Oct 29, 2020

Remembering Mets History (2015): Thor Puts the Hammer Down In The World Series

Friday October 30th 2015- World Series Game #3 -Citi Field, Queens New York.

In classic New York Mets style, Billy Joel sang the National Anthem & former Met; Mike Piazza threw out the ceremonial first pitch. A full house roared as the Mets took the field for the first time in a World Series game at Citi Field. The Mets entered the game down two games to none in this world series.

Mets Manager Terry Collins sent Noah Syndergaard (9-7 / 3.24 ERA / 166 Ks) known in New York as Thor, to the mound against Ned Yost's Royals hurler; Yordano Ventura (13-8 / 4.08 ERA / 156 Ks). The Mets needed a bog night from Thor to get back into the series & the 23 year old super hero delivered.

Thor started out the game by throwing a high tight one, sending Royals lead off hitter Alcides Escobar to the dirt. He also sent a message, you guys ain't in Kansas no more!

His fastball was working well & the crowd presence was known. But the Royals are tough, a Ben Zobrist double & a Lorenzo Cain infield hit led to a run as Eric Hosmer grounded into a force.

In the home 1st inning, Curtis Granderson led off with a base hit. And then in dramatic fashion a slumping David Wright, let it be known, it is his town as the Captain blasted a long two run HR to the left field stands.

In the 2nd the Royals scrapped up two more runs, there was a bad call that didn't go Thor's way that should have been a strike out but wasn't. Singles by Salvador Perez, Alex Gordon & Alex Rios led to a run. Then a passed ball gave KC the 3-2 lead.

From there Thor settled down & put the hammer down. He retired 12 in a row getting through six innings. He would allow three runs on seven hits, six strike outs & two walks, giving the Mets just what they needed.

Tonight the offense helped him out as well. In the home 3rd, Syndergaard helped his own cause by driving a base hit to right field. Then "The Grandyman" delivered once again as he lined a HR just over the right field wall down the line just fair. This was one of the reasons they brought in the fences right!! The Mets took a 4-3 lead and never looked back.

Trivia: Granderson has reached base in nine of 12 post season games this year & has hit two World Series HRs. He also ended the 5th inning with another fantastic fielding play saving a double to end the inning.

In the 4th Lucas Duda doubled to lead off & Travis d'Arnaud doubled putting runners on the corners with no one out. Michael Conforto then collected an infield single bringing in Duda making it 5-3 Mets.

The Royals attempted a come back in the 5th inning, but Syndergaard got out of trouble with the bases loaded & killed their momentum.

After the game the Royals complained about Thor's opening pitch which certainly sent a message to them & got them a bit uneasy.

Quotes: Syndergaard said "It's my plate out there not theirs." " I certainly wasn't trying to hit the guy, I just didn't want him getting too comfortable. If they got a problem  with it they can meet me sixty feet six inches from the plate I have no problem with that."

As Thor exited, the Mets added to their lead with a big 6th inning. With one out, Juan Lagares came through with a pinch hit single & then Wilmer Flores was then hit by a pitch.

Next up Juan Uribe, making his first post season appearance since getting injured at the end of the regular season, came through with a pinch hit single bringing in Lagares making it 6-3 New York.

The next play was a grounder to the pitcher; Franklin Morales. Morales didn't know what to do with the ball, first he wanted to throw home but Wilmer Flores scampered back to third, he then threw late to second & the ball got away, everyone was safe, bases loaded.

Next up, Captain David Wright came through again with a two run base hit to center field. Flores & Uribe both scored, making it 8-3.

Trivia: David Wright became the first Met to drive in four runs in a World Series game since Rusty Staub had five in Game #4 of the 1973 World Series against the Oakland A's.

The 6th inning continued as Daniel Murphy walked & Yoenis Cespedes hit sac fly to leftfield, Granderson scored & made it 9-3.

The Mets got great relief from Addison Reed as threw a perfect 7th inning. Reed has now appeared in six post season games (4.2 innings) allowing one run on two hits with two Ks.

