Joey Backdoor’s Worst Bad Beats Of 2021: New York Mets Edition

Joey’s worst gambling beats from a painful 2021 New York Mets season.

Editor’s Note: Joey is back with another treat for fans of his gambling pain. This time, he rehashes an agonizing New York Metropolitans 2021 season which featured some of those excruciating gambling losses that make you want to quit the game for good — but Joey never dies.

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5. Mets-Phillies 4/30:

Philadelphia scored both of their runs on a passed ball that was strike three and should have been out three in the second inning. Pitcher Chase Anderson was the batter who struck out but reached base against Marcus Stroman. This game was a sign of things to come. Another Stroman game would be decided when pitchers were hitting. More on that later.

As for this night, the Mets fell 2-1. They were 1-14 with runners in scoring position. James McCann had three opportunities with a man on second or third. His double play with runners on the corners ended the sixth after Dom Smith’s RBI single had given New York a run and potentially some momentum. 

4. Pirates-Mets 7/11:

Pittsburgh overcame a 5-0 deficit and the lowly Pirates were able to hand the Mets a brutal loss at Shea Stadium. New York’s Seth Lugo and Trevor May, two regular late-inning options, were unavailable despite it being the league’s final day before an extended All-Star break (four days off). Typical 2021 garbage. As a result, closer Edwin Diaz entered earlier than usual. He was able to extinguish a rally in the eighth. Pittsburgh was one out away from defeat, but scored twice in the ninth. 

3. Mets-Pirates 7/17:

After falling behind 6-0, Pittsburgh scored 5 in the eighth inning to make it close. A Brandon Nimmo home run in the ninth provided some insurance. Edwin Diaz blew his second save in less than a week. Both were against Pittsburgh, as the teams played consecutive series against each other with just the All-Star break in between. He was one out away from finishing off a New York victory, but surrendered a grand slam.

Gary Thorne worked the series. 2021 gave him a chance to call Mets broadcasts for the first time in years. He had not called MLB games since the covid shutdown of 2020. It was not one of his finer moments. Thorne temporarily thought Edwin’s final pitch had been caught for a Mets win. Perhaps in part because of games being called with road announcers working remotely. It somehow made the meltdown even worse. 

2. Cardinals-Mets 9/14:

With their postseason hopes on life support, the Mets hosted St. Louis. Somehow, things seemed to be lining up for them on the scoreboard. One NL playoff contender after another left the door open. After squandering two leads, the Mets forced extra innings with a home run by Javier Baez. Francisco Lindor came up with the potential winning run on third base in the tenth. Lindor grounded into a double play. Kevin Pillar was tagged out near third following a rundown and after first baseman Paul Goldschmidt began an unlikely twin killing by stepping on first. St. Louis scored three times in the next inning to go up 7-4, but there was more pain to come.

The Mets pulled within a run. Manager Luis Rojas sent Albert Almora Jr. up to bat. Luis Guillorme, a better hitter, remained on the bench. A ground ball concluded matters, and pretty much ended any chance of the Mets playing postseason baseball (or any meaningful games) until 2022. This game marked my stadium return. First time back since before the pandemic. It took more than 4.5 hours to finally put everybody out of their misery. Rojas gave a ridiculous explanation about how he never considered Guillorme because a lefty was pitching. Almora Jr. had been hitting well under .200. Even against lefties. Guillorme’s numbers might not have been great, but they were not that bad.

1. Mets-Phillies 8/6:

I went with a run line bet of Mets +1.5. In the fourth inning, New York loaded the bases with nobody out. Genius Luis Rojas instructed pitcher Marcus Stroman, who can swing the bat, to take three pitches and go down looking. He was afraid of a ground ball double play, which likely would have plated a run. The next batter grounded into a double play, and the Mets failed to score any runs in the fourth. Stroman only pitched two more innings, and Philadelphia scored in the fifth. Their pitcher actually was allowed to swing. He singled in a run and broke the tie. You can’t make it up. One could even suggest that perhaps somebody should have come up to pinch-hit for Stroman if he wasn’t staying in for the long haul, but simply letting Stroman swing would have been the most logical move.

