Skip to main content

Sour 16

On this, the anniversary of the unspeakable (bad things involving Kenny Rogers and Carlos Beltran), I think I have found one of the great statistical bizarre-ities in Mets history.

The Mets are 1-2 in games in which their pitcher strikes out 16 and walks 0.

The Mets are also 1-2 in games in which they have a pitcher strike out 0 and walks 6.

How in the world am I supposed to explain that?

Dwight Gooden had back-to-back 16-strikeout, 0-walk games, which I think is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in club history. Unfortunately, in baseball, as in life, Gooden won and then lost.

The first of those games was a 2-0 win over the Pirates on September 12, 1984, in which Gooden was backed by Hubie Brooks' 4th-inning home run against John Tudor. Gooden allowed five hits, and the funny thing is that the only innings in which he didn't record a strikeout were the first and the ninth. He had a chance at a 19 K game had he struck out the side in the 9th, but instead, the Pirates went down on a groundout and two flyouts, with Gooden getting Tony Pena out as the tying run at the plate to end the game. This was also the night in which Gooden broke Herb Score's rookie record for most strikeouts in a season, reaching 251 in this contest.

Said Pirates manager Chuck Tanner to the media afterwards: "Our guys weren't saying anything at all in the dugout. They didn't have time. They were striking out so fast, they had to run back on the field.''

Five days later, Gooden nearly replicated the effort against the Phillies, only this time, his effort was spoiled. Gooden struck out at least one batter in every inning and would have had a shot at a 19 K game had there been a bottom of the 9th in Philadelphia. There was not and Gooden got beat in one of the strangest manners in Mets history. Phillies starting pitcher Shane Rawley, who ended his career a .138 hitter, got one of seven hits against Gooden, and eventually scored when Gooden balked while Rawley was on third base. Gooden had been distracted by Keith Hernandez, who yelled out "step off" as Gooden went into his motion to deliver a pitch, and Hernandez accepted the blame and embarassment after the game.

That wasn't a walk-off, but it might as well have been. The other one was. It was a wasted Sid Fernandez gem, a 16 strikeout game against the Braves on July 14, 1989, in which Fernandez wound up on the short end when Lonnie Smith crushed a game-ending home run leading off the bottom of the 9th. Smith had struck out three times previously, and when asked afterwards how he hit a home run, he replied "I have no answer for it," which I suppose is appropriate for this story.
The first time a Mets pitcher struck out none and walked six was a rather odd occurrence in that the pitcher was a reliever, Dale Murray, who bypassed three batters apiece in the 8th and 9th innings against the Cubs on June 28, 1978. Chicago scored thrice in the eighth to go ahead 8-5 (via Bobby Murcer walk and Dave Kingman 2-run single).

The Mets tied the game with three of their own in the top of the 9th, and Murray somehow survived a three-walk (two intentional) bottom of the frame (helped by the fact that the Cubs were out of players and pitcher Ray Burris couldn't bring in a run with the bases loaded). The agonizing watch that this game must have been ended in the bottom of the 10th when Mick Kelleher bunted Kingman home via two-strike squeeze play with the winning run.

Amazingly, the other two instances took place exactly four years apart. Jesse Orosco earned his first major-league victory due in part to Pete Falcone's wildness on April 22, 1979 (6 1/3 innings, 2 runs, 6 walks, no strikeouts). The Mets rallied after Orosco got them out of trouble in the seventh, scoring four runs off Steve Carlton to win, 4-2.

The last of these instances came on April 22, 1983, and starter Scott Holman (5 innings, 1 run, 2 hits, 6 walks, no strikeouts) wasn't the only one unable to find the strike zone against the Braves. In all, Mets pitchers walked 12 and struck out none, a feat that hadn't happened before or since, dating back to 1957. The last of those walks, by reliever Neil Allen was costly, as Dale Murphy scored the winning run all the way from first base, on a walk-off hit by Chris Chambliss.

''With the walks we gave, they should have beat us, 102 to 2,'' Allen, in the midst of a terrible stretch, told the media after the game.

Yes, this is true, but it doesn't explain this, and we won't take the time to go through the games now. Perhaps sometime in the future, we'll explain this one. The Mets are 0-3 in games in which the OPPOSING pitcher strikes out none and walks 7(!)

True Meteens know...Two pitchers in Mets history have had a pair of outings in which they struck out none and walked at least five. They are Tom Glavine and Nolan Ryan.


Popular posts from this blog

The best Mets ejections I know

When you think of the Mets and famous ejections, I'm guessing you first think of the famous Bobby Valentine mustache game, when after Valentine got tossed, he returned to the dugout in disguise. You know it. You love it. I remember being amused when I asked Bobby V about it while we were working on Baseball Tonight, how he simply said "It worked. We won the game." (true) But the Bobby V mustache game of June 9, 1999 is one of many, many memorable Mets ejection stories. And now thanks to Retrosheet and the magic of , we have a convenient means for being able to share them. Ever since Retrosheet's David Smith recently announced that the Retrosheet ejection database was posted online , I've been a kid in a candy store. I've organized the data and done some lookups of media coverage around the games that interested me post. Those newspaper accounts fill in a lot of blanks. Without further ado (and with more work to do), here are some of my findings

Minutiae Break: Worst Mets Relievers

It occurs to me after 79 straight walk-off related posts and some fatigue still remaining from Saturday's finish that I did promise to bring Metspective on other issues related to the Flushing 9, so I offer this posting up as a "Minutiae Break." This came about after several discussions related to the offhand Dick Tidrow/Danny Graves remark the other day , the conclusion of which indicated that it would be fun to create a list of the worst Mets relievers of all-time. I don't want to step on the territory of other bloggers, like " Faith and Fear in Flushing ," Mets Guy in Michigan " and " Metstradamus ," so I'll tread carefully here, aided by their influence. Should any friends, family members, or fans of these pitchers visit this site, I mean no harm. I'm just here to have a little fun with this topic. The ground rules are as follows: The pitcher must have had a Mets stint as long as Dick Tidrow's (11 games, 15 2/3 innings), for wh

The 'Duca of Earl (and walk-offs)

If I told you that the Mets had just obtained a guy who is a career .316 hitter with runners in scoring position? How about if I told you that the Mets just traded for a hitter who has consistently ranked among the toughest in baseball to strike out? Or if I mentioned that the Mets just dealt for a player who was selected to the NL All-Star team the last three seasons, with the last honor coming via a vote by his peers? So, although he's on the down side age wise, his throwing arm isn't as good as it used to be, and he doesn't provide much power, there are a lot of good things that Paul Lo Duca brings to the New York Mets. For example: He'll sacrifice his body for the good of the team The Dodgers and Braves squared off on August 23, 2002 and Lo Duca made an impact both on the start and finish of this game. Three pitches after being dusted by Greg Maddux, Lo Duca made him pay with a first-inning home run. The Braves rallied to tie the game, 3-3 in the ninth, but their bu