Nov 26, 2021

Remebering Mets History (2015): NLDS Game #5 Mets Advance to NLCS

October 15th 2015: Dodger Stadium- Los Angeles, California

A sell out of 54,602 came to Southern California for a classic. The series was tied at 2-2 as the Dodgers surprised the Mets with a 3-1 win in Game #4 at Citi Field on Tuesday, a game centerfieldmaz was at.

In the decisive Game #5 the Mets manager; Terry Collins sent Jacob deGrom (the Game #1 winner) to the mound to face Zack Greinke (the Game #2 winner).

In the top of the 1st inning, Curtis Granderson reached on a challenged overturned call where he beat out a ground ball to Justin Turner. Daniel Murphy the offensive star of the game, then doubled to left field bringing in Grandy with the games 1st run.

In the bottom of the 1st the Dodgers answered right back, singles by Cory Seager, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner & Andre Either made it 2-1 L.A. From there Jacob deGrom struck out Yasmani Grandal & Enrique Hernandez.

This would be what geGrom had to do all night, work his way out of trouble. 57 of his 107 pitches were made with runners in scoring position.

deGrom fought with two men on in the 2nd & 3rd innings but got out of trouble both times. In the third he got Hernandez to ground to the mound & the pitcher turned a double play 1-5-3. After giving up a lead off walk in the 4th, deGrom retired the next three batters ending the inning striking out Seager. 

In the top of the 4th, Daniel Murphy singled to lead off the inning. As Lucas Duda drew a one out walk, Murph made one of the biggest plays of the series.

It came on the base paths, as the shift was all on the right side of the infield for Duda, no one was covering third base.

As Duda walked Murph took second & dashed over to third safely.  Its what Met broadcaster Howie Rose called "probably the most famous stolen base in Mets history."

Quotes- Daniel Murphy: "Just trying to casually walk to second and hoping that nobody called time because, I look like an idiot if somebody calls time and I run to third. I'm not sure who was supposed to cover, but there was nobody there. I'm not the fleetest of foot, but just fast enough for that one."

It was a huge Dodger blunder, coming at a very big moment the decisive NLDS Game #5. The next batter Travis d'Arnaud, hit a fly ball to right field, Murph safely scampered home with the tying run, 2-2 ball game.

In the 5th Justin Turner doubled for the second time, but was stranded on second after Either popped out & deGrom struck out Yasmani Grandal to end the inning.

In the 6th, Murphy came through once again, hitting a solo HR, his third HR of the series, his second off of Greinke. This was to be the game winner, as the Mets went on to the 3-2 win.

Quotes: "We went back and forth the whole at-bat. He has just a good changeup he locates so well. I got 3-2 right there and I finally got a heater in the zone I was looking in all night. Middle-in, I was able to keep it fair." "What a team win, It felt like everybody got a piece of this one."

Murph would have three of the Mets seven hits on the night, driving in two runs & scoring two runs as well.

In the 7th, an inning which has been a problem for the Mets, Terry Collins brought in Noah Syndrgaard, despite saying before the game he would not use him.

Noah got Howie Kendrick to ground out, then walked Adrian Gonzales. He then reared back & struck out Adrian Gonzales & "Gingerman" Justin Turner. A simple spectacular performance.

Collins then called upon Jeurys Familia to do something he did not do all year & that was to get a six out save. In the 8th Either grounded out, Carl Crawford lined out & Jimmy Rollins easily grounded out to first, bye bye Jimmy!

In the 9th he actually got an at bat, and struck out with two on. But he was in there for the bottom of the 9th. He first sent pinch hitter Chase Utley to the showers as he lined out.

Next Familia took care of business striking out AJ Ellis & Howie Kendrick.

That was it, the Mets took the game 3-2 & took the series 3-2. They advance to the franchise's eighth NLCS in team history to face Chicago Cubs.

Quotes- Manager Terry Collins: "We have a tough game, something doesn't go right, we bounce back. We've done it all year long. We have tremendous heart. There is nothing else to say. We have some young guys and veteran guys. They meshed together. It's been a blast."

