series in 1986 over the Boston Red Sox. Who was the MVP of that World Series?


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