Aug 27, 2016

Remembering Mets History: (1989) Frank Viola Outduels Orel Hershiser 1-0 in Historical Matchup

Monday August 28th 1989: For the first time in MLB history, the two reigning Cy Young Award winners faced off against each other in a regular season matchup.

It was the reigning World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers sending Orel Hershiser to the mound hosting the New York Mets & Frank Viola.

Viola had been the A.L. Cy Young winner in 1988, one year after earning the World Series MVP for that years World Champions, the 1987 Minnesota Twins. Viola came to New York that season on the July 31st trade deadline.

It was a huge addition to the Mets team, as the Long Island born Viola returned home. He went 8-12 that year in Minnesota & was 1-3 enetering this game on a personal three game losing streak with an overall 9-15 season record. The Mets were in third place (70-60) three & 1/2 games back of the Chicago Cubs. The Dodgers had fallen to fifth place at 62-69.

A crowd of 38,820 came to Dodger Stadium to witness this classic pitching matchup that was all it was billed to be.

Starting Lineups

The Mets two hits in the first inning, singles by Juan Samuel & Howard Johnson amounted to nothing. But in the 3rd, Greg Jefferies singled through the third base hole. He advanced to second on Samuel's ground out. Then Howard Johnson singled in Jefferies in what turned out to be the only run of the game. The Mets did scatter eight hits off Hershiser but no more runs in his eight innings of work. He walked one & struck out four.

Viola had his best outing of that season for the Mets. He pitched the complete game shut out, allowing just three hits while striking out five & walking no one.

Viola would go 5-5 for the Mets that year with a 3.38 ERA. The next season he would win twenty games (20-12) leading the NL in starts (35) & innings pitched (249).

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