Game Two: Broken Bats

Around the third inning, the announcers commented on how much less intense the crowd seemed than in game one. They postulated that it was due to the bat throwing incident. It was really about the inevitability of the outcome. By the end of the second inning, the Yankees were up 3-0 and Clemens looked overwhelming. The loud foul by Lenny Harris notwithstanding, the Mets were helpless against Clemens. When it never looks like the trailing team has a chance, how excited is the crowd going to get?

Frankly, the Mets haven't deserved to win a game in this series. They didn't hustle in the first game and played the field atrociously in the second. Add that to Benitez and Hampton's awful pitching and you have little business winning games. We've played like the team that got swept by the Expos, not the team that fought it's way into the World Series.

This seems like the best time to discuss Mike Hampton. I know managers think differently than the rest of us and that Bobby Valentine clearly marches to his own beat, but why would you start Hampton in Game 2 when that means he doesn't get any starts at Shea Stadium? He's been great at home, less than mediocre on the road. Here are the regular season numbers:

W - L






11 - 4






4 - 6





Now I know he shut out the Cards for seven innings in the LCS, but he also got hammered by the Giants in the divisional series. So Valentine arranged the pitching rotation so that he would not get to start in Shea. By the way, his one start against the Yanks in Shea this year resulted in seven shutout innings with 8 K's and only two walks.

Still, we almost caught them. And if there's anything we can take out of that disaster, it's that we seem to be hitting Rivera, which could well be the key to the series. I'm sure the Yankees didn't want to have to use him again, after two hard innings in game one. If he's vulnerable, it changes the nature of the Yankee staff.

In the midst of all the bat-throwing analysis, an odd bit of strategy was completely ignored. What on earth was Kurt Abbott doing up as the last out? I know he's supremely fitted to make the last out, but shouldn't we have been trying harder? We had Hamilton, Matt Franco, and Trammell on the bench. Kurt Abbott hit .217 for the season, hit .138 on the road, and is 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in the post-season -- this is who you let bat in the ninth inning of a 1-run game? Was Bobby afraid of not having a SS left? Who cares, tie up the game, then worry about it. The ineptitude of the NY sporting press (as well as the networks) is that all they are talking about is bats being thrown, while more interesting questions are never asked.

Hero: Clemens, who else? Overpowering as in his prime, the Mets were helpless.

Goat: Hampton. No command, no control, no damn good.

For the record, the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers lost the first two games and won the series against the Yanks and the 1986 Mets lost the first two games and won the series against the Red Sox. We ain't dead yet.

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