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Walk-Off Predictions

I know that it is customary for one to make predictions at this time of year and I felt that mine had to come with a twist. So I've decided that my projections for each of the Mets postseason wins will involve them winning by walk-off in some way, shape or form.

Those of you who have been here frequently know that I like to draw upon the events of the past in order to relate to the events of the present and future and I shall do so with my prognostications.

It seems appropriate to reference the events of 20 years ago because those are among the most pleasurable moments in my lifetime as a Mets fan. So we'll start from there and hope that we can continue this theme when the next round comes...

The first thing we need is an unlikely regular to hit a 2-run home run. About 3 months ago, I had a vision of one particular Met doing this and I'm going to stick with it. If there was one player on the current roster that you'd nickname "Nails," it would definitely be Paul Lo Duca, so let's make him the man of the moment for Game 1. And why not tempt fate and pick Endy Chavez as the drag-bunter extraordinaire, beating out a bunt to set the stage for these dramatics.

For Game 2, we need a slumping superstar to get the big hit. About the only bond that Gary Carter and Carlos Beltran share is that they are both extremely religious. Beltran won't have the chance to go 1-for-21 in the series by this point, but his .190 batting average since September 1 qualifies him as a slumpster. Pinch-runner Endy Chavez scores the winning run in the last of the 12th.

No details are necessary on how the Dodgers win Games 3 and 4, so let's just presume that it works out that way...

For Game 5, we need excellence in the face of the worst amount of desperation and forgive me for invoking the ghosts of October 25, but you had to figure they'd come up here eventually. There are certain parallels that I just can't ignore. This will be the gut-wrenching game of all gut-wrenching games. A 3-3 tie will be broken in the top of the 10th inning by a Marlon Anderson home run and a Wilson Betemit RBI single against Aaron Heilman.

Carlos Beltran will lead off the home half by flying to left and Carlos Delgado's deep drive to centerfield will be tracked down by Kenny Lofton. But then, something beyond magical will occur. David Wright will single to left. Pinch-hitter Michael Tucker will single to center. Shawn Green will fight off an 0-2 pitch into centerfield for a hit, bringing Wright home to make the score 5-4. Grady Little will walk out to the mound ever-so-slowly and replace Takashi Saito with Derek Lowe/Greg Maddux/Brad Penny (take your pick). Jose Valentin, representing the Mets last hope for the season, will fight off several two-strike pitches, before an inside sinker darts away from catcher Russell Martin. Tucker will score the tying run and there will be wild expressions of bedlam and joy. Those will endure through two more foul balls, before Valentin chops a slow roller to first. As the pitcher races over to cover, hobbling first baseman Nomar Garciaparra will try to make the play, and watch the ball roll helplessly under his glove. Green will score the winning run, the Mets will advance to the NLCS, and we'll have a whole new set of Amazin' memories.

And now for the thoughts of some other folks I know. I asked a few fellow bloggers and friends to share their walk-off predictions. Not all of them followed the rules, but those who didn't were creative enough to warrant mention. Feel free to add yours in the comments section.

Gordon Mann says...

With Game 2 tied at 3 in the 11th inning, Julio Franco (MLB debut 4/23/1982) drives a 2-1 fast ball over the right field wall off Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton (born 6/16/84). The Mets win the series 3-1.

Paul Alfieri says...

Not exactly a walkoff but I think you will understand... Dodgers up 4-2, top of ninth, Game 4 in Dodgers Stadium, Mets lead series 2-1, but ace Derek Lowe is working a masterful 4-hit game for the Dodgers. Reyes works out a walk to lead off the inning after starting the at-bat 0-2. Up steps Paul Scioscia, er, LoDuca, who drills a 2 run shot into the left field bleachers, tying the game at 4. Mets win in the 12th when Carlos Delgado homers off of Hong-Chih Kuo. Wagner pitches a perfect bottom frame...

Lone Star Mets says...

After Jeff Kent ties the game 1-1 with a solo shot in the top of the ninth, Jose Reyes hits a one out triple. LoDuca is unable to drive home the run and with 2 outs Willie elects to have Beltran suicide squeeze Reyes home and Beltran beats the throw at first.

Eric Simon says...

Out of options in the bottom of the 14th inning of Game 1 against the Dodgers, Willie Randolph turns to Steve Trachsel in a pinch hitting situation, having exhausted his bench earlier in the contest. After waving at two sliders in the dirt, the man they call "Paint Dry" takes two fastballs just off the outside corner for balls. With the count at 2-2, Trachsel deposits the next offering into right field. Paul Lo Duca, unexpectedly running with the pitch, ignores Manny Acta's stop sign at third and heads for home with a full head of steam. The throw arrives just moments too late as Lo Duca slides safely into the plate, immediately mobbed by his elated teammates.

Matt Cerrone the MetsBlogger says...

I predict that Jose Reyes will draw a bases-loaded walk-off walk during an extra inning Game Five of the NLDS against Greg Maddux, who will be brought on in a last-ditch effort of relief. I further predict that Maddux will first roll his eyes, then argue with the ump, then cry and cry some more to the point that he becomes so dejected he officially announces his retirement from baseball as the Mets can be heard celebrating a trip to the NLCS just a few feet away.

Metsgrrl says...

My money's on Lo Duca:It's the 9th inning of the first game, top of the order, game is tied. The heart of the Dodgers batting order will be up next if we can't get moving. Julio Franco pinch-hits for Heilman and strikes out. Reyes makes it to second base on an error. Lo Duca comes to the plate with "Stayin' Alive" blaring out of the speakers. All we want is a single, or even a sac fly. Anything, really, say the prayers floating down from the upper deck. First pitch, walk.Second pitch, strike.Third pitch, everyone at Shea holding their collective breath, and before he even hits the ball we all somehow know - whether it's from his 'don't fuck with me' expression or his body language - that it's going out onto the 7 train platform. And it does.The Dodgers never quite regain momentum after that. Lo Duca tells the media his motivation came from generations of pent-up Brooklyn payback.


Metphistopheles says...

LOS ANGELES- History didn't repeat itself at Chavez Ravine tonight. It reversed itself.Despite falling behind to the Dodgers 4-2 early in Game Four, light-slugging outfielder Endy Chavez came up in the top of the 9th against LA closer Takashi Saito. Chavez, who had previously hit only four home runs all season, unleashed a monster shot with 2 men on to give the Mets a come-from-behind 5-4 victory. Making the occasion even more notable was the trajectory of the ball. It soared over the center field fence, got caught in the slipstream of a passing airliner, traveled 31 miles in a southeasterly direction, smashed through a window at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, and plunked Los Angeles Angel manager Mike Scoscia in the head while cleaning out his office following his team's unsuccessful playoff run.

Steve Keane says...

Note...this one was written before the events involving El Duque on Tuesday...

Mets over Dodgers 3 games to 1. Mets management discovers that 56 year old Craig Swan was never dropped from the 40 man roster for past 22 years so Willie Randolph taps him for a Game 4 start.

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