Remembering Mets History (2015): National League Champion Mets Celebrate

Nov 25, 2021

Remembering Mets History (2015): NLDS Game #3: Mets Set Franchise Post Season Record Scoring 13 Runs

October 12th, 2015: Citi Field - Queens, New York:

Tonight marks the first post season game in the history of Citi Field.

The first for the Mets since Carlos Beltran left a bat on his shoulder for the final out of the 2006 NLCS.

1973 NLCS Mets star; Rusty Staub recovering from a recent heart attack threw out the ceremonial first pitch to get things going.

A full house came out to cheer on the Mets & show their support for Ruben Tejada. He got a huge ovation upon his pre game introduction as he came out walking with  a cane. The Met fans also came out to scream their frustrations at the Dodgers & public enemy #1l Chased Utless.

Terry Collins sent Matt Harvey (13-8 / 2.71 ERA / 188 Ks) to the mound, in his first post season start. It all came down to this for Harvey, in his short but very news worthy career.

It started in 2013, as he exploded on the scene as the next Mets phenom pitcher who would hopefully turn the organization around. He then started the All Star Game at home in Citi Field.  At the end of that August he had arm troubles & then needed the dreaded Tommy John surgery.

First he said no then two months later chose to go through with it. He then chose to rehab in New York to be near the team & missed all of 2014. Harvey then makes his triumphant return starting out 5-1. He then runs into some troubled starts & the Mets try to limit his innings, going with a six man rotation. 

Harvey gets better the Mets are in a pennant race & his agent says he should be limited to 180 innings period. Harvey does nothing to extinguish the fire.

The fans let him have it, with deGrom, Syndergaard, Matz & Wheeler on the staff, Harvey is not the only show in town. He then speaks out & says he will pitch in the post season, takes the ball & earns the win in the Mets NL East clincher...........

The Dodgers Don Mattingly sent Brett Anderson (10-9 / 3.69 ERA / 116 Ks) to the mound.

Harvey was not himself tonight, a shaky 2nd inning saw L.A. score three runs on four straight hits. Yasmani Grandal who had not gotten a hit with runners in scoring position in what seemed like forever, came through clearing the bases. But these Mets answered right away.

Yoenis Cespedes singled on a grounder to Jimmy Rollins. Lucas Duda also singled. The Mets fans came back to life, making lots of noise. Travis d'Arnaud then singled home the Mets first run scoring Cespedes. Wilmer Flores then singled as well. Curtis Granderson, The Grandyman delivered with a bases clearing double off the right center field wall, putting New York ahead.

In the home 3rd, Cespedes singled again & Travis d'ARnaud followed with a long HR to left field putting the Mets up 6-3.

In the 4th Juan Lagares doubled to start things off. With two outs Don Mattingly chose to walk David Wright & pitch to Daniel Murphy. Murph came through again, driving in Lagares with a base hit.

Then Yoenis Cespedes launched a tremendous HR into the second deck in left field, an estimated 425 feet, putting the Mets up 10-3.

Citi Field went wild, as Cespedes came out for an old fashioned Mets curtain call. Cespedes had three hits, a HR & 3 RBIs.

With the big lead the Mets fans began to chant "We want Utley"!!!

Harvey pitched with heart, 5 innings, 3 runs, 7 hits, 7 Ks & 2 walks. He was relieved by Bartolo Colon who to the delight of the Citi Faithful, struck out the side in his first  inning of work.

The Mets added to the rout tacking on three more runs in the 7th inning. Travis d'Arnaud stated off with his third hit of the night. Wilmer Flores & Juan Lagares both walked & Michael Conforto came through with a pinch hit sac fly.

After JP Howell through a high tight one to Curtis Granderson, he answered with another shot off the wall. This one to left field driving in two more runs, bringing his RBI total to five on the night. He tied Rusty Staub's franchise record for most RBI's in a post season game. It was now 13-4 Mets, setting a Mets  record for most runs in a post season game.

In the 9th Eric Goddel couldn't put it away allowing a three run HR to Howie Kendrick, Jeurys Familia had to come on & close it out.

