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Best Games I Know: Phillies

#10 (April 28, 1984) Jonesing For a Win

This one makes the list for purely personal reasons (see the link a few lines down), but it was a significant win in showing the Mets that they could be legitimate winners after seven straight seasons of living in loserdom. The Mets had lost three of four to the defending NL East champs prior to their meeting on this Saturday. They’d trail 3-2 in the eighth inning before rallying on a home run by Darryl Strawberry and a walk-off double from Ross Jones (his only Met hit), the first of five straight victories that would set them up for one of the most exciting seasons in Mets history.

Previously written about: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/06/whos-ross.html

True Metophiles know …The next walk-off hit allowed by Al Holland came against current Mets first base coach Ken Oberkfell.

#9 (May 15, 1970) I’m a Be-Seaver

You could probably argue that Tom Seaver’s 1970 season against the Phillies was the best by any Mets pitcher against any opponent (Seaver‘s four wins against the 1971 Cardinals and Dwight Gooden‘s five triumphs against the 1985 Cubs are worthy challengers). Seaver made four starts, pitched four complete games, winning all four. His ERA was 1.00 and his strikeout to walk rate was 42 to 6. The best of the best was this game, which I wrote about not too long ago, in which Seaver allowed one hit and struck out 15.

Previously written about: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2008/05/best-games-i-know-tom-seaver-v-10.html

True Metophiles know...In a streak spanning from 1969 to mid-1974, Tom Seaver went 17-1 against the Phillies, including a streak of 11 straight wins against them.

#8 (May 21, 1972) Streaking

It was Bat Day in Philadelphia, so more than 57-thousand people were treated to one of Willie Mays last moments of glory. The Mets closed out an 11-game win streak on Mays’ shoulders, improving to 25-7 with a 4-3 victory. The Mets trailed 3-0 and were being no-hit by Steve Carlton, before Mays’ double ended the history bid. Mays would score on Tommie Agee’s home run, then power a two-run shot over the fence in the eighth inning to give the Mets the runs they’d need for victory. The Yogi Berra era could not have gotten off to a better start, with a four-game sweep and a six-game cushion for first place in the NL East. Too bad it didn’t last.

True Metophiles know...That the best 32-game stretch in Mets history occurred from games 48-79 of the 1990 season, in which the Mets went 27-5.

#7 (July 25, 1990) A Damn Good Win

This game got a lot of pub a few weeks ago when the Mets had a similar such victory in Philadelphia. It was supposed to be an easy win once it got to 9-0, thanks to home runs from Dave Magadan and Darryl Strawberry. It was still pretty secure at 10-3, with long man Wally Whitehurst and his 2.12 ERA on the mound in the ninth inning. Not so fast.
The first SEVEN Phillies to bat in the ninth inning single, and what was a laugher was no joke anymore. Julio Machado fared no better than Whitehurst, allowing the last two of those seven hits, necessitating an unlikely entrance from John Franco. A walk to John Kruk loaded the bases with nobody out with the score 10-8, but then the Mets got a little lucky. Lenny Dykstra didn‘t hit into a double play the last two months of the season, but clanked into a run-scoring twin-killing.

That made it 10-9, and put the tying run on third with two outs. Tommy Herr, who had more than his fair share of big hits against the Mets, than put good wood on a Franco offering, but reserve shortstop Mario Diaz (who had three hits in his Mets career) was in perfect position to snare it for the final phew-inducing out. Exclaimed Mets announcer Bob Murphy “They win the damn thing by the score of 10 to 9!”

True Metophiles know...Mario Diaz had two career walk-off hits, including a 15th-inning game-ending double to beat Lee Guetterman and the Yankees in 1991.

#6 (September 14, 1977), (October 1, 1982) and (October 6, 1991) Lousy Year, Great Pitching

When the going is really awful, you can always count on a late-season series in Philadelphia to provide something Metmorable from a pitching perspective

* There’s the 1-0 quasi-instant classic from September ‘77 in which Nino Espinosa not only tossed a three-hit shutout to beat Steve Carlton, but drove in the winning run with a fifth-inning single, the only hit in the entire game to come with a runner in scoring position.

* There’s the 1-0 gem from Terry Leach, who put himself on the Met map in October ‘82 with a rather strenuous (ie: 6-walk) one-hit shutout over 10 innings, with the only knock coming via triple from current third base coach Luis Aguayo. No other Mets pitcher has ever thrown a 10 inning, one-hit shutout (not even Tom Seaver), and none since has even thrown a 10-inning shutout.

* And of course there’s the better-known 7-0, 19-strikeout effort from David Cone, to cap off the disastrous 1991 season, one in which Cone pitched with the knowledge that he was being investigated for a rape at the time. It was a 141-pitch masterpiece in which the Phillies somehow managed three hits.

True Metophiles know...That the Mets record for consecutive shutouts is 4, set from September 24-28, 1969 (not included in this list because they came after the division was clinched). The last three shutouts came against the Phillies in Philadelphia, thrown by Jerry Koosman, Tom Seaver, and the combo of Gary Gentry, Nolan Ryan, and Ron Taylor).

