Work in Sports
Mets know they're down, but swear they're not out
Updated: Monday October 23, 2000 8:25 AM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are staggered, for sure, by this nasty two-game setback. They're a tad confused, a little angry, maybe a bit surprised, even.
And, better than anyone, they know what they're up against now.
They are down 2-0 in the World Series to the New York Yankees, facing a pitcher in Game 3 on Tuesday who has never lost to a Mets team and has a 1.29 ERA in two World Series wins. They are swinging the bats like they don't know which end to hold. They're playing terrible defense, and their base running has been none too good.
"We showed tonight, the way we played in the ninth inning, that we still have a lot of fight left in us," insisted Mike Hampton, who took the loss in Game 2 on Sunday night. "We know this isn't over by a long shot."
Despite all the happy talk in the Mets' clubhouse, though, the Mets know they are in trouble. The Yanks won their 14th consecutive World Series game with Sunday's 6-5 decision (they led 6-0 in the top of the ninth), and they throw postseason star "El Duque" on Tuesday.
Trouble? Oh, yeah. But you wouldn't know it by the words coming out of the Mets' mouths.
"Two one-run games," catcher Todd Pratt said, noting the 4-3 loss in Game 1. "I don't know if they're better. They're just coming out on top."
The Yankees started that way Sunday, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first against an uncharacteristically wild Hampton. The Mets' lefty walked five batters in six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits.
It was a long way from the last time we saw Hampton, when he twirled a complete-game, three-hit shutout to clinch the National League pennant against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Hopefully, we'll bounce back and I'll get another shot," he said. "I hope I get another opportunity. I know I'll be better."
The Mets have to be better, because so far in this World Series, they've been anything but that.
They threw the strength of their rotation in Games 1 and 2 in Hampton and fellow left-hander Al Leiter (who didn't get a decision in Game 1). And they've come away with nothing.
They've been outhit (the Mets are hitting a paltry .218 in two games to the Yankees' .308). They've made way more mistakes (including three errors Sunday).
Still, as the Series heads to the Mets' home, Shea Stadium, for Games 3, 4 and 5, they're throwing around a lot of hope.
"We have our work cut out for us," manager Bobby Valentine said. "No one said it's going to be easy. I think they know it's not going to be easy, too. We're going to make it as tough as possible for them."
That's what they say.