Mets took a two games to one lead with the 13-7 win. The twenty runs is an NLDS record.

Nov 24, 2021

Remembering Mets History: (2015) NLDS Game #1- deGrom Shuts Out Dodgers With 13 Ks

October 9th 2015: NLDS Game #1- Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles California (Attendance 54,428)

Two of the best pitchers in the NL faced off against each other, to open up the long anticipated NLDS as Don Mattingly's Dodgers (92-70) had Clayton Kershaw (16-7 / 2.13 ERA / 301 Ks) on the mound hosting Terry Collins' New York Mets (90-72) with Mets ace Jacob deGrom (14-8 / 2.54 ERA / 205 Ks) going for New York.

Before the Game David Wright Chats
with Dodger Legend Sandy Koufax
Kershaw threw 22 first inning pitches, mostly because David Wright had a 12 pitch at bat drawing a walk, but the Mets did not score. Jacob deGrom allowed a 1st inning hit but struck out three other Dodgers on 98 mph. fastballs.

Kershaw eased through the next two innings, except for a Curtis Granderson base hit. In the 3rd & 4th innings, Mets left fielder Michael Cuddyer misplayed fly balls putting runners on second base both times.

Both times Jacob deGrom got out of the inning, striking out three batters in the 2nd & ending the 3rd by striking out the dangerous Adrian Gonzales.

In the 4th inning, Daniel Murphy broke the ice & put the Mets on the board with a long HR to right field. 1-0 Mets. In the home 4th, Justin Turner & AJ Ellis both singled. With two outs Kershaw hit a long fly ball to center that Yoenis Cespedes tracked down to end the inning.

The "Grandyman" Had two Hits & Walk
Both pitchers put away their opponents over the next two innings, going to the 7th. Lucas Duda led off with a walk & was moved over to second on Cuddyer's soft grounder. Kershaw then walked Ruben Tejada who had an outstanding at bat, drawing the walk after being down 0-2. Jacob deGrom then came to bat and successfully sacrificed the runners over. Granderson then walked to load the bases.

Don Mattingly then removed Kershaw from the game bringing in the hard throwing Pedro Baez. Mets Captain David Wright, the longest tenured player on the same team in all of baseball delivered. Wright singled up the middle on a 3-2 count making it 3-0 Mets.

deGrom came out in the 7th got AJ Ellis to fly out. He then struck out Joc Pederson & to the delight of Mets fans everywhere his 13th strikeout victim was Chase Utley.

deGom became the only other Mets besides Tom Seaver to have 13 strike outs in a post season game. deGrom went 7 innings allowed no runs on five hits, one walk & 13 Ks.

He also made history becoming the first pitcher to have that many strike outs in his post season debut.

In the 8th inning, Tyler Clippard came on & gave up a Howie Kendrick double & Adrian Gonzalez single making it 3-1.

The shaky Clippard was relieved by Jeurys Familia who came on for the four out save. Mets took Game #1 on the road 3-1.

Nov 23, 2021

Cal Koonce: 1969 World Champion Mets Pitcher (1967-1970)

Calvin Lee Koonce was born on November 18, 1940 at Fayetteville, North Carolina. The six foot right handed pitcher attended Campbell Town University and signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1961.

Koonce was in the major leagues the next season, making relief appearances in his first two outings.

On April 27th, 1962he made his first start, pitching a complete game one run victory in St. Louis against the Cards. On July 13th he pitched the best game of his career, it came at Wrigley Field against the Cincinnati Reds. In the 4th innings he allowed a base hit to the Reds; Don Blasingame, but he then retired the next 17 batters in a row, finishing off a one hit shutout.

He pitched well in the first half of the season, finding himself at 9-3 with a 3.63 ERA at the end of August & looking like a future super star.

But then he struggled, losing seven of his last eight decisions, finishing up at the year at 10-10 with a 3.97 ERA. He would spend some time in the minors and pitch six seasons in Chicago with the Cubs. He would never again reach double figures in wins again, ending up at 29-35 in his Cubs years, posting an ERA of around 4.00.

