It’s opening day for the HBTM league. A couple of heavy duty pitchers duels set for action, let’s see how they faired in day one of ten.
Harlan’s Mets took on the Marauders in the first game. It was a match-up featuring two of the best Met pitchers, Jerry Koosman and Johan Santana.
Santana loaded the bases in the second inning after walking Keith Hernandez. Wally Backman came to bat and hit a grounder to 3rd, David Wright threw the ball to the plate, but Kevin McReynolds got in safely for the first run. No outs and the pitcher Koosman up to bat, he smokes a line drive to center that brings Payton and Hernandez in to score. Taveras finished the scoring in the 2nd grounding out to drive Backman in. It was a four run inning Santana succumed to.
Take it to the away team’s half of the fifth and it was Harlan’s Mets turn to shine. With the score 4-1, Johan leads off the inning with a long double to right-center. after Mazzilli and Olerud made outs, Moises Alou smacked a line drive over the wall in left center to put Harlan’s Mets within a run. David Wright continues the rally with a big double to left, and Jeff Kent would drive him in to tie the game at four.
The starters settled afterwards, neither allowed through seven. Santana was lifted for pinch-hitter Ty Wiggington with a man on in the top of the eighth. An error caused by Wally Backman brought Mazzilli to the plate with two on and two out, but Koosman gets him to swing and miss at strike three to retire the inning.
Roger McDowell came in to relieve Santana in the bottom half of the eighth and walked the first batter Cleon Jones. He retired both Hundley and McReynolds, but Payton kept the inning going with a single to center. McDowell feeling the pressure then walked Hernandez and Backman consecutively to bring in the leading run.
The home team was at an advantage in the ninth as Randy Myers got the job done clinching the save. The Marauders defeat Harlan’s Mets by the score of 5-4. The player of the game was Marauders’ Jerry Koosman who went 8 innings, struck out 8, and also drove in a pair of runs.
Hatfield Mets and David Cone made their season debut against the Sobel Slumdogs and the Doctor Dwight Gooden.
Sloppy defense for the Slumdogs in the top half of the second. Greg Jefferies botched a routine grounder to get Strawberry on base. After Cameron flied out, Gary Carter hit one through the hole in left to put runners on the corners. Kevin Elster then drove in the first run grounding into a fielder’s choice.
Awful defense continued for the Slumdogs in the 3rd. Another lead-off batter on base, this time due to an error provided by Jose Vizcaino. In double play depth, the lead runner David Cone was thrown out at 2nd, but Rickey Henderson’s speed got him into first safely. He applied his speed again to swipe second, and then ran all the way home off a single hit up the middle by Bobby Bonilla. Hatfield Mets were rolling with a 2-0 lead.
Slumdogs rallied back in the bottom half of the 3rd to get a run in off Cone. With Mookie Wilson on third, Mike Piazza drilled the ball to left-center to bring in the run. With Green and Piazza on the corners, Ventura couldn’t keep it rolling and flied out to end the inning.
In a complete Met fantasy match-up, Gooden began the fourth inning pitching to Strawberry. Straw got the best of Doc in this one as he drilled a solo homer to the opposite field in left to give the Hatfield Mets a 3-1 lead.
Gooden and Cone would plow through the middle innings. The next run came from another long ball from an ‘86 hero. Gary Carter crushed a solo shot to right-center to give Hatfield a three run advantage. The Slumdogs tried to rally once again in the 7th. After David Cone balked Jefferies over to second, Jose Vizcaino drove him in with a single to right. Doc grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Mookie drove him over to third to put the runners on the corners. With a big chance to do same damage, Shawn Green popped out to end the inning.
As Gooden went the distance allowing only 4 hits and striking out nine, Cone was the winner in this one. Cone only struck out one batter and allowed ten hits with only 2 earned runs, but regardless got the damage done. Armando Benitez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth and the Hatfield Mets win their first game 4-2. David Cone was the player of the game pitching eight innings for the win.
The final contest of the day came from Brenden and Greg’s teams as former teammates Seaver and Matlack would oppose one another.
Matlack was nearly flawless in this game with most of his problems coming in the top half of the first. Consecutive hits from Brenden’s Ron Hodges and Frank Thomas put runners on the corners early. With one away and the Gorilla’s playing double play depth, Tommy Agee hit a soft grounder to third. They got the force at second, but Agee beat throw to avoid the double play. Hodges scored and it was 1-0 Brenden’s Mets.
Rare trouble for Tom Terrific in the home half of the third. After striking out Matlack and getting Reyes to ground out, Edgardo Alfonzo crushed a solo homer to deep left. The home run left Seaver discombobulated for the remainder of the inning. Consecutive hits off the bats of Cliff Floyd and Carlos Beltran put runners on, and then Seaver walked Bernard Gilkey. With only one out to get with the bases juiced, it was Rico Brogna lining a huge double off the wall in right to clear the bases. That would end the bleeding for Seaver as the four run inning gave the Gashouse Gorilla’s the 4-1 lead.
Brenden’s Mets came back to score a run in the fourth. Derek Bell drove in Howard Johnson from first after doubling to left-center. That would be the end of the run scoring for Brenden’s team as it was all Jon Matlack from here on out. Matlack retired 15 straight batters from innings four through the ninth. He was given run insurance in the 7th when Reyes crushed a 2-run homer to dead center, but those runs were merely for entertainment value. Matlack cruised on to complete the game as the Gashouse Gorilla’s win their first contest 6-2. Matlack struck out six and gave up four hits in his full nine innings work landing him player of the game honors.
A trio of pitchers making the newspaper covers that weren’t one of the three Met dominant aces. Seaver, Gooden, and Santana were all out-pitched by Matlack, Koosman, and Cone. Just goes to show you anything can happen when you put it to simulation. Here are the teams where they stand going into day 2.
The Marauders: 1-0
Hatfield Mets: 1-0
Gashouse Gorillas: 1-0
Harlan’s Mets: 0-1
Sobel Slumdogs: 0-1
Brenden’s Mets: 0-1
Randy Sobel is a contributor to HowBoutThemMets.com and can be reached at Randy.Sobel@gmail.com.