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The Amazing Mets
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
Baseball Quiz: Back in May I had a quiz on multiple no-hitters since 2000. Name the only four pitchers to have multiple no-hitters in the 1960s. Answer below.
Premier League Quiz: Of the 20 teams in the league, what are the five from London? Answer below.
--Back on July 12, the Mets were 40-51 and totally irrelevant, having lost the first game after the All-Star break down in Miami, 14 ½ games back in the N.L. East. There would be no meaningful games in August. There weren’t even meaningful games the rest of July.
But a funny thing happened on the way to waiting for college football. The Mets started winning, and after a doubleheader sweep over the Marlins at Citi Field on Monday, 6-2, 5-4, the Mets were 57-56, having gone 17-5, 8 ½ back of the Braves, but, more importantly, just 2 ½ back in the wild card race.
In the opener, Jacob deGrom threw seven innings of 2-run ball, his ERA down to 2.77, and then the Mets won in dramatic fashion in the nightcap. Down 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh, J.D. David, Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso hit solo shots for the 5-4 lead and reliever Seth Lugo slammed the door the last two innings. Citi Field was rocking...and electric moment. Every single fan had the same reaction. Wow!
The Mets did receive some bad news Monday on learning Robinson Cano had suffered a torn left hamstring during Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh and he’s likely out for the season. Cano, in the midst of an awful campaign, had just begun to hit, 9-for-15 in his past four games.
But the Metropolitans just continued to roll last night, Zack Wheeler throwing eight scoreless (15 scoreless since he learned he wasn’t being traded), as the Mets shutout the Marlins 5-0.
So now the Wild Card Standings thru Tuesday....
Washington 60-53... +1
Philadelphia 59-54... ---
St. Louis 58-54... 0.5
Milwaukee 59-56... 1
New York 58-56... 1.5
Arizona 57-57... 2.5
San Francisco 56-58... 3.5
--On Monday night, the Yankees won their 13th straight game in Baltimore, sixth in a row overall, 9-6, slugging five more home runs to set a major league record, two by the red-hot Mike Tauchman (“next man up”); the Yankees having hit 32 home runs at Camden Yards, a single-season record for most by a visiting team in one ballpark. The previous mark was held by the Milwaukee Braves, who hit 29 at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field in 1957.
The Yankees have hit the 32 in eight games, with games Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore. The 13 straight wins at Camden Yards also tied a franchise record for longest road winning streak.
But the Yanks’ starting pitching woes continued Monday, as Masahiro Tanaka gave up five runs in five innings for a no-decision. Tanaka began his Yankee career 64-34, 3.59 ERA, but he’s 7-6, 4.93 this season. He’s also pitched to a 9.08 ERA his last eight starts, yielding 10 home runs in 37 2/3.
And this is the guy who is supposed to be the ace in the postseason, having pitched to a 1.50 ERA in five October starts for the Yanks. Clearly they have to give him a break to rest his arm.
As for the injury picture, New York gets catcher Gary Sanchez back this coming weekend.
But then last night, the Yankees lost second baseman Gleyber Torres to a ‘core’ injury, specifics unknown, but it doesn’t look good. Torres was first hurt Sunday, but DH’d Monday, only to exit in the third inning Tuesday after playing the field.
Torres has been a stalwart, hitting .282 with 23 home runs and 62 RBI, and a .856 OPS. It’s all about October at this point and trying to get some of the key players healthy.
In Tuesday’s rain-soaked affair, the Yanks made it 14 straight at Camden Yards, and hit another six home runs (six different hitters) in winning 9-4.
Going back to Sunday night’s Yankees-Red Sox game, which was played after I posted, I can’t help but note how Boston’s David Price, a highly-loathsome character, gave up all seven Red Sox runs in just 2 2/3 and in his last eight starts at Yankee Stadium, Price is 1-7 with a 9.61 ERA. It kind of warms the cockles, even if you aren’t a Yankees fan.
--Clayton Kershaw just keeps rolling, moving to 11-2, 2.77, with seven innings of one-run ball (9 strikeouts) in a 3-1 win over the Cardinals Tuesday in L.A. Kershaw now has 20 straight starts of at least six innings, the Dodgers already with a magic number to clinch the N.L. West of just 30.
The Dodgers also got their 225th run with two outs this season in Tuesday’s game, most in the National League.