Edwin Diaz gave up a pair of runs in the eighth to blow my +1.5. A ninth inning Mets run left them short for both the game and my wager. Gary Thorne also called that series, and this was the opener. Joe Benigno would later say he knew his team had no chance after realizing that Thorne was working. Both of us were perplexed about Gary Cohen not working this crucial series, but I was a little less critical. Joe has a way with words and opinions. The Mets never recovered from this game. It set the tone for a series sweep. They lost their division lead on this night, and left town two games back less than 48 hours later. Just over one week later they had fallen to third place, and remained there for the season’s final seven weeks.

Paul DeJong Becomes Latest Mets Killer in Torturous Weekend at Citi Field

I don’t want to spend days writing this article, so I’ll try to keep it mostly about the last four days. Please keep in mind that being a Mets fan is really about much more. Years of suffering. Frustration with the owners. Incompetence throughout their organization. It all ties together. That’s the backdrop. Every frustrating loss and stupid decision brings anger that stems from so much past aggravation. On to the microcosm that was this most recent series.

We start with Thursday. Paul DeJong connected against Mets ace Jacob deGrom for a sixth-inning home run that erased the 2-1 Mets lead. I don’t remember anything like what this guy has done. Sure, there were guys who did damage over the years. Chipper Jones had a long career. He is a HOF player. Numerous Phillies have played well against the Mets. Guys like Pat Burrell. DeJong plays for St. Louis. Although they used to be in the NL East, that was over 25 years ago. St. Louis is no longer a division foe.

There was an article written on Friday asking what was wrong with DeJong, and this was after his home run on Thursday night. I don’t think people are asking this question today. More on him later. The Mets held a 4-2 lead after 8. What followed was so incredibly Mets. A rain delay was about to begin. The Mets pleaded for umpires to let them continue playing. If that game had been called right there, it’s a Mets victory. They would be credited with a win in 8 innings. One can only assume that they were unaware of the rule or situation. St. Louis rallied to tie the score. Play was then paused with the score tied. This means that the game was suspended. Typical foolishness. One more note from Thursday. Mets catcher Wilson Ramos learned that his wife was pregnant when she held up a sign just before he came up to bat. Ramos struck out. Maybe wait until after the game next time.

Friday night began with the resumption of Thursday’s debacle. I was hoping for a quick win by scoring in the ninth inning. That did not happen. The Mets went quietly. Mets manager Mickey Callaway decided to bring back closer Edwin Diaz for another inning. After all, it was a different night. What could go wrong? Diaz promptly allowed a single and stolen base. DeJong singled in a run. Of course he did. The Mets were again quickly retired, and DeJong had again hurt the Mets. It was two days of frustration for one loss. Their closer had cost them twice. However, there was plenty more to come. It was only 6:30. Their scheduled game had not even started yet.

Kevin Clancy of Barstool Sports tweeted that he was upset about first baseman Pete Alonso’s actions the night before. This led to a spat between the men that did not capture the real issue. I don’t really know how to use an analogy, but it makes no sense to campaign for continuing when your team is ahead and would win if play was stopped for a rain delay before getting called for the night. It’s about not knowing rules. Alonso tweeted about having confidence in teammates. The whole thing is ridiculous. I wanted to throw out a basketball comparison, but forget it. There is so much more to cover. The night was not even an hour old at this point.

On to the scheduled part of Friday’s disaster. The Mets rallied back and claimed a 5-4 lead after trailing 4-1. Fan favorite (sarcasm) Jeurys Familia took the mound. His second pitch was deposited over the left field wall by DeJong. Familia remained in and allowed three more runs. His ERA is now 6.91, as Dexter Fowler also took him deep. St. Louis prevailed 9-5.

