Monday, July 21, 2014

Game of the Day (7/20/84)

Mets 3, Reds 2 (11). Both teams started rookie pitchers in this game. Cincinnati went with Jay Tibbs, who was making the second start of his career; he would end up posting a nice half-season, but his initial success was largely illusory (which is generally the case when you strike out 40 batters and walk 33 in 100.2 innings).

The New York rookie was about as different from Tibbs as it is possible to be (well, they were both right-handed). His name was Dwight Gooden.

Tibbs was perfect in the top of the first; Gooden allowed a single to Ron Oester, then coaxed a double play from Dan Driessen. Darryl Strawberry led off the top of the second with a homer, putting New York in front, but Cincinnati tied it in the bottom of the inning when Dave Parker reached on a Hubie Brooks error and Cesar Cedeno doubled him home. Cedeno then stole third with one out, but Gooden got a popup from Brad Gulden and struck out Tibbs to strand him.

The starters combined to keep the bases clear in both the third and fourth innings. George Foster drew a walk in the top of the fifth, and Gulden in the bottom; the former was removed on a double play, and the latter was left on. Wally Backman doubled with two out in the sixth, and Parker induced his second Met error of the day in the bottom of the inning (this one from Keith Hernandez!), and both of them failed to score as well.

The Mets took the lead again in the top of the seventh. Hernandez led off with a single, but was removed on a Strawberry double play ball. Foster doubled, however, and was singled home by Brooks to make it a 2-1 game. Gooden was flawless in the bottom of the inning, and Tibbs circumnavigated another Backman double in the top of the eighth.

Wayne Krenchicki pinch hit for Tibbs to start the bottom of the eighth, and singled. Gary Redus pinch ran for him and was bunted to second by Duane Walker, and Oester followed with a game-tying RBI single. Gooden left Oester at first, Bob Owchinko walked Hernandez but got another double play ball from Strawberry (this one a fly ball on which Hernandez attempted to tag up), and Gooden retired the Reds in order in the bottom of the ninth to necessitate the playing of additional baseball.

Owchinko walked Rafael Santana in the top of the tenth, which resulted in Jerry Martin hitting for Gooden and popping up. Jesse Orosco relieved in the bottom of the inning and allowed a walk and steal to Redus, then picked him off of second. In the top of the eleventh, Backman greeted Brad Lesley with a double, and Mookie Wilson bunted him to third. Ted Power replaced Lesley and allowed a go-ahead sacrifice fly to Hernandez. Driessen and Parker both singled in the bottom of the eleventh, but Orosco struck out Cedeno and coaxed a Dave Concepcion popup to end the game.

In the eleven innings of this game, the Reds struck out 14 times and had one extra-base hit; the Mets hitters whiffed only thrice, and had five extra-base hits (including three doubles by Wally Backman, one of the two three-double games he would have in his 14-year career). That's the difference between Dwight Gooden and Jay Tibbs as starting pitchers, and while the Reds were able to hang in the game for a while with singles and errors, the extra-base hits eventually took their tool. Which, you know, is how that usually works.

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