Tag Archives: New York Mets

Rajai Davis has a great walk-off history

New Mets outfielder Rajai Davis is best known for his game-tying home run against Aroldis Chapman in Game 7 of the World Series. But he’s got a pretty good walk-off history too.

Davis has nine walk-off RBIs, which is pretty good considering that he doesn’t even have 400 RBIs for his career.

Among the highlights:

– Davis has two career walk-off triples. Walk-off triples are hard to hit. They don’t typically happen because the circumstances around walk-offs don’t usually lend themselves to triple hitting (the official scorer will likely award a double in circumstances in which it’s a close call).

There were none in the majors last season. The Mets have one in their history (by Cleon Jones). Davis has more than the Mets do (this will probably be an SNY trivia question in some fashion next year, be ready!).

Baseball-Reference has data back to 1925. In that time, only two players have more walk-off triples than Davis: Joe DiMaggio and Connie Ryan (3 each).

– Remember the day the Mets lost to the Marlins, 2-1 in 20 innings? That was June 8, 2013. Davis does. He had a walk-off hit in the 18th inning of a 4-3 win against the Rangers that day too.

The Mets have three walk-off wins of 18 innings in their history, but only one 18th-inning walk-off hit. Funny coincidence, it was by Cleon Jones (1972 against the Phillies – a single).

– The coolest of Davis’ walk-off hits was a grand slam against Sean Doolittle of the Athletics on June 30, 2014. The Tigers trailed the Athletics 4-1 but loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Fellow future Met Austin Jackson was the last of the three to reach base, walking after a nine-pitch at-bat.

Davis hit the second pitch, a curveball, out to left field as the fans at Comerica Park went bonkers. Many were in attendance to see a ceremony honoring the 30th anniversary of the 1984 champion Tigers. Those who stuck around to the end (and I read an article that said many left) got a heck of a finish.

After the game, Davis was asked if he could remember his last walk-off. He told reporters that “It was in my dreams when I was sleeping.”

Sounds like a walk-off fan’s delight.

And for the record, the Mets have eight walk-off grand slams in their history, the most recent by Jose Bautista last season. But they’ve never hit one when down by three.

Mahomes sweet Mahomes

Ok, so let’s stick with the Mets theme for another post.

We’re coming up on an NFL Sunday, which means we’re going to be treated to another week of the high-flying offense of the Kansas City Chiefs, whose quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was photographed wearing his father’s Mets Jersey upon entering a stadium. It’s well known that Mahomes is the son of a former major league pitcher, though quite frankly Pat Mahomes wasn’t that good. He had a 5.47 ERA in a little more than 700 innings, spread out over 11 games.

But since we were talking most clutch Mets the other day, let’s talk about Mahomes as relates to that. He had a little clutch in him.

Best Win Pct – Mets History
Pat Mahomes .813 (13-3)
Jerry Blevins .778 (14-4)
Terry Leach .727 (24-9)
* Minimum 15 decisions

Mahomes was on the 1999 and 2000 Mets, good teams to be on. His role was as long reliever and the guy who could come in when the Mets were losing to hold the opponent at bay. As such, he got to pitch in some highly notable games.

If you ask Bobby Valentine, he’ll tell you that wearing the fake mustache in the dugout after getting ejected was well worth it, because the Mets came back and won the game against the Blue Jays that night. Mahomes was the winning pitcher with three innings of scoreless relief.

He also pitched a scoreless 9th inning on July 10, 1999, with the Mets trailing the Yankees by a run in a game that featured six Yankees home runs. Matt Franco’s pinch-hit two-run single in the bottom of the ninth made Mahomes the winning pitcher.

Mahomes also pitched four scoreless innings in relief of Al Leiter in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS against the Braves. This came after escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning of a tied Game 5, one eventually won on Robin Ventura’s grand slam single (I remember liking Mahomes for staying on the mound to wish the pitcher who replaced him good luck). Mahomes’ effort would have been much more highly regarded had the Mets completed the comeback from five runs down and beaten the Braves in Game 6, then won Game 7 (Kenny Rogers ensured that wouldn’t happen).