--Zack Greinke picked up the win in his debut for Houston, Greinke going six and allowing five runs, but it was enough as the Astros defeated the Rockies 11-6.
--So how are Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel doing, after sitting out essentially the first half of the season?
Keuchel has started nine times for the Braves and is 3-4, 3.86, the Braves 4-5 in his starts.
Kimbrel just went on the IL with right knee inflammation, having thrown in 14 games in relief for the Cubs, 0-2, 5.68, 9 saves in 11 attempts. To be fair, he is unscored on in 11 of the 14.
But the Cubs, who entered play Tuesday 2 ½ ahead of the Cardinals and 4 ahead of the Brewers in the N.L. Central, lost All-Star catcher Willson Contreras for a month with a strained right hamstring, Contreras batting .275 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs. Victor Caratini will now carry the bulk of the load with Contreras sidelined.
--I got a kick out of a story in the Washington Post on the difficulty the Nationals have in recalling players from their AAA Fresno, Calif., club.
The thing is, the Nationals’ old AAA franchise, Syracuse, was bought by the Mets, who stupidly had their AAA team in Las Vegas, for six years we heard how difficult it was to get players to the big club in a timely fashion. So the Mets finally did the smart thing and moved to Syracuse. The Nationals then targeted Nashville, but the folks in Nashville picked the Texas Rangers, leaving the Nationals with Fresno.
--The FedEx Cup playoffs commence this week at the Northern Trust, Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. The field of 125 will be reduced to 70 for the BMW Championship at Medinah next week, then to 30 for the Tour Championship.
Once again the format has been tweaked, with the biggest change being the playoffs are three events, not four as in the past. But the way the point system works, any points earned in the first two playoff events are simply added to a player’s regular-season points to get their new place on the points list, so it will be exceedingly difficult for someone, say, No. 100, to move up enough to qualify for the BMW. And at Medinah, for someone, say, No. 68, to get into the top 30 for East Lake, which is at it should be.
When you get to the top 30, though, it gets funky for the Tour Championship and we’ll discuss that down the road.
Tiger Woods is No. 28 heading into the Northern Trust. Big storms will be rolling through New Jersey the next two days, but the weekend forecast looks great...they’ll get this one done Sunday afternoon as scheduled.
--I didn’t have a chance to mention Hinako Shibuno last time. The 20-year-old rookie from the Japan LPGA Tour had never ventured outside her own country to play a golf tournament, yet she traveled all the way to England to win the Women’s British Open, a remarkable achievement. Shibuno sank a 16-fooot birdie putt on the 18th to win by one over Lizette Salas.
--Update: Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen was charged with sexual assault, common assault and being drunk on an aircraft. He is scheduled to appear in an English court on Aug. 21.
As I wrote last week, Olesen was flying home from Memphis and the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational when he allegedly assaulted a woman sleeping in first class, urinated in the aisle and got into an argument with passengers. Fellow golfer Ian Poulter had to calm Olesen down.
So Tuesday, the European Tour suspended Olesen pending the investigation into his arrest. In a statement, the tour said it would have no further comment while the legal matter proceeds.
Everything you need to know about the new season, which starts this weekend, including the following which you’ll find nowhere else. You can see how the Big Six (Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Man City and Man U) have dominated the sport, and have indeed occupied the first six slots the last three seasons.
Standings last five campaigns....
1. Chelsea 26 (W) 9 (D) 3 (L)...87 points
2. Manchester City...79
4. Manchester United...70
14. Leicester City...41
Relegated: Hull City, Burnley, Queens Park Rangers. Promoted:Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich City.
1. Leicester City 23 – 12 – 3 ...81...the Miracle of all Miracles...
4. Manchester City...66 [ties broken by goal differential]
5. Manchester United...66
7. West Ham...62
Relegated: Newcastle United, Norwich City, Aston Villa. Promoted: Hull City, Burnley, Middlesbrough.
1. Chelsea 30 – 3 – 5 ...93
3. Manchester City...78
6. Manchester United...69
12. Leicester City...44
Relegated: Hull City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland. Promoted:Brighton, Newcastle United, Huddersfield.
1. Manchester City 32 – 4 – 2 ...100
2. Manchester United...81
Relegated: Swansea, Stoke, West Brom. Promoted: Cardiff, Fulham, Wolverhampton.
