Work in Sports
Down 0-2, Mets try to regroup against Yankees
NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets began preparing for Game 3 of the World Series while still dwelling on the first two games.
They talked about bad breaks, their own blunders, and a shattered bat that Roger Clemens threw in the direction of Mike Piazza.
But that won't change the 0-2 deficit they face against the New York Yankees in the best-of-seven series.
"A lot of teams that lose think they got the bad end of the breaks," first baseman Todd Zeile said Monday. "That's a loser's mentality. You make your own breaks. That's what the Yankees do and that's why they've won 14 straight World Series games. It's not all luck."
Although, the Mets will probably need some of it to win four of the next five games against the two-time defending World Series champions, starting with Tuesday night's Game 3.
The Yankees have not only won the record 14 straight World Series games, but have won 27 of their last 32 postseason games.
"I don't believe anybody in here is giving up," said outfielder Jay Payton, whose three-run homer in the ninth inning off Mariano Rivera brought the Mets within one run Sunday night. "We have a good chance to come back and win this thing if we play our type of baseball.
"We're down 2-0, but we're back at home."
That might be the best news of all for the Mets. They went 55-25 at Shea Stadium this season -- the best home record in baseball -- and have won eight of 10 at home the past two postseasons.
They need to win at least two of three games at Shea to send the Series back to Yankee Stadium and a Game 6 rematch against Clemens.
"He's not going to be pitching," reliever John Franco said of Clemens, Public Enemy No. 1 in the Mets clubhouse. "We have to forget about that. It's over with. There's nothing we can do about it. We have to go out and hit, pitch and play the type of game that got us to the World Series."
First, they have to harness their anger. They hadn't quite done that when they arrived at the ballpark for Monday's workout.
Backup catcher Todd Pratt screamed in anger when he saw a backpage story in the New York Post criticizing the Mets for not beating up Clemens.
"What were we supposed to do to Clemens? Jump him and dog pile him?" Pratt said. "Fighting doesn't belong in baseball. It isn't a hockey game. The only thing you can do is hit his fastball. When he's throwing it at 99 (mph) and a splitter at 92, he's unhittable."
The Mets haven't done much hitting at all so far, scoring in only two of 21 innings.
"We have to get back to playing small ball," Zeile said. "That's the approach we've had all year."
The Mets have looked nothing like the team that eliminated San Francisco in four games and St. Louis in five to reach the World Series for the first time since 1986.
Only four Mets had been to the Series before and the team is showing its inexperience.
"We haven't played the kind of baseball we have to play to win a championship," said Game 1 starter Al Leiter, one of the few Mets with World Series experience. "Is it because we're in the World Series? I don't know."
Their blunders on the basepaths cost them at least one run in Game 1 when Timo Perez and Zeile did not run hard on Zeile's double off the top of the left-field wall.
Then closer Armando Benitez couldn't hold a lead in the ninth inning and the Mets lost in 12.
On Sunday, they made three embarrassing errors in the field and starter Mike Hampton couldn't throw strikes.
At the plate, they were so concerned with getting retribution after Clemens' bizarre confrontation with Piazza, that they altered their approach.
"We were so mad at him that we were trying to swing too hard and knock him down with every hit," designated hitter Lenny Harris said. "We got away from our game plan and didn't get back to it until he left the game. Maybe that was his plan."
Well, the Mets need a new plan before Game 3 when they face the Yankees' October ace, Orlando Hernandez, who is 8-0 in the postseason.
"With a little good fortune, it could have been a different series," Piazza said. "Obviously, it's not. So that's the most frustrating thing of all."