After a great rendition from the Citi Field crowd singing Piano Man with Mr. Billy Joel standing there live watching. The Mets went to work as Tyler Clippard pitched a perfect 8th inning as well.

In the 9th, Collins brought on Familia to get some work in & get the taste of the Game #1 HR out of his mouth.

The first out came on a sparkling play by short stop Wilmer Flores, going up the middle throwing out Salvador Perez. Familia then struck out Alex Gordon & pinch hitter Kendrys Morales fittingly ended the game grounding out to David Wright.

Trivia: Noah Syndergaard is the second youngest Mets pitcher to earn a win in a World Series game. Gary Gentry is still the youngest, winning game #3 at Shea in 1969 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Oct 24, 2020

2006 NL Eastern Champion Mets Pitcher& Hall of Famer: Pedro Martinez (2005-2008)

Pedro Jaime Martinez was born October 25th, 1971 in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic. The five foot eleven right hander was signed by the Los Angeles dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1988.

Pedro would pitch two seasons with the Dodgers going 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA in the 1993 season.

In November 1993 he was traded to the Montreal Expos for Delino Deshields. He would pitch four years with the Expos starting out in the strike shortened 1994 season where he was 11-5 for the first place Expos.

Trivia: Imperfect Game- On April 13th, 1994 he lost a perfect game bid when with one on in the 8th inning, he hit the Reds Reggie Sanders with a pitch. Sanders charged the mound & a bench clearing brawl erupted. Sanders was ridiculed for thinking a pitcher would surrender a perfect game to hit him with a pitch.

That year no post season games were played & the Expos missed out on their second chance at getting to the playoffs. In 1995 he went 14-10 with a 3.51 ERA.

Perfect Nine Innings: On June 3rd he pitched nine perfect innings against the San Diego Padres, but left in a scoreless game in the 9th inning. He earned the win in the 1-0 win.

By 1997 he was becoming one of the games top pitchers winning his first Cy Young Award. He led the NL in ERA 1.90 & complete games (13). He went 17-8 striking out 305 batters (second in the NL) with the best strike out per nine inning ratio in the league.

In November 1997 with his free agency looming, he was traded with Carl Pavano to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later, Tony Armas. The Sox gave him the largest contract ever given to a pitcher up to that point. In his first year he was 19-7 with a 2.89 ERA.

1999 All Star Game: Pedro was the starting pitcher for the AL with the game being played in his Red Sox home; Fenway Park. He became the first pitcher to start an All Star game dtriking out the first four batters.

On September 10th, 1999 he came close to another perfect game, throwing a one hitter in the Bronx against the rival AL New York team.

In 1999 he won his second Cy Young Award, leading the league in wins (23) going 23-4 with one of the best pitching seasons ever. He also led the league in winning % (.852%) ERA (2.07) & strike outs (313). That year he was second in the MVP voting as well. He was only the eighth pitcher to ever put in back to back 300 plus strike out seasons.

That season he put together a record setting ten game win streaks to start out a season. He also had a record streak with strike outs in 40 consecutive innings. In that record setting streak, Pedro averaged 15 strike outs per nine innings.

1999 Post Season: in the 1999 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, he was forced to leave the series opener with a strained back. He came in relief in Game #5 in the third inning of an 8-8 tie. He went on to pitch six scoreless / hitless innings, earning the 12-8 win.

In the ALCS he defeated the rival AL New York club & steroid user Roger Clemens, in Game #3 handing them their only post season loss.

In 2000 he started out the year with a 17 strike out game on May 6th, in a heart breaking 1-0 loss to the Tampa Rays. In his next start he struck out 15 Baltimore Orioles in a 9-0 shut out.

In September he had yet another no hitter going into the 9th inning, but lost it when John Flahery singled for the Tampa Rays. The game started out with him hitting Gerald Williams, who then charged the mound before being laid to rest by Sox catcher Jason Varitek.

 He won Cy Young Award number three, as he went 18-6 on the year leading the league in ERA (1.74) Shut outs 94) & strike outs (284). Injuries held him to 18 starts going 7-3 in 2001.

