Johan’s Masterpiece Is For All Of Met Nation

Somewhere in the great sports bar in the sky, Tug McGraw is screaming, “Ya Gotta Believe!” Gary Carter is acting like a maniac. Gil Hodges is nodding silently in approval.

And Casey Stengel is rubbing his leathery face, winking his eye and uttering, “Amazin’!”

When all is said and done, this was just a regular season game. One that put the Mets six games over the .500 mark, helping them to continue on with their surprising 2012.

Yet, this game meant more than that. This was the Mets last ghost exorcized. With 8,019 games played and no no-nos, you had to wonder if this was ever going to happen. The no-hitter is one of the hardest accomplishments in baseball, but with the slew of great pitchers that have come through the Met organization, just by sheer luck, someone would have thrown one by now.

On game 8,020 it happened. Johan Santana’s no-hitter gave the Flushing Faithful a moment in Mets history that will last a lifetime. This was the Miracle Mets, Game 6, and the Grand Slam Single. This was a moment you shared with your children or called your father as it was happening.

And just like those other great events in Mets history, you will remember where you were years from now and will share it with your children and grandchildren when other Mets throw their no-hitters.

It’s the type of event that binds Met fans together. Disillusioned over the past few seasons, this one game will probably bring back the fans, hoping that another glimpse of history will happen at Citi Field.

And if it wasn’t Tom Seaver or Doc Gooden or Jerry Koosman, it is perfect that Santana is the one to break the curse.

“Short of Tom Seaver, I can’t think of a better person to pitch the first one,” said third baseman David Wright. “The type of guy he is, the type of person he is, and what he’s been through last year – to come back and have that type of performance, that’s incredible and was glad to be a part of that. … I am thrilled I could be a part of it. It couldn’t happen to a better guy.

“It’s just an amazing story. I can let you know firsthand. I was there with him in Florida throughout some of his rehab last year. The work he put in, the time he put in to get himself back to this point. I thought his last start was special, but this start was just…I guess once every 51 years.”

When the Mets acquired Santana in 2008, he was supposed to lead the team back to the playoffs. It hasn’t happened yet. His shoulder surgery was supposed to end his career or at least make him a shell of his former self.

Instead, we are seeing the Johan of old – competing every game and fighting against every batter.

Of course like any no-hitter he had help. A fortunate foul ball at third base in the sixth and then a miracle-like catch by Mike Baxter, who grew up in the shadow of Shea Stadium,  in the seventh.

After that, you knew that it could happen. However, there were 8,019 reasons to believe the other shoe was going to drop.  But he continued to mow the Cardinals down, one by one until David Freese – last year’s World Series hero – became the answer to a Met trivia question by fishing for the signature changeup for strike three.

All of Met Nation rose to its feet in almost utter disbelief. Tears were coming out Terry Collins eyes, standing at the dugout just enjoying the moment, as the Mets celebrated on the field.

And the same cheers came throughout New York. From houses to sports bars a certain relief was felt. You could hear it in the voices of the announcers – Gary Cohen and Howie Rose – Met fans from their youth and the voices of this generation.  And the 27,69 who actually were at the game, went into a frenzy.

Somewhere in the great sports bar in the sky, Bob Murphy is giving his happy recap, while Mrs. Payson was  in her usual seat watching the Mets. Lindsey Nelson was in his sports coat getting reaction from Tommie Agee and Donn Clendenon.

It was a night for all Met fans to celebrate, because on game 8,020 the curse was broken.

Amazin’!

Posted under Amazin, Better Person, David Wright, Doc Gooden, Game One, Gil Hodges, Great Sports, Jerry Koosman, Joe Mcdonald, Johan Santana, Leathery Face, New York Mets, Sheer Luck, Six Games, Tom Seaver, Top Story, Tug Mcgraw

This post was written by Joe McDonald on June 2, 2012

Tags: , , , , ,

A Banner Day For RA

Terry Collins the New York Mets manager celebrated his 63rd birthday Sunday and R.A. Dickey gave him the perfect gift helping with a second straight shutout by a Mets starter and the pen. Saturday, Johan Santana pitched a complete four-hit shutout and win over the San Diego Padres.