But the best Mahomes clutch story comes from August 1 and a game against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. The Mets had a one-run lead in the ninth, but Henry Rodriguez homered against Armando Benitez to tie the score. Edgardo Alfonzo put the Mets back ahead in the 10th, but a John Olerud error allowed the tying run to score (that John Olerud made an error in a key spot is unfathomable to me).

By the 12th inning, the Mets had used five relievers and this wasn’t a time when teams carried 12 or 13 pitchers, so they were a bit short. Mahomes hadn’t pitched, but there was good reason. Two days before he pitched 4 2/3 innings in another win over the Cubs. Alas Valentine called on Mahomes to get the last out of the 12th, Sammy Sosa. Sosa grounded out.

In the Mets’ 13th, Roger Cedeno led off with a double, but was on the way to being stranded after Todd Pratt lined out and Rey Ordonez popped out. Cubs pitcher Scott Sanders intentionally walked Benny Agbayani, bringing up Mahomes, who was basically left to win his own game. On an 0-2 pitch, he lined a single to center, plating Cedeno with the go-ahead run.

“Just trying to make contact,” Mahomes told the media afterwards (the standard quote for a pitcher who gets a two-strike hit).

Now Mahomes had to finish his work on the mound. Amazingly, he retired the first two batters before giving a double to Sanders, who did his best to enact revenge. But Mahomes recovered to get Jeff Reed to strike out and end one of the weirdest games in Mets history.

Mahomes went 8-0 that season, in fact dating to 1996, and ending in 2000, Mahomes won 12 straight games. That will be a tough accomplishment for his son to duplicate. But it should be fun to watch him try these next few years.

Mahomes Minutiae
– This is the only time in club history that a Mets pitcher got a go-ahead RBI in extra innings. Mets legend Neil Allen had a go-ahead reached on error in the 12th inning of a game against the Astros in 1982 (for those unfamiliar, Allen is my all-time favorite baseball player).

– Pitch by pitch data isn’t pristine for 1999, but within the data that Baseball-Reference has, pitchers hit .050 when the count was 0-2 that season (48-for-967). Mets pitchers fared a little better. They hit .123.

– Patrick Mahomes was born on September 17, 1995 (a Sunday of course, and the the 9th anniversary of the 1986 division clincher). Pat Mahomes pitched the next day, getting the save after a 3 1/3 inning scoreless effort in a 10-4 win over … Kansas City (aka the Royals, but I like the KC connection).

One last David Wright walk-off

Back in the day (circa 2005), I had a blog in which I would share Mets statistical minutiae and stories, with the primary hook relating to their hundreds of walk-off wins. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done in my life and I learned a heck of a lot about Mets history in the process.

So I figured I’d return to my roots and catalog David Wright’s collection of walk-offs and share some fun stats I dug up to pay proper tribute to his legacy.

No.1, April 9, 2006 vs Marlins (sacrifice fly)
David Wright got off to a good start in 2006, one that foreshadowed a season that would match the previous one in superstardowm (.311/.381/.531 with 26 HR, 20 SB and 116 RBI). It also foreshadowed a great season for walk-off moments.

The first was this one, set up by his two-run game-tying triple in the seventh inning off Mets nemesis Dontrelle Willis. After Billy Wagner escaped trouble in a 2-2 game in the top of the ninth, Wright followed a walk by Carlos Beltran and a single by Carlos Delgado, with a sacrifice fly to right field.

It gave the Mets a win and earned Wright the title of “young superstar” from teammate Paul Lo Duca.

Wright’s best line that day regarding his triple – “If I had Jose Reyes speed, I’d be thinking inside-the-park homer. But with David Wright speed, I’m thinking triple.”

The Wrighteous Mets fan knows that: David Wright’s 65 sacrifice flies are the most in Mets history. Wright hit .415 with a runner on third and less than 2 outs, a BA partly enhanced by those 65 sac flies not counting. But even if they did, he still hit .348. The MLB batting average this season, if sac flies counted as AB, is .270.