Saturday featured embarrassing comments by Brodie Van Wagenen. The Mets GM did not seem alarmed by his team’s play. They were 33-34 entering Thursday’s series opener, but Brodie claimed that the Mets were “right where we wanted to be.” After building an 8-3 lead, the Mets held on for dear life and won 8-7 by throwing out a pitcher at home plate following another shaky outing by Diaz. Starter Noah Syndergaard departed with a strained right hamstring. He has been placed on the injured list. They finally won, and it felt like a loss. There were major trades Saturday. Anthony Davis went to the Lakers. In baseball, Seattle traded Edwin Encarnacion to the Yankees. SNY tweeted those two moves, but put the Mets getting Brooks Pounders from Cleveland with those deals. Above it. This team continuously finds new ways to be a joke. With press conferences. In tweets. As if their play was not bad enough.

Sunday wrapped up the weekend series in agonizing fashion. A starting pitcher left with an injury for the second time in less than 24 hours, and once again it was a Met. Jason Vargas came out with a cramp. He was hitting. Perhaps there will be a DH in the NL soon. Most teams would improve their lineup. Only the Mets would lose some of their best hitters. St. Louis pulled out a 4-3 win despite being outhit 10-3. Chris Flexen fell to 0-3. I still have not forgiven this guy for blowing a game against Milwaukee in the 18th inning earlier this season. Familia was up in the bullpen during today’s game. It looked like they would need him at some point. Especially after Vargas came out early on. Callaway actually found a worse pitcher to use in Flexen. St. Louis went ahead on a home run by none other than DeJong. Entering Sunday, he ranked first in slugging percentage (.788) among all Major Leaguers with 85 plate appearances against the Mets. He left slugging .807 at Citi Field. In his 20 career games against the Mets, DeJong has nine home runs and a 1.200 OPS. That is the highest all time for anyone with a minimum of 80 plate appearances facing the Mets. At Citi Field, he has six homers in 11 games.

The Mets head to Atlanta for a series against the surging Braves before continuing on against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. After four in Chicago, the Mets will travel to Philadelphia for four more games. Sounds like a fun road trip. Enjoy it. 


Jacob deGrom Continues To Pitch Gem After Gem And The Mets Still Lose

Time to take my Yankee cap off for a moment in order to briefly talk about the stud in Queens. Jacob deGrom is the best pitcher in baseball right now in my opinion. Max Scherzer and Corey Kluber might have better numbers in most categories, but their teams are significantly better than the Mets. It’s not even a debate. The Mets are like a high school team compared to the Nats and Indians. Imagine having to go out game after game and know if you give up a run, you’re screwed. That is exactly what has happened for deGrom this year. Today was no different. deGrom pitched 7 innings, giving up 1 earned run. The Mets had 2 hits and lost 2-0.

The 2018 Mets and Jacob deGrom, A haiku

deGrom pitches well.
Offense and bullpen blow it.
The Mets lose the game.

The following stats are real, but if you believe they are fake, I’m right there with you.

No further stats, your honor.

I can’t believe these numbers. I refuse to believe these numbers. deGrom has been deGrominant and the Mets refuse to pick up a bat and hit the ball. I feel bad at this point. deGrom is 29, in the prime of his career, and the Mets are taking his talent and flushing it down the drain.

I’m not saying the Mets have to trade him, but they’re doing a disservice to their team if they don’t at least bring his name up at the deadline. What sucks is that the best team to trade with is the evil empire, the New York Yankees. The Yankees need a starting pitcher. The Mets need young talent. The Mets have a dominant starting pitcher. The Yankees have an abundance of young talent. This trade is what’s best for business, but it will never happen in a million years. I don’t think I could swallow watching deGrom win a World Series with the Yanks if I were a Mets fan.

Until then, deGrom better go 1-2 on a water cooler before he goes insane.