Dickey with 7.1 shutout innings paved the way for a New York 2-0 win at Citi Field over the San Diego Padres. New York took three of four from the injury plagued Padres , moving to 27-21, six games over .500 for the first time since July 18, 2010.

Dickey struck out ten and for the first time in his career had consecutive double digit strikeout games. This past Tuesday he struck out 11 Pirates in a Mets win at Pittsburgh.

“The game is about early flaws and right now I’m in the middle,” he said regarding the early season troubles that were encountered. But that was then and this is now, because Dickey is following Santana in the rotation and the Mets may have the best one-two combination when it comes to starters.

Dickey (7-1,) won his major league leading high-tying seventh game of the season. He extended his winning streak to five games and scoreless streak to a season-high tying 8.1 innings dating back to the win over Pittsburgh,

“It’s nice to be able to celebrate some good outings in a row and hopefully the next guy out feels an obligation to keep it where it’s out right now,” commented Dickey, the first Mets pitcher to have back-to-back games with at least ten strikeouts since Pedro Martinez in May of 2006.

Dickey added, “I certainly did after Johan passed the gauntlet.”

He gave up three hits, walked one, and hit one batter in 7.1 innings.  San Diego got a hit in the first two innings and did not get another hit until a Jesus Guzman single in the seventh inning.

For the Padres, who won the first game of the series Thursday night, with a season high 11-runs, they looked helpless scoring one run on 11-hits the last three games.

“It’s tougher if he’s on,” said Padres manager Bud Black about the way Dickey throws the knuckle ball. “We were making him earn it, pumping strikes with the knuckleball.”

Collins is enthused the way his team has won games in their division and at home. New York is 15-9 at home and showing the National League they can may be around for the long run. They Mets won their first four-game series this season and once again scored in the first inning.

They have got on the board in the first or second inning in nine of their last ten games.

“When you play these teams you raise your level,” said Collins. The Padres, with 13 players on the disabled list are struggling, 17-32, and expect their slugger Carlos Quentin to return from the disabled list when they open a series Monday in Chicago.

Tim Byrdak leading baseball in appearance out of the pen got two outs to finish the eighth inning and Frank Francisco  worked the ninth earning his 13th save and win for Dickey.

But Collins and the Mets have been there also and have managed to win ballgames when they have to.  Still without catcher Josh Thole, shortstop Ruben Tejada, and outfielder Jason Bay, New York has won six of their last eight games and staying competitive in the NL east.

“We got to pick our game up,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. But if we continue to pitch, we’ll be in some games.”

Daniel Murphy had an RBI single and Mike Baxter scored on a passed ball for the Mets runs. Edinson Volquez, (2-5), the losing pitcher, before the game was with Dickey in the bullpen area and getting tips about how to throw a knuckleball.

“It is hard to hit him,” said Volquez who was a teammate of Dickey back in Texas with the Rangers for a brief time. He has noticed that Dickey has an elevated knuckleball that has increased his strikeout ratio.

Right now, it is hard to get runs off Santana and Dickey. Jonathon Niese (3-2) opens the start of a three-game series with the Phillies at Citi Field Monday afternoon. These same Phillies, who are struggling and behind the Mets in the standings, which is something different at the end of May.

“Later this season we’ll evaluate that situation,” added Byrdak about the Phillies.  For now the Mets will take the situation the way it is, and that means being competitive as the month of June approaches.

E-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under First Game, Five Games, Gauntlet, Johan Santana, Major League, New York Mets, Perfect Gift, Rd Birthday, Rich Mancuso, San Diego Padres, Scoreless Streak, Seventh Inning, Six Games, Strikeout, Three Games, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on May 28, 2012

Tags: , , , , ,

Subway Series: Round 2, At Citi Field

New York – From those who would rather see a reduction of six games to three between the Yankees and Mets, well think twice. According to Major League baseball this cross-town series continues to be the most popular of the interleague matchups, but a proposed realignment of the leagues for next year could mean more games between the two teams.