No. 2, May 5, 2006 vs Braves (double)
This was definitely the kind of win that made you think the 2006 Mets were going to win the whole thing. First they rallied from 6-2 down in the seventh inning against the bazillion-time defending division champions, tying the game on Kazuo Matsui’s clutch single. Then they tied it again in the 11th inning on Cliff Floyd’s home run.

It took until the 14th to win it, after the Braves stranded Chipper Jones at second base in the visitor’s half. A Carlos Beltran walk set things up for Wright with two outs. He clubbed a ground-rule double to center, scoring Beltran from second.

“We are not going to roll over,” Wright told reporters afterwards.

The Mets fan with Wright of way knows that: David Wright’s 9 walk-off RBIs rank 2nd to Wilmer Flores (10). His 8 walk-off hits are the most in Mets history.

No. 3, May 19, 2006 vs Yankees (single)
This was such a fun game.

The Yankees took a 4-0 lead in the first inning, but the Mets answered with Carlos Beltran’s three-run home run against Randy Johnson in the bottom of the frame. They’d end up tying the game at five in the third inning on Xavier Nady’s homer.

The Yankees took the lead again in the fourth and the Mets tied it right back on Kaz Matsui’s hit in the fifth. The score stayed tied until the ninth thanks to three outstanding innings from Aaron Heilman. After Billy Wagner struck out Alex Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and Kelly Stinnett in the top of the ninth, the Mets won it in the bottom.

Paul Lo Duca’s one-out double and an intentional walk to Carlos Delgado set Wright up with two outs. On a 2-2 pitch, he hit a bolt over Johnny Damon’s head in center field, bringing in Lo Duca with the winning run.

“Not many guys do that against Mariano,” manager Willie Randolph. “He’s the best.”

When you’re Wright, you’re right and you know that … David Wright had 50 hits in the 7th inning or later that tied the game or put the Mets in the lead. His most against a pitcher was 3 – against Mariano Rivera.

No. 4: May 29, 2006 vs Diamondbacks (single)
Another really exciting game, one in which the Mets had to rally from a 7-6 deficit after building an early 4-1 lead. This time, Aaron Heilman wasn’t good, giving up a go-ahead three-run home run to Chad Tracy in the seventh inning.

The Mets were down a run entering the home ninth against Jose Valverde, but this was of no matter. It took two batters – an Endy Chavez double and Jose Reyes single – to tie the game. Wright got his chance after a rare failure by Carlos Delgado, a strikeout with the bases loaded. On Valverde’s first pitch, Wright singled to center, winning the game.

“The big thing is to relax,” Wright said. “Don’t get caught up in the moment. You have to want to be up there with the game on the line.”

It’s all Wright for Mets fans to know that: David Wright’s 4 walk-off RBI in 2006 are 1 shy of the Mets record for walk-off RBI in a season. George Foster had 5 in 1983.

No. 5: June 23, 2007 vs Athletics (single)
This was the opposite of the last couple of Wright walk-offs, a pitcher’s duel between Orlando Hernandez and Joe Blanton. The Mets best scoring threat in the sixth inning ended with Ricky Ledee being thrown out at the plate.

The Diamondbacks left the go-ahead run on second base in the ninth inning against Billy Wagner when Marco Scutaro and Travis Buck couldn’t bring him in.
The Mets brought in the winning run in the home ninth. Ramon Castro led off with a double and Carlos Beltran was then intentionally walked. Wright then blooped one to shallow right that Travis Buck dove for and missed. Castro (who wasn’t pinch-run for because Paul Lo Duca had been ejected earlier in the game) scored the winning run.

All Wright long, you know that: David Wright shares a December 20 birthday with 2 other notable New York baseball players – Fred Merkle (of the famous “Merkle’s Boner” blunder in 1908) and admirably-coiffed Oscar Gamble.

No. 6, April 29, 2008 vs Pirates
Against a Pirates team whose lineup featured both Jason Bay (LF) and Jose Bautista (3B), the Mets tried to give away a game, but failed. They had a 4-2 lead entering the eighth inning and the Pirates tied it with a run in the eighth and a run in the ninth.

