Oakland Athletics right fielder Conner Capel tries to make a sliding catch as the New York Mets Mark Vientos ends up with an RBI single in the top of the second inning at the Oakland Coliseum on Fri Sep 23, 2022 (AP News photo)
New York (NL) (96-56). 9. 13. 0
Oakland (55-96). 2. 6. 0
Friday, September 23, 2022
By Lewis Rubman
OAKLAND–The playoff bound New York Mets, occupying first place in the NL-East, came into existence 60 years ago as a result of a successful franchise leaving town because its host city wouldn’t underwrite the demands of a rapacious owner for a new ball park.
Only two seasons had passed since the Brooklyn Dodgers won their first World Series championship-and one season since they went seven games against the Yankees in the next Series that the borough’s belovèd Bums packed their duffle bags and moved to Los Angeles, cajoling the New York Giants, who had swept Cleveland in the 1954 October classic, to go west with them.
Big league baseball expanded for the first time in the 20th century when, fearing Branch Rickey’s threat to create a rival circuit, the Continental League, it admitted the New York Mets and Houston Colt 45s to the senior circuit.
The two new teams began playing in 1962, with the New York franchise being a laughing stock until the 1969 Miracle Mets defeated the Orioles 4-1 in the 1969 World Series.
That’s not the only thing about the Mets that will resonate among followers of east bay baseball. A quick glance at tonight’s New York’s lineup reveals Mark Canha and starting pitcher Chris Bassitt.
The visitors’ batting coach is Eric Chavez, who was welcomed to the Athletics Hall of Fame before the game. Starling Marte currently is on the Mets’ injured list. But that’s not all, folks. The Mets’ color commentator is Ron Darling.
The personnel of the visiting team wasn’t all that was familiar to the Oakland fans. Their team was massacred, 9-2, by the marauding Mets.
Earlier in the day, the A’s announced that they had claimed infielder Ernie Clement off the waiver wire from Cleveland and recalled reliever Sam Selman from Las Vegas. Concomitantly they placed Joel Payamps on the 15 day IL, sidelining him for the rest of the season.
Bassitt went 30-24, 3.44 for the A’s over seven years starting in 2015. The Mets got him from Oakland this year in exchange for two other right handed pitchers JT Ginn and Adam Oller. The 33 year old Bassitt entered tonight’s contest sporting a record of 14-8, 3.32.
He was in fine fettle tonight, coasting through eight innings and allowing only two runs on six hits, one a round tripper, a walk, and a wild pitch. He struck out two batters and threw 91 pitches, 56 counting as strikes, on the way to his 15th win against eight defeats and lowering his ERA to 3.27.
Cole Irvin, the left hander who started for the A’s tonight had won his last two starts and was 9-11, 3.79 when he threw the game’s first pitch at 6:41.
His performance this evening consisted of 77 pitches, 54 of which counted as strikes, that he squeezed into 4-2/3 innings in which the Mets got to him for eight runs, all earned, on 11 hits, one a four run four bagger. Needless to say, he was the losing pitcher, falling to 9-12, 4.11.
The Coliseum was filled with chants of “Let’s Go, Mets” when they loaded the bases with one away in the top of the second on singles by Pete Alonso, ex-Giant Darin Ruf and Jeff McNeil.
DH Mark Vientos obliged the chanters by plopping a Texas League single to right that brought in Alonso, and Brandon Nimmo followed with a well hit single to center that plated Ruf and McNeil, putting the visitors up, 3-0.
Irvin kept the Mets in check through the fourth but Nimmo opened the fifth with a sharp single to right and Canha drove a two bagger off the center field wall at the 400 foot sign. After Francisco Lindor flew out to shallow right, the A’s southpaw granted Pete Alonso an intentional walk that clogged the basepaths.
Ruff hit a fly to medium deep right; Nimmo started for home, but Conner Capel’s strong throw stopped him in his tracks. Irvin’s first pitch to Edouardo Esobar was a hanging curve that ended up 379 feet from home, a grand slam to left field that gave the Mets a 7-0 cushion that they padded after McNeil’s single to left when Mark Vientos cleared the air with a double to right center that drove in McNeil with New York’s eighth tally.
That was the end of the line for Irvin. Collin Wiles came in to quell the uprising by whiffing McCann on three pitches.
Wiles pitched a perfect sixth but faltered in the seventh. The Mets had been hit by a record setting 108 pitches this year. Wiles made that 109 by plunking Ruf with one down.
Escobar forced Ruf out at second and then scored the boys from Queens ninth run on McNeill’s double to left center. (As you might expect, Canha, the human dartboard, leads the team in being hit; his total is 24).
Oakland finally put a run on the board after the 18,107 fans in attendance had raised their voices to sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Sean Murphy sent a leadoff double to left, and Seth Brown gained a pyrrhic victory over The Curse by driving him home.
Dermís García got under Bassitt’s skin and over the left field wall, driving an 89mph sinker 426 feet from home for Oakland’s second run and fifth hit. It was García’s fifth dinger and 18th RBI in 82 at bats.
Drew Smith executed the formality of retiring the A’s in order in the bottom of the ninth.
Ken Waldichuk (0-2, 7.13) will go against Jacob deGrom (5-2, 2.32) at 1:07 tomorrow afternoon. That’s a scary proposition for both hurlers because Angel Hernández is scheduled to be the home plate umpire. The batters won’t be that happy with the situation, either.