1. Manchester City 32 – 2 – 4 ...98
6. Manchester United...66
Relegated: Cardiff, Fulham, Huddersfield. Promoted: Norwich City, Aston Villa, Sheffield United (after 12-year absence).
SportsLine has the following odds for the 2019/20 season.
Manchester City 5-8
Manchester United 20-1
Norwich City 2000-1
Sheffield United 2000-1
Personally, once again I’m all-in on Tottenham, as a fan, but Wolverhampton will crash the top six party. Last year, as a newbie in the PL, the Wolves were 4-4-4 in their matches against the Big Six. But they couldn’t finish higher than No. 7 at the end of the season because against the bottom 14, in the 26 contests they were just 12-5-9.
As the BBC put it, “Wolves were the Robin Hood of the Premier League last season, taking points off the rich and giving points to the poor. If they can maintain their success against the Big sides and learn how to bully the others, then a place in the top six could be within reach.”
Bu the way, with Cardiff City’s relegation that means that this season will be the first without a side from Wales since the 2010-11 season.
--Want another example of the kind of money that can be found in the Premier League? Tottenham signed a new shirt sponsor deal with AIA, worth over 320 million British pounds ($388 million), over eight years. The life insurance company has been on Spurs’ shirts since 2013, but the new deal is a significant rise in revenue for the Champions League finalists.
It matches the reported 40m-a-year pound deal Chelsea signed in 2015 with Yokohama tires.
Manchester United’s seven-year deal with car brand Chevrolet remains the biggest, worth about $60 million per year.
--Finally, Wayne Rooney is leaving DC United at the end of the current campaign to become a player-coach at Derby County, which is a Championship League squad (the rung below the Premier League from which teams can be promoted to the PL). Tuesday afternoon we learned United and Derby reached an agreement to clear Rooney from the last year of his contract, and it will not receive a transfer fee from Derby. Rooney will move back across the pond in the winter after playing out the season with United, and any playoffs. So it’s all good. Rooney will honor his commitment at least to stay thru the season, and United fans will be nothing but appreciative.
Give the guy credit. His career in D.C. was short but spectacular and he revitalized the organization and brought enduring memories to the local soccer scene. Rooney has long said he wanted to get into coaching and potential team ownership.
And to be fair, Rooney’s wife and four kids, living in Bethesda, Md., wanted to get back to their roots in the Manchester-Liverpool area. Derby is 90 miles southeast of Liverpool.
--Pretty funny stuff for us locals. Sports radio’s Mike Francesa is in the midst of a fierce feud with his beloved New York Giants. Francesa was famously close with former coach Bill Parcells and has always had access to the team, with quarterback Eli Manning doing a weekly spot on his afternoon show on WFAN for years.
But this year the Giants turned down his request for a visit to Giants training camp, for the first time, as Francesa said General Manager Dave Gettleman refused to be a guest on the show.
Francesa, in a series of tweets, then accused Gettleman of “hiding” from defending his many debatable decisions this offseason.
Giants senior vice president of communications Pat Hanlon fired back at Francesa by using the radio host’s own words against him.
In April, after the Giants picked Daniel Jones in the first round of the draft, Francesa said on his show, “the Giants now act like losers. They have no plan like losers. And the people running the team, in my estimation, are losers. I don’t believe a word Gettleman says. Not a word. He lied to everyone about what he was doing. ...The Giants are an utter embarrassment.”
Hanlon added in reply to Francesa’s ripping Gettleman for not being available, “That is a long way of saying: Why should he? Why would he? The owner (John Mara) was willing to go on. The head coach and players, too. Always welcome, Mike, as long as you’re working for our flagship partner...”
It goes deeper than this...but it will be funny to listen to Francesa every Monday once the season gets going and the Giants, as expected, get off to a poor start and the pressure grows quickly to replace Eli Manning with Daniel Jones.
--Valerie Bauerlein / Wall Street Journal:
“Venomous snakebites are on the rise in the Sunbelt this summer, with North Carolina, Georgia and Texas on track to set records.
“In North Carolina and Georgia, venomous snakebites have been rising for the past several years and are up more than 10% from a year ago, according to the states’ poison-control centers. In Texas, there were 415 reported snakebites in May and June, 27% more than the same period five years ago.