In 2002 he won twenty games for the second & final time in his career, going 20-4 with the league’s best win % (.833%). He also led the league in strike outs for the third & final time (239) as well as ERA 2.26. He won another ERA title again in 2003.

2002 Post Season: In Game #3 of the ALCS after allowing runs in three straight innings, Pedro hit the AL New York teams; Karim Garcia with a pitch in the shoulder.

The bench started shouting at Martinez & he pointed to his head meaning he will remember what catcher Jorge Posada was mumbling about. This caused coach Don Zimmer to come out after Pedro, Martinez shoved him aside & the old coach fell to the floor. Benches cleared but order was restored.
In the Red Sox 2004 history making season Pedro was 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA second on the staff to Curt Schilling (21 wins & a 3.26 ERA).

2004 Post Season: In the post season he was the winning pitcher in the ALDS Game #2 against the Anaheim Angels.

2004 ALCS: In the ALCS he took the loss in Game #2, although he pitched well three runs on four hits over six innings. It was after this game that he said the AL New York team were hot & they were his Daddy. The chant "Who's Your Daddy"!! was born.

He came in relief in the 7th inning, Game #7 as the Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history, sweeping the AL New York club after being down three games to none.

2004 World Series: In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals he was the winning pitcher in Game 3 pitching seven scoreless innings. He was part of the Red Sox first championship team since 1918 making Boston sports history.

In December 2004 he signed on with the New York Mets. The acquisition of Pedro along with center fielder Carlos Beltran brought a lot of excitement to Shea Stadium. Pedro made his Mets debut on Opening Day 2005 in Cincinnati. He earned decision after pitching six innings allowing three runs on three hits, striking out twelve Reds.

His next start was a beauty; he earned his first Mets win as he pitched a complete game, two hit, one run game in Atlanta beating John Smoltz & the Braves 2-1.

In his New York debut he earned no decision pitching seven innings against the Florida Marlins. Pedro gave up two runs on three hits; as the Mets went on to win it with a walk off Ramon Castro base hit. After a 2-1 April he went on to win five straight decisions. With a 7-1 record at the start of June and a 2.45 ERA, Pedro quickly became a fan favorite at Shea Stadium.

On June 7th he tossed anther two hit, one run performance at Shea, beating the Houston Astros. He matched his season high strikeout total with 12.

At the All Star break he was 10-3 among the top pitchers in the league in wins, ERA & strike outs. He made the All Star team but did not pitch in the game held at Comerica Field in Detroit.

After the break he beat the Atlanta Braves & Los Angeles Dodgers at home, besting his record to 12-3. In August he struggled at 2-3 but still held his ERA under two at 2.90.

In September he was 2-2 finishing up the year as the Mets top pitcher He was 15-8 (9th in the NL in wins) with the league’s best winning % (.652). Pedro was the best pitcher in the NL in strike out to walks ratio with a 4.426% .

He was fifth in the league with an 8.62 strike outs per inning ratio, with 208 strike outs (3rd in the NL) & just 47 walks in 217 innings pitched. He posted a 2.82 ERA (4th in the NL) with four complete games (3RD most in the NL).

2006 NL Eastern Title Season: The 2006 Mets season began with a lot of promise, as Carlos Delgado, Paul Loduca, José Valentin & Xavier Nady joined an already good team. Pedro debuted in the third game of the season beating the Washington Nationals even though he allowed five runs. His next start in Washington was a seven inning three hit 3-1 victory.

On April 22nd in San Diego, Pedro struck out eleven Padres in a seven inning one run performance. He started out the year winning his first five games going 5-0. In May he got five no decisions as the bullpen blew two more chances he had a victories.

Drama: In a May 26th start against the Florida Marlins he was instructed by umpires to change his undershirt as it was interfering with the vision of the pitches. He slipped in the run way injuring his hip & although it was not known at the time, affected his pitching.

In June Pedro went 2-3 , on June 28th he returned to Boston pitching at Fenway Park. He was greeted with an eight run, seven hit Red Sox out bursts, sending him to the showers after three innings.

