We ran through Pedro Martinez's success against the Mets earlier today, and his accolades are well deserved. But the Mets did fairly well against the three other players elected Tuesday, and we thought that was worth noting as they are saluted on their special day.
Smoltz has a lot of connections to the Mets, a team he went 5-13 against for his career. He earned his first career win against them on July 23, 1988, a 6-1 victory over Bob Ojeda. Smoltz held a Mets lineup that included Lenny Dykstra, Darryl Strawberry and Gary Carter to one run and two hits over eight innings.
John Smoltz vs. Mets
Most will think Smoltz’s best-pitched game was either his Game 7 win against the Pirates in the 1991 NLCS or his epic duel with Jack Morris in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series.
But statistically, the game that ranks best by Bill James Game Score (a statistical measure that rates starts, with most rating from 0 to 100) was one against the Mets on Sept. 6, 1998, a three-hit, 12-strikeout shutout. I was there in the stands that night, and it remains the best-pitched game I’ve seen someone have against the Mets in person in my 33 seasons of watching. He was admittedly helped by a wide plate (the teams combined to strike out looking 13 times), but he was dominant.
The two games perhaps better remembered by Mets fans are Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS, when Smoltz came out of the bullpen and was tagged for a dramatic game-tying home run in the seventh inning by Mike Piazza, and his start on April 10, 2005, when he struck out 15 in 7 1/3 innings in a pitchers' duel with Pedro, losing when he gave up a two-run home run to Carlos Beltran in the eighth.
Smoltz does get the Mets on one thing: In the regular season, he was 24 of 24 in save chances against them. That’s the most career saves for any pitcher who never blew a save chance against the Mets.
The Mets had Randy Johnson’s number. He won 303 games in his career, but went 6-7 against the Mets. The Mets are one of three teams against whom he had a losing record, the others being the Yankees (6-8) and the Rays (3-5).
Randy Johnson vs. Mets
One reason for Johnson’s struggles against the Mets was his issues with hitters like Joe McEwing.
McEwing went 8-for-26 against Johnson in his Mets career (.308 batting average), including 4-for-6 with three doubles and a home run in 2000. Two of the doubles (including one in a 12-pitch at-bat) and a home run came in a memorable Mets win on May 21, 2000 (Elias notes he's the only player to have three extra-base hits in a game against Johnson). Another non-star with success against Johnson was Dae-Sung Koo, a relief pitcher who after a mortifying first major league at-bat (in which he basically swung while stepping out of the batter's box), doubled against Johnson.
Johnson did have a few pretty dominant games in those six wins. He pitched a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts against them in 2002 and struck out 14 in 8 1/3 scoreless innings in a win in 2004.
There is one game Johnson would probably like to have back. In Game 1 of the 1999 NLDS, Johnson was charged with seven runs and took the loss when Edgardo Alfonzo hit a go-ahead grand slam against Diamondbacks reliever Bobby Chouinard in the ninth inning. The Mets would win the series in four games.
Biggio grew up in Smithtown, New York, about 40 miles from Shea Stadium, but the Mets handled him pretty well. He hit .250 with a .711 OPS in roughly a full season's worth of games against them (163). That was his lowest OPS against any NL team.
Craig Biggio vs. Mets
One Biggio moment that stands out came on July 14, 1996, in the first game of a doubleheader between the Mets and Astros at Shea. He doubled in the third inning, but was thrown out trying to advance to third base on a fly ball to right field, when Alex Ochoa made an amazing on-the-fly throw to nail him (a play memorable enough that Mets announcer Gary Cohen included it on his highlight reel during a public appearance not long afterward). Mets manager Dallas Green described the throw as Clemente-like and that’s what it took to get Biggio, who stole 414 bases in his career.
But there were good moments, too.
Biggio ranks fifth all time in doubles with 668 and the first of those came against the Mets at Shea Stadium on July 1, 1988. He also tagged the Mets for the third and final walk-off home run of his career, beating Jerrod Riggan with a 10th-inning shot on July 31, 2001.