May 3, 2015

Former Mets Pitcher Who Twice Started Out Season at 5-0: Armando Reynoso (1997-1998)

Armando Martin (Gutierrez) Reynoso was born on May 1st, 1966 in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. The six foot right hander began pitching in the Mexican League getting over to the majors in 1991 with the Atlanta Braves. After two brief seasons in Atlanta he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies as the 58th pick of the 1992 expansion draft.

In 1993 Reynoso was the Rockies ace winning 12 games (12-11) being the only pitcher on the Colorado staff to win in double figures. Injures limited him to just nine games the next year & in 1995 he was used mostly as a reliever. In 1996 he was 8-9 with a 4.96 ERA being used again in a starting role. In November of 1996 he was traded to the New York Mets for Jerry Dipoto.

Reynoso had a great Spring Training '97, starting out by throwing seven shutout innings over two starts before having elbow troubles. On April 13th, 1997, made his Mets regular season debut, pitching five shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers while earning his Met first win. He would pitch well enough, for Manager Bobby Valentine to insert him in the Mets rotation of Bobby Jones, Rick Reed, Dave Mlicki & Mark Clark. 

On May 7th Reynoso pitched eight innings, while allowing just one run on four hits, against the Astros in Houston earning his second win (2-0). On May 24th he went seven innings allowing just one run, as he won his third game (3-0) beating the Phillies at the Vet. In his next start, he beat the Phillies at Shea, going another seven strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits. 

On June 5th Reynoso pitched a five hit complete game, shut out at Shea Stadium, beating the Florida Marlins 6-0. It bested his record to 5-0, making him just the third Mets pitcher to start out a year at 5-0. (Since then Pedro Martinez 2006 & Matt Harvey 2015 have matched this feat). Reynoso was sporting a 2.55 ERA going into June.

On June 17th in the second official subway series regular season game, he took his first loss, it came against the AL New York club as he allowed four runs & five hits getting knocked out in the 2nd inning. 

By mid July he was 6-3 with a 4.53 ERA when his season was cut short due to recurring injuries. 

He didn't return until July 24th 1998, when he pitched eight shutout innings beating the Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field. Upon his return Reynoso was fantastic, in his next start he beat the Los Angeles Dodgers & then the Rockies in Colorado. He went seven innings in both contests going to 3-0. 

On August 15th, although he allowed four runs in Arizona, he was still the winning pitcher in a 5-4 Mets win. On August 21st at Shea Stadium, Reynoso matched his club tying Mets record, of winning his first five decisions in a season. He beat Manny Abar & the St. Louis Cards 1-0 going into the 7th inning. Turk Wendell & John Franco completed the win.

In the second game of an August 21st double header at Shea Stadium he pitched seven shutout innings allowing just three hits, to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. 

After taking a loss where he allowed seven runs on ten hits in just 4.2 innings he went on to pitch eight innings in two straight starts, earning wins. He went 7-3 posting the second best winning percentage among the Mets starters (.700%). He posted a 3.82 in eleven games pitched.

He was granted free agency at the end of the season & signed with the Arizona Diamond backs. He won double figures in each of the next two seasons there, going 10-6 in the D-backs 1999 playoff season. He did not pitch in the ALDS loss to his old Mets team mates. Reynoso pitched four seasons in Arizona retiring after the 2002 season.

In his career he went 68-62 with a 4.74 ERA, 554 strikeouts, 376 walks & one save in 1079 innings in 198 appearances. 

Retirement: Reynoso pitched for Mexico National team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was elected to the Mexican Hall of Fame of Baseball in 2010.

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