That outing led to injuries where he would miss the next month. Four starts later he went down for another month returning in mid September. By then the Mets were ready to clinch the NL Eastern Division,

Pedro would close out the year losing his last four starts. After his last ineffective start he was seen in the dugout with tears in his eyes from pain. An MRI showed a torn rotator cuff, & a torn calf muscle. He would not be able to pitch in the post season & be highly missed by the ball club.

Possibly a healthy Pedro would have at least advanced the Mets to the World Series. The Mets also lost pitcher Orlando Hernandez & eventually lost the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals. He ended the year 9-8 with a 4.48 ERA, making 23 starts. He struck out 137 batters in 132 innings.

Pedro missed most of the 2007 season, returning from his surgery in September. On September 3rd he pitched for the first time in almost a year, making a start in Cincinnati.

In five innings he gave up three runs on five hits earning a win in the Mets 10-5 victory. That night he also notched his 3000th career strike out.

He returned to Shea Stadium on September 9th getting a win over the Houston Astros. He finished up the Mets miserable two last weeks of the season with a loss to the Cardinals on September 27th. He went 3-1 in the month with a 3.57 ERA in five games.

In 2008 there was promise for Pedro after what looked like a successful return from the surgery. But in the second game of the season in the fourth inning he heard a pop.

He went down with a hamstring injury sidelining him for the next two months. On June 3rd, he returned pitching six strong innings, allowing three runs earning a win in San Francisco. His fastball was never the same again, he went .500 most of the season, going 5-6 with a 5.61. It was the highest ERA posting of his career.

In 2008 the Mets missed the post season once again, losing on the last day of the season in the final game ever played at Shea Stadium.

After the season he was let go to free agency & that winter he displayed he was healthy by pitching six strong innings in the World Baseball Classic.

Mets Career: In his Mets career he pitched 79 games going 32-23 (.582%) with a 3.88 ERA, 464 strike outs & 137 walks in 486 innings.

In July 2009 he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, debuting at Wrigley Field on August 12th. He earned a win in five innings pitched.

On August 23rd he returned to Shea Stadium & earned a 907 win after pitching six innings, allowing four runs. The game ended on a very unusual unassisted triple play.

On September 13th he pitched eight innings of shut ball against his old Mets team mates beating Tim Redding in a 1-0 pitchers duel.

2009 Post Season: On the year he was 5-1 helping the Phillies to the post season. He appeared in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, pitching seven shutout innings in the Game #2 loss but earned no decision. In the World Series he was the losing pitcher in two of the games. Pedro retired after the season.

Career: In an 18 year career Pedro won three Cy Young Awards, made eight All Star teams & won a World Series Championship & made five trips to the post season.

He was 219-100 (79th most wins all time) with  a .687 winning % (6th best all time).

Pedro struck out 3154 batters (13th all time) with the sixth best strike out per nine inning ratio (10.04 per game). In his career he is tied for third all time with the most 15 plus strike out games (10).

Pedro walked 760 batters in 2827 innings pitched (166th all time) in 409 starts (122nd all time) in 476 games. He had 17 shut outs, with 46 complete games.

Honors: In 2015 Pedro was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Quotes: Pedro at his induction speech: “I would like to thank God for the opportunity of being here. I would like all of you to not look at me as numbers, as baseball, as achievements. I would like you to actually see me as a sign of hope for a Third World country, for Latin America, someone that you can really look up to, and feel comfortable enough to say, ‘I’m proud of you.’ ”

Two days after his induction, his uniform #45 was retired by the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Trivia: He is just the second Dominican born player to be enshrined in Cooperstown. San Francisco Giants pitcher "The Dominican Dandy" Juan Marichal was the first.

In 2015 he joined the MLB network as an analyst. That year he also released his autobiography "Pedro".

Family: He is married to former ESPN Deportes sideline reporter Carolina Cruz. She now runs his charity foundation. His son Pedro Jr. signed with the Detroit Tigers, as an international free agent in 2017.