In 1967 after 34 games he was 2-2 with two saves, posting a 4.59 ERA. That August his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.

Mets Career: Koonce debuted as a Met on August 6th, 1967 pitching in relief in the first game of a double header against the San Francisco Giants.

On August 12th he was given a start & pitched a complete game one run victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium.

He won his next start at Philadelphia to start his Mets career at 2-0. On August 29th, he threw a complete game five hit shutout in St. Louis against the Cardinals. 

After arriving in New York he had pitched in 11 games, going 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA. He got six starts, throwing two complete game victories.

In 1968 Koonce became one of Gil Hodges & Rube Walkers top relievers out of the bullpen. He claimed the success he had in New York was due to the coaching of former catchers Rube Walker, Joe Pignatano & Yogi Berra. 

In May he earned his first three saves & was credited with a hold. In his first 13 appearances he did not allow a run in 21 innings pitched.

By mid July he was 0-4 but had seven saves & his ERA was just at 1.54. From that point through the end of the season, Koonce won six games, posted four saves with one hold to his credit as well. He was second to Ron Taylor in saves (11) & appearances (55) posting a 6-4 record, with the bull pen’s best ERA (2.41).

From August to the end of the season he was 5-0 with two saves & a hold. On the year he was 6-4 with 11 saves in 55 appearances (both second on the club to Ron Taylor). He posted a 2.42 ERA (Fourth best on the club) with 50 strike outs & 32 walks in 96 innings.

1969 Championship Season: On opening day at Shea Stadium in 1969, Koonce was the losing pitcher of record in the first game played by the expansion Montreal Expos. He came in to relieve Tom Seaver in the sixth inning and gave up three runs; as the Expos went on to win the game 11-10. He started out April with three saves but also blew two opportunities, taking losses in both those games.

In May he won two games in the same week, both in relief, beating the Houston Astros & Cincinnati Reds. On July 16th he pitched five innings of shut out relief against the first place Cubs, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. He held earned the win that day over Fergie Jenkins bringing the Mets within four games of first place.

Koonce noted that one of the differences of pitching in New York as opposed to Chicago, was the Mets talented bullpen. If he pitched a game, he knew he would have ample rest before his next outing. He stated this is why the Mets relievers were rested by the end of the season during the pennant race.

His longest outing was a 6.1 inning performance in Atlanta on August 1st, where he earned the win giving up just one run in a 5-4 win. 

He saw less playing time as the season went on, as the clubs main closer was Ron Taylor & the Tug McGraw also was becoming a top reliever. On August 24th he earned his final win of the year (6) a three inning shut out against the L.A. Dodgers at Shea Stadium.

Koonce went 6-3 with seven saves in 1969, as the third best reliever on the staff. He struck out 48 batters walking 42, posting a 4.99 ERA. He allowed 53 runs (46 earned) in 83 innings of work. Koonce did not appear in any post season games.

On the 1969 Amazing Mets Koonce was a respected veteran presence that the players looked up to. Team mate Art Shamsky once said that he never heard Koonce say a bad word about anyone.

After enjoying the success of being a World Champion, Koonce went 0-2 in 1970 making just 13 appearances.

Lifetime for the Mets, he was 15-12 with 18 saves in 119 appearances, posting a 3.43 ERA striking out 132 batters in 246 innings pitched.

He was sold to the Boston Red Sox where he pitched for two more seasons going 3-5 with two saves. He was released two months before his 30h birthday. Overall in a ten year career seasons he was 47-49 with 24 saves with a 3.78 ERA. In 334 games he struck out 504 batters with 368 walks in 971 innings pitched.

Retirement: After his playing days, he coached baseball at Campbell University in North Carolina from 1980-1986. Koonce became the first general manager of the Fayetteville Generals minor league baseball team.

Sadly at just 52 years old he passed away in 1993, after spending nearly four years battling lymphoma cancer. He was survived by His wife, and four children. In 1997 the North Carolina General Assemble passed a resolution to honor him.