#5 (September 10, 1970) Pennant Pertinent

Had this been a season in which the Mets won the NL East, this game would be a lot better remembered. We previously recalled it for its unique standing, as the only game in Mets history to end with a Met, Cleon Jones, hitting a game-winning triple. What was most important was that, in the thick of the pennant race, the victory kept the team tied with the Pirates for first place. It’s interesting that in all this time of existence, the Mets haven’t had a win over the Philies quite as pertinent to the pennant race as this one.

Previously written about: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2006/06/triple-through-time.html

True Metophiles know...Exactly one year after that game, the Mets beat the Phillies again…that win started a 10-game Mets win streak against the Phillies, the longest in franchise history.

#4 (July 28-29, 2001)Robin and Batman

Another from the sentimental favorite set, but if you know the story behind the story, it makes sense why I‘d rank the back-to-back walk-off home runs by Robin Ventura and Mike Piazza so highly. In the grand scheme of what was the great comeback of 2001, these games weren’t quite the inspitation, but I’d like to think that they were. The first game was the fun one, a walk-off home run against a favorite (Turk Wendell) we’d just traded away. The second was the fascinating game in which the Mets grabbed leads in the seventh and eighth innings, and relinquished them, before finally snatching away victory in the ninth inning.

Previously written about: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/07/clairvoyance-prognostication-and-walk.html

True Metophiles know...From 1983 to 1987, the Mets had four walk-off home runs against the Phillies, enrapturing a home-run cycle. They were a three-run homer, a two-run homer, a grand slam, and a solo homer.

#3 (September 22, 1988) Clincher

The Mets missed out on a chance to clinch the NL East against the Phillies in Philadelphia in 1986, but didn’t pass up the chance at home two years later. The finale of a three-game sweep and an eight-game win streak was a Ron Darling gem, a six-hit complete game in an effort otherwise lacking a star. The Mets scored their runs on a Gregg Jefferies groundout, a wild pitch, and a Kevin McReynolds infield single. Darlins survived a jam in the eighth, inducing an inning-ending double play from Ricky Jordan with runners on the corners, than got the side 1-2-3 in the ninth so that celebration time at Shea (significantly subdued compared to that of two seasons ago) could begin.

True Metophiles know...Ron Darling’s 5.07 career ERA against the Phillies was his worst against any NL team. That win marked his only career complete game against the Phillies.

#2 (April 5, 1983) A Terrific Return

Tom Seaver deserved a better fate in his return to the Mets than a 9-14 record in his one-year stay, in which his first appearance was the highlight for the season. Seaver recorded 11 no-decisions in 1983 and this one in his first game back set the tone. Matched up against Steve Carlton on Opening Day, Seaver drew rave reviews from the likes of Pete Rose for his six shutout innings of three-hit ball against a lineup that included fellow aging vets Rose, Joe Morgan and Tony Perez, as well as an in-his-prime Mike Schmidt. It was a glorious day regardless of how Seaver fared because his return after a 5 ½ year absence meant the return of hope to a franchise which had, other than a few brief revivals, forgotten the meaning of the word.

As an aside, Seaver wasn’t the only one who deserved a better fate. Starting right fielder Mike Howard produced the go-ahead hit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Who would have figured that it came in his final major-league at-bat?

True Metophiles know...During Tom Seaver's Mets tenure, he and Steve Carlton started against each other 9 times. Seaver was 7-0 with 2 no-decisions. Carlton was 0-8 with one no-decision.

#1 (May 23, 1999) Gimme Five (in the 9th)

Granted it’s not quite a million-to-one scenario that a team would score five runs in the ninth inning to win a game, but put the Mets scenario of being down 4-0 in the ninth inning against Curt Schilling under bleakest of the bleak. That they managed to score five times before making three outs with a group of hitters that included Jermaine Allensworth and Luis Lopez made it worthy of top billing. Read all about it in the link below.

Previously written about: http://metswalkoffs.blogspot.com/2005/07/schilling-drilling.html

True Metophiles know...Of John Olerud’s eight career walk-off hits, three came in situations in which his team was trailing at the time.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The problem with the Best Wins You/I/We Know against the Phillies is there are about 10 for every hundred of the worst losses we know against the Phillies. Tonight's? This would be the worst loss ever against the Padres, the worst loss ever against the Rockies, one of the three worst losses against the Pirates.

I don't know if it's one of the twenty worst losses against the Phillies.

(I'm exaggerating. It's absolutely one of the worst losses ever against the Phillies because, in Bobby V-speak, it's the one we lost tonight.)
Anonymous said…
What about Opening Day 1973? Two homers by Cleon Jones and Seaver and McGraw combine for the shutout over Carlton.
What about the Billy Champion Game? Agee knocked down then homers in the final game before the Mets sweep the Cubs in September of '69?
And wins 1,2 and 3 of the Mets' 11-game winning streak in '86 came vs. the Phils.
-- BF

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