“Copperheads represent the vast majority of bites in the three states, and most are in fast-growing suburbs of cities like Raleigh, Atlanta and Dallas. Reasons for the increase include rapid urbanization, as new neighborhoods spring up in what was formerly forest or farmland, and last winter’s record-setting rainfall, which drives snake activity, poison-control workers said....
“Snakebites take place nationwide, but North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Florida represent a disproportionate 39% of the reported bites, according to a 2016 study of pediatric snakebites led by a University of Louisville epidemiologist. Copperheads are the dominant snake in all those states except for Florida, where snakebite activity has been average so far this year, according to Florida’s Poison Control Centers. Florida’s dominant snakes include the eastern coral snake and the cottonmouth.
“Copperheads thrive in suburban environments because they have relatively small roaming areas, a strong homing instinct and a willingness to eat ‘whatever’s available,’ from rodents to cicadas, said Jeffrey Beane, herpetology collections manager at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.”
Copperheads also camouflage themselves in underbrush or leaf piles. Recently, a Raleigh, N.C., optometrist was planting outside his newly built home and was bitten by a copperhead on the hand, which swelled to twice its size. He was hospitalized for two days while being treated with antivenom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 7,000 to 8,000 people in the U.S. are bitten each year and about five die.
Top 3 songs for the week 8/10/74: #1 “Feel Like Makin’ Love” (Roberta Flack) #2 “The Night Chicago Died” (Paper Lace) #3 “Annie’s Song” (John Denver)...and...#4 “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (Elton John) #5 “Please Come To Boston” (Dave Loggins...for the New England Chowdah...) #6 “Call On Me” (Chicago) #7 “Waterloo” (Abba) #8 “Sideshow” (Blue Magic) #9 “Wildwood Weed” (Jim Stafford) #10 “Tell Me Something Good” (Rufus...eh, ‘B’ week...)
Baseball Quiz Answer: Four pitchers to throw multiple no-hitters in the 1960s.
Sandy Koufax (4...1962, ’63, ’64, ’65)
Don Wilson (2...1967, ’69)
Jim Maloney (2...1965, ’69)
Warren Spahn (2...1960, ’61)
Spahn is the one I always forget. Just didn’t think of him that way, which would piss him off to no end.
Premier League Quiz Answer: Five London teams: Arsenal, Chelsea, Chrystal Palace, Tottenham, West Ham.
1969, Mets cont’d....
The Mets started a long road trip in Cincinnati with four against the Reds.
Aug. 4: Mets lose 1-0 on an Alex Johnson sac fly in the sixth, scoring Pete Rose. Jim Maloney (5-2) went 8 2/3, with Wayne Granger coming in for the final out. Jerry Koosman (8-7, 2.04) suffered the tough loss.
Due to arm issues, this would end up being Maloney’s last full season, finishing 134-84, 3.19. From 1963-69, he was as good as just about any right-hander in the league, but his career was essentially over at age 29.
Aug. 5: In the first of a twi-night doubleheader, the Reds won 8-5; Bobby Tolan, Rose, and Tony Perez homering as Tom Seaver (15-7, 2.66) was out after just three innings, giving up 4 earned. Uh oh. There were real concerns for a second time this season after he reported stiffness in his right shoulder and suffered his fourth defeat in five decisions. Would the Mets have to shelve him? Stay tuned.
Aug. 5: Well, at least the Mets took the nightcap 10-1, as Nolan Ryan threw his first complete game in a year, Ryan now 4-1, 3.54. Donn Clendenon and Tommie Agee homered for the Metropolitans. Days later Ryan would be off for two weeks of active military duty. That’s just the way things rolled back then, though then Ryan was told he didn’t have to report until Monday, making him available for a start in Atlanta next weekend. Among the other Mets, Bud Harrelson had a stint or two that season.
Aug. 6: Cincy’s Jim Merritt (11-5, 4.21) outdueled Jim McAndrew, the Reds winning 3-2.
So the Mets were now 59-47 and nine games back of the Cubs. A season of hope was suddenly looking rather gloomy.
I do have to add that Merritt, who was 81-86 for his career, was quite effective, 1967-1970, the first two seasons with the Twins, going 62-44 over that span, including 20-12 in 1970, a year in which he finished fourth in the Cy Young vote.
On to Atlanta....
Next Bar Chat, Monday.