So at Citi Field Friday evening, for the first time this season, as the calendar turned to July, there was a full house, 42,020, the largest crowd at the new ballpark in Flushing. Because the Yankees have turned it around since, that mid- May sweep in the Bronx at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. And the underachieving Mets are overachieving without David Wright and Ike Davis.

It was another Yankees win over the Mets, and both Alex Rodriguez and Jose Reyes were involved in a seventh inning play at third base that led to the ejection of Mets manager Terry Collins. Rodriquez, as it appeared, did not make the tag on a sliding Reyes. And before the game, Rodriquez said Reyes “Was the world’s greatest player.”  Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would say that his second baseman, Robinson Cano “is the best player on the field.”

Comments like that always epitomized the six- game series with the Yankees and Mets, though it used to come from the fans. The Yankees have their history and record, and still have to make their point to the Mets fans who await their day as the number one baseball team in New York. Truth is, Reyes and Cano, are two of the premiere stars in the game from the Dominican Republic. Reyes, though, could be the most exciting player in the game because the numbers tell the story, and his two hits Friday night extended his Major League lead in multi-game hits with 43 and leads baseball in hitting with a .352 average…

Mariano Rivera comes out of the Yankees pen in the ninth without the entrance of” Sandman” but the ovation sounded more like an entrance coming out of the pen at Yankee Stadium…. Interesting at bat in the inning as Reyes batted from the right side against Rivera as the second batter in the inning and grounded out to A-Rod …

Rodriguez gets a 400-foot double to straight away center in the eighth inning, would have been a home run in the Bronx or another ballpark that gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead…And after that double, it was all Yankees fans over taking the home crowd faithful ones of the Mets…

And as Mets radio voice Wayne Hagin said, “Strange subway series without Derek Jeter and David Wright,” meaning two prominent faces of this series and New York baseball are out of the lineup due to injuries…   Collins said, “Today we did not get our two-out hits.” That was part of the success on the recent Mets road trip where they scored a team record 46- runs in four games…

In case you are counting before game two of the series, televised on Fox Saturday afternoon, The Yankees lead the Mets 5-2 in games at Citi Field, have a regular season winning advantage 48-35, and are 3-1 in the four games and can clinch the season series with a win Saturday…

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Baseball Team, Boston Red Sox, Cross Town, David Wright, Field Comments, Game Hits, Game Series, General Manager Brian Cashman, Jose Reyes, Major League Baseball, Mariano Rivera, Mets Fans, Multi Game, New York Mets, Rich Mancuso, Second Baseman, Seventh Inning, Six Games, Subway Series, Top Story

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on July 2, 2011

Tags: ,

Delcos: Pelfrey’s Season Turns Rocky

The replays didn’t show whether, or where, Mike Pelfrey’s errant fastball clipped Scott Rolen, but how the Mets’ pitcher responded to not getting that call, and not getting a later call on a strike to Drew Stubbs was the backdrop of Cincinnati’s six-run fifth inning and subsequently last night’s loss to the Reds.

Pelfrey didn’t lose last night because he didn’t get a couple of calls. He lost because of his reaction to not getting those calls.

Whereas Pelfrey had been composed most of this season, he became flustered and unnerved. Whereas he had minimized damage he dug himself into a hole the Mets could not dig out of. His body language spoke of frustration and anger.

Pelfrey couldn’t stop the bleeding. He didn’t do his job, which, is when things go awry to remember he still needs to get outs.

“I thought, for the first time in over a year, I let my emotions get the best of me,’’ Pelfrey said. “And, that wasn’t very good on my part.’’

Pelfrey’s last few starts did not have the crispness he’s had all season.  He gave up seven runs last night and 11 in his past two starts, neither of which he made it out of the fifth. He’s given up runs in the first inning of his last six games. All of a sudden, he’s been susceptible to the home run.