Recapping a Wild Sunday of Baseball in New York

I had a feeling we were in for a crazy Sunday. It started with Jacob deGrom going on the disabled list. I finished my article late Saturday night because I knew there would likely be much more to review, and DeGrom getting pulled from his scheduled Monday start was a fitting way to begin an awful day. Yoenis Cespedes would exit Sunday’s contest. That left the team shorthanded later on. Noah Syndergaard went six. God forbid he pitched another inning. Syndergaard threw 95 pitches.

The Mets used two pitchers to get through three Colorado batters in the seventh. Then, Mickey Callaway proved that he’s an absolute moron. Hansel Robles, who has absolutely no business being on this team, was chosen to pitch. Starters should have been used before putting him in.

I actually started to backtrack on the Harvey move after finding out that Robles had replaced him. Hansel predictably allowed a home run that broke the tie. He even gave us his trademark. Robles points up to signal that it is a catchable ball when the batter cracks one that will leave the yard. Tomas Nido came up to bat as New York’s last hope. He struck out. His average dropped to .147. That was their bat coming off the bench.

As I mentioned, Cespedes coming out made a pathetic bench even worse. If you can’t have a decent bench, at least stock your bullpen better. When Robles comes into a 2-2 game as your third bullpen arm, something is not right. The guy should not be on this roster, but he is.

His appearance should mean either somebody is winning by double digits or every other option has been used. Callaway spoke about making moves for the long term. They just went 0-6 on their homestand. Even Stevie Wonder could see this team is in big trouble and desperately needed a win.

Meanwhile, an amazing game was going on in the Bronx. Domingo German pitched six hitless innings in his first major league start for the Yankees. German appears destined for greatness. Mike Clevinger tossed a gem as well. Cleveland finally broke through against Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder. At 4-0, it looked like Cleveland was in control.

The Yankees rallied back to within 4-3 before the Indians narrowly escaped with their slim advantage going into the ninth. Neil Walker doubled home Aaron Hicks to tie it. Gleyber Torres blasted a home run, and it ended 7-4. My condolences if you had Indians plus 1.5, or under for that matter. No score through seven and 4-0 Indians when the Yankees came up in their half of the eighth. Both local teams were playing at home, and the games ended within seconds of each other. Talk about a fitting microcosm.

Cheer up Mets fans. P.J. Conlon takes the mound tonight for your boys. Should be another fun one.

The Month of May Introduces Newfound Misery For New York Mets Fans

Remember when everything was looking great for Mets fans? Not everybody can think back to April. The Mets were 11-1. Even as May started, their record was 17-9. No wins in May after five games. Their series against Atlanta started with Noah Syndergaard pitching at home. Atlanta won 3-2. Then, things really began to fall apart. Jacob deGrom hurt his arm swinging the bat. In true Mets fashion, he was sent out to pitch another inning. Perhaps more damage was done, although word is he can or at least might make Monday’s start. Even that announcement didn’t go smoothly. It was reported that deGrom would miss four starts before another report came out. The Mets fell 7-0 on Wednesday. (Update: Degrom placed on 10-day DL retroactive to May 3)

Thursday appeared to be rock bottom. Atlanta embarrassed the Mets by a final of 11-0. Matt Harvey made another relief appearance. He was predictably hammered, but must have thought that was fake news. Harvey continued to speak positively. His tactic has been to stress batters and innings when things went well. As if the home runs and walks never happened or mean little. This was it for him. Harvey has officially been designated for assignment.

I could write an entire article on this clown, but most people know his story. Usually Harvey gets attention for all the wrong reasons. Frank Isola has been all over him. Tweets about Harvey being overrated and accomplishing next to nothing have been right on target. I have been telling people about Harvey for years. It’s always about Matt. All kinds of drama. He blew the last World Series game in 2015 by insisting on coming out for the ninth inning when his manager and most other people knew better. Harvey put two runners on before departing. His refusal to challenge the leadoff man with a 2-0 lead was inexcusable. This after nonsense about whether or not he would even pitch in the postseason.