It took until the 11th for the Mets to snatch this one, helped by a balk that moved Endy Chavez to second base. An intentional walk and a traditional walk followed and Wright hit the first pitch in the air down the right field line. When it landed just fair, the Mets were 5-4 winners.

It’s so Wright that … David Wright presently has 50.4 WAR (Baseball-Reference version). The other position player with 50.4 WAR is a 1940s star named Bob Elliott, who won an MVP for the Boston Braves in 1948. Elliott’s nickname could easily have been Wright’s nickname – “Mr. Team.”

No. 7, August 7, 2008 vs Padres (home run)
David Wright’s only walk-off home run came in this game against the Padres and former teammate, Heath Bell. It came after Jody Gerut tied the game with a ninth-inning home run against Scott Schoeneweis, who was subbing for injured closer Billy Wagner.

The home run hit off the retired number area in left, right between No. 41 (Tom Seaver) and No. 42 (Jackie Robinson). The most impressive thing about it was the height of the pitch. Wright looked like he made contact just above his ankles.

“I’m always celebrating everybody else’s,” Wright told reporters, referring to walk-off home runs. “But to be the one that jumps into the pile at home plate is pretty fun.”

The Wright answer is to know that … Baseball is hard. If you add the Wins Above Replacement totals of the players other than David Wright who were drafted from the 6th pick in the first round through the end of the first round (44th pick), they barely average 1 WAR per player. Wright has 50.4 WAR

No. 8, July 5, 2012 vs Phillies (single)
I have an affinity for the hit to tie, hit to win victories, as well as 6-5 walk-offs (see 1986 World Series, Game 6) so this one has a special place in walk-off annals for me.

That final score was achieved in a challenging fashion. A pitching matchup between Cole Hamels and R.A. Dickey led to a surprising number of runs and the Phillies handed a 5-4 lead to their closer, Jonathan Papelbon (who I nicknamed “Cobra Kai” because he struck me as villainous). Papelbon retired two of the first three, producing a scenario of man on third with two outs.

The next two at-bats were epic. Papelbon hit pinch-hitter Jordany Valdespin on a 3-2 pitch, then walked Ruben Tejada on another 3-2 pitch (the eighth pitch of the at-bat) to load the bases.

That brought Daniel Murphy, who hit a single off Papelbon’s foot to tie the game. Wright got jammed on the next pitch and hit a bloop to right field that Hunter Pence dove for and missed by about a foot, giving the Mets a comeback win.

“Our M.O. is we grind out games,” Wright said afterwards. “We don’t hit for much power, we don’t steal a lot of bases, but were grinders. We play the game to the last out

True David Wright fans know that … David Wright hit .300 in his first pro season – with Kingsport of the Appalachian League in 2001. That’s only four points off his career MLB batting average of .296.

No. 9, May 21, 2016 vs Brewers (single)
The last David Wright walk-off was a comeback effort that helped bail out a poor Jacob deGrom start (!) (5 innings, 4 runs). The Mets rallied from 4-1 down helped by a bullpen that pitched four scoreless innings and a two-run game-tying home run by Yoenis Cespedes.

Things stayed even until the ninth inning when Eric Campbell reached on an infield single, Kevin Plawecki walked, Matt Reynold’s sacrificed, and after an intentional walk to Curtis Granderson, Wright hit a line single on a 3-0 pitch to bring in the winning run.

“That is the guy we want up there,” Mets manager Terry Collins said.

It was your classic Wright hit, an opposite-field rocket line drive that was one of his trademarks in his Mets career.

A good way to go out on the walk-off front, unless he cares to share one more with us.

When you’re Wright, you’re Wright and you know that … Leaders in OPS+ among 3rd basemen who played at least 1,500 games: 1. Mike Schmidt (147), 2. Eddie Mathews (143), 3. Chipper Jones (141), 4. George Brett (135), 5. Home Run Baker (135), 6. David Wright (133).