You Can’t Win ‘Em All: Pitcher/Batter Showdowns

Coming through in the clutch is a great measure of a baseball player’s value.  Who is and who isn’t clutch.  MMO readers have had numerous heated arguments on this subject.  Just remember – No player can be clutch all the time.

Here are my top ten battles in which Mets pitchers or batters failed to come through in clutch.

Mets Come Out On The Bottom

  • #10- Jon Matlack vs. Bert Campaneris and Reggie Jackson on 10/21/1973.  The Mets had two chances to wrap up the 1973 World Series.  They traveled to Oakland for the final games with a 3-2 series lead.  The A’s won game six tying the series at three games each.  In game 7, Kenny Holtzman faced off against Jon Matlack.  The A’s essentially wrapped it up in the 3rd inning when Campaneris and Jackson each hit two run home runs.  The A’s won 5-2 and the World Series.
  • # 9 – Rick Aguilera vs. Dave Henderson on 10/25/1986.  In the top of the 10th of “game 6”, Henderson leads off with a home run to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.  They would score one more run before blowing the lead in the bottom of the 10th.
  • # 8 – John Franco vs. Brian Jordan on 9/30/2001.  The Mets were still in the division race on the next to last weekend of the season.  The Mets had split the first two games of the series and led 5-1 going to the bottom of the 9th of game three.  The Braves scored seven runs capped by a walk off grand slam by Brian Jordan to shock the Mets and for all intents and purposes end their comeback hopes.
  • # 7 – Kenny Rogers vs. Andruw Jones on 10/19/1999.  In game 6 of the NLCS, Rogers issues a four pitch walk off walk to give the Atlanta Braves a 10-9 victory and a 4-2 series win.
  • # 6 – Armando Benitez vs. J.T. Snow on 10/5/2000.  With the Mets leading 4-1 in the bottom of the 9th in game 2 of the NLDS, Benitez serves up a 3 run home run to Snow.  The Mets eventually win the game in the 12th inning, win the series and eventually make it to the World Series.
  • # 5 – The Mets vs. Chipper Jones in 1999.  The Braves led the National League East by only one game as they entered a three-game September series against the Mets at Turner Field.  Atlanta swept the series largely thanks to Jones, who hit four home runs and drove in seven of the thirteen runs that the Braves scored. For the season, he hit .400 with a .510 on-base percentage, a 1.000 slugging percentage, and seven home runs against the Mets. Chipper won the NL MVP.
  • # 4 – Armando Benitez vs. Paul O’Neill on 10/21/2000.  In game one of the Subway World Series, the Mets led 3-2 going to the bottom of the 9th.  Benitez retired the first batter.  O’Neill worked out a 10 pitch, 3-2 count walk to start the tying rally.  The Yankees won the game in the 12th inning.
  • # 3 – Aaron Heilman vs. Yadier Molina on 10/19 2006.  With the score tied 1-1 in the 9th inning of game seven of the NLCS, Molina homers over the left field wall at Shea Stadium, giving the Cardinals a 3-1 win and a trip to the World Series.  They beat the Tigers in five games to win the World Series.
  • # 2 – Dwight Gooden vs. Mike Scioscia on 10/9/1988.  The Mets were about to go up three games to one in the NLCS.  They entered the 9th inning with a 4-2 lead until Scioscia tied the game with a 2 run home run.  The Dodgers eventually won the game in the 12th and the series in seven games.  Some looked to this game as the undoing of the great Mets teams of the 1980s.  They never made the playoffs again.  On a personal level, Gooden never won a postseason game, going 0–4 in eight series.
  • # 1 – Carlos Beltran vs. Adam  Wainwright on 10/19/2006.  Following Molina’s homer above, the Mets rallied in the bottom of the 9th inning.  With the bases loaded and two out, Wainwright freezes Beltran on a breaking ball.  Beltran takes strike three.