While the All-Star talk has died down, it’s too early to say if he’s regressed of simply hit a rough patch. Maybe he’s going threw a dead arm period. I don’t know. But, what I do know is Pelfrey has pitched too good for too long in the first half for panic.

That he acknowledged his downfall and accepted responsibility is a great sign, another step in his ascension to becoming an All-Star caliber pitcher.

Perhaps more than any other start he’s made in the first half, Saturday’s game against Atlanta could be his most interesting if not revealing.

Posted under All Star, Anger, Ascension, Backdrop, Body Language, Caliber, Dead Arm, Downfall, Drew Stubbs, Emotions, Fastball, Fifth Inning, Frustration, John Delcos, Mike Pelfrey, New York Mets, Reds, Replays, Rough Patch, Scott Rolen, Seven Runs, Six Games, Top Story

This post was written by John Delcos on July 6, 2010

Mets Win Round One Against Yankees

New York – Frankie Rodriquez always had the best of Alex Rodriguez when he was a closer for the Angels in the American League. And with drama unfolding in the ninth inning at Citi Field Sunday evening, Frankie, now a closer for the New York Mets got the best of A-Rod again.

This time it was K-Rod working hard on the mound and A-Rod swinging for a third strike with two runners on. The Mets and Johan Santana took the rubber game of a three-game series over the cross-town Yankees 6-4, in the first installment of their inter league Subway Series  The two teams will play again the Bronx at Yankee Stadium June 18-20.

The other battle on the mound this time went to Santana (4-2) who was previously bested twice by Yankees starter CC Sabathia (4-3) when the two opposed each other in the American League. Santana was better going 7 2/3 innings on six hits, striking out five.

Santana got early run support aided by the two home runs from Jason Bay, a two run shot to left in the second inning, and another solo shot to right in the fifth that put the Mets up 5-0, the only home runs hit in the three games. It was the 14th multi home run game for Bay in his career The Bay home runs tied for the least amount hit since this series started back in 1997.

The Yankees, now six games back of Tama Bay in the AL East once again struggled at the plate, while the Mets in the last two games found a way to get runners home, going 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position that helped Santana.

“Right now we are struggling a little offensively,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. His team is without starting catcher Jorge Posada and outfielder Curtis Granderson. And first baseman Mark Teixiera continues to struggle, though going 2-for 4 and another strike out, including an infield hit that set the stage for K-Rod against A-Rod in the ninth

“We put the best guys out there that we feel can win every night,” said Girardi when asked about contemplating any lineup changes. The Yankees continue this road trip to Minnesota for three games starting Tuesday before returning home to the Bronx for a holiday weekend series against Cleveland.

“It’s a Frustrating week for us going 2 and 5 this week, not what we wanted,” said Girardi. He added, “The sun will come up tomorrow. We go to Minnesota and try and get some wins.”

For the Mets, who seemed to find a way to get runners home in the three-game series there is a day off Monday and then a three- game home series with the first place Philadelphia Phillies.” I think what we have to do is continue to play good baseball,” said Manager Jerry Manuel. “We have had some things obviously surrounding us especially the pitching staff.”

Manuel was referring to two-thirds of his pitching rotation. Oliver Perez is regulated to bullpen duty, with John Maine and Jonathon Niese on the disabled list. “It doesn’t affect us but you still have to play on the field,” he said.

Will the momentum continue for the Mets with the Phillies coming to town? “It’s more of a carry over effect of beating a good team,” said Bay regarding the Mets taking their first rubber game series of the season.

Email Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alex Rodriguez, Cc Sabathia, Cross Town, Curtis Granderson, First Baseman, Game Series, Jason Bay, Johan Santana, Jorge Posada, Mark Teixiera, New York Mets, Rodriquez, Rubber Game, Run Game, Six Games, Subway Series, Third Strike, Three Games, Top Story, Yankee Stadium, Yankees New York