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A History of HOTWOOD

It's a beautiful day for baseball this Monday (more or less) as the game returns to Flushing for the first time this season and we're excited that there's finally a chance for walk-off wins again.

That got us to doing some research into what we're calling HOTWOOD. No, that has nothing to do with the Mets bats from their first few games, nor is it the town in Indiana where (name that obscure Met) grew up.

HOTWOOD stands for Home Openers That Weren't On Opening Day.

And here's what we can tell you about them...

* The Mets are 12-9 all-time in HOTWOOD, a good record, but far shy of their 29-17 Opening Day mark.

*The Mets have won 5 HOTWOOD in a row, though that comes with an asterisk attached to the 2000 HOTWOOD win. When the Mets opened in Japan in 2000, they were technically the home team on Opening Day, but to call that game the "home opener" would be inappropriate, as it would also be to acknowledge the second "fake" Opening Day" that came after the 1981 strike. So we won't. We also only count one of the two defeats suffered in a doubleheader against the Giants on HOTWOOD, 1997, because there can only be one HOTWOOD game per season.

* If you're attending this HOTWOOD, expect the Mets to have some hot wood. In this five-game streak, the Mets have outscored their opponents, 37-16, scoring an average of 7.4 runs per HOTWOOD. Their high for runs scored in a HOTWOOD is 10, which came in 2004 against the Braves and 1995 against the Cardinals.

* Mets pitchers have thrown 3 shutouts on HOTWOOD. They were tossed by Jerry Koosman (1968 vs Giants), Tom Seaver (1977 vs Cardinals) and Ron Darling (1988 vs Expos). Koosman's came two days after the Mets lost a 1-0 24-inning affair in Houston so the bullpen was much appreciative.

* Conversely, the Mets have been shut out twice on HOTWOOD, in 1984 by Bryn Smith and 1992 by Ken Hill. Both were with the Expos at the time.

* The only previous Mets HOTWOOD against the Phillies came in 1982, as Randy Jones somehow beat Steve Carlton, 5-2, with the help of a 3-run home run from Dave Kingman.

* The Mets won their last HOTWOOD, 8-4 against the Astros, in 2005. They scored 5 runs in the 8th inning to get the victory, with the go-ahead hit coming from Kazuo Matsui.

* Of the 9 HOTWOOD defeats, 3 game in extra innings-- a 6-2 13-inning loss to the Cardinals in 1986, a 3-2 14-inning loss to the Expos in 1979, and a 6-4 10-inning loss against the Pirates in 1970, the day they raised their first world championship banner.

* The Mets first HOTWOOD came in 1962, a 4-3 loss to the Pirates. Sherman "Roadblock" Jones had the honor of making the first HOTWOOD start, just a few months after he'd been pitching in the World Series for the Reds. He pitched alright but took the loss, one of four defeats he'd suffer (with no victories) in his final major-league season.

* And lastly, the Mets have never had a walk-off win in a HOTWOOD, so please forgive us if we're rooting for a little history today.


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