Recently I was reminded of a game he pitched against the Yankees. Harvey went way too long in a game that seemed all but decided. When it was about bringing him fame, Harvey didn’t mind throwing extra pitches. Even when it wasn’t best for the Mets. This year he was reluctant about going to the bullpen, and acted like it wasn’t even an option. As if that was his decision to make. When Matt refused to take a minor league assignment, his time with the Mets was finished.

Agent Scott Boras is likely to blame for much of Harvey’s stubbornness. Years ago Mike Francesa thought that Harvey should sign a deal that would lock him up for years beyond arbitration, but I knew there was no chance that Boras would settle for anything like 50-100 million. He wanted 200-300 million when Harvey reached free agency. Obviously Harvey would have been much better off taking the early security.

Getting back to the team, Colorado has come to town and picked up where Atlanta left off. When the Rockies held an 8-2 lead during their series opener, I turned my attention elsewhere. It finished 8-7. Two Mets were left on base when Michael Conforto was retired to conclude matters. Colorado followed that up with a 2-0 win. I’m writing this article before Sunday’s series finale. There will probably be a lot more to say in a few days. If you hate the Yankees, you’re also not happy. They are 14-1 in their last 15 games. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Anthony Young: The Passing Of Baseball’s Lovable Loser By Joe Saponara


*** Written By Joe Saponara****

I went to Shea Stadium on June 27, 1993. This was one of my first times there. Anthony Young was pitching. He had lost 26 straight decisions. This had the potential to be number 27. That had never happened before. The Mets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. It looked like things might be different on that particular Sunday afternoon. They were not. In fact, things were very normal. Young and his team still held an advantage after three innings. The shutout and lead disappeared in the fourth. St. Louis went on to win. Another L for Anthony. The streak eventually ended, and that game I attended ended up being his last loss of the streak. It is still the record today. I kept my ticket stub for years, but eventually lost it. I’m sure it would not be worth very much, but I wouldn’t sell it anyway.

Here is the thing about Anthony Young: he really was not that bad. No great player, but probably at least average. A potentially decent guy should not have lost 27 straight decisions. Despite having been a starter, Young later filled in for John Franco. He even converted 12 straight save opportunities during the losing streak. Young tossed 23 2/3 scoreless innings in that span. Closers are generally not in position to pick up a victory. Usually it is a save if things go well or a blown save and loss if you fail. An article recently described him as “beloved”, and he was considered a fan favorite. Indications were that Young was a nice guy. He handled the streak with class. One former teammate called Young a true gentleman. His career ERA of 3.89 is almost baffling. Stats were starting to take off. Many people think numbers suddenly went crazy after the strike of 1994, but that season saw plenty of offensive production. Colorado had started play in the NL. That place was a pitcher’s nightmare. New stadiums were built small for success by hitters. There was always a question of whether or not balls were juiced. Some players certainly were. Matt Williams hit 43 home runs through 115 San Francisco Giants games in 1994. That pace equals 60.6 homers through a complete season of 162 games. The strike ended play prematurely in August. Anybody with an ERA under 4 did not seem like one of the worst pitchers around. Young definitely was not in that category. I remember calling Ian Eagle in 1993 and suggesting that Young could succeed with New York’s other baseball team. Years later the Yankees won with former Mets Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. I knew George Steinbrenner would enjoy sticking it to his cross-town rivals. Gooden and Strawberry had found glory playing at Shea, but their careers (not to mention lives) were filled with rough patches. Each man needed a revival. I thought Young would have been a good fit for the Yanks. I’m sticking to that belief.

Young finished with a career record of 15 wins and 48 losses. Unfortunately, there was more bad luck ahead for him. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Young passed away on June 27, 2017. He died exactly 24 years after I watched him pitch at Shea and set the record at 27. People will remember him for different things. Those who knew him will likely remember Young as a father, friend, or regular good guy. Some might think of Young as a youth leagues coach. Sadly, many will probably just hear his name and think of him as a loser. To me, he will always be that talented pitcher who simply could not catch a break.

Rest in peace, Anthony.