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No-Hit Mets Lose an Away Game at Citi Field as Giants Fans Rule the Roost

first_imgCiti Field’s between innings distractions did seem lamer than usual. Trivial contests blared from the big screen in center field, featuring the bogus and the bored. We saw a kid out-stack plastic cups faster than a Mets shortstop; we watched another fan ride a stationary bike slower than our centerfielder. At one point, Triple Crown-winning jockey Victor Espinosa came into view larger than life to urge us all to yell, “Let’s go, Mets!” Obviously he’d recorded his appearance long before the game. As far as I could tell, he drew some half-hearted cheers, but more out of respect for his historic Belmont Stakes ride than anything going on in this Queens ballpark.You could say the kiss-cam was the hottest action of the night. But that would be unfair, really, because players on both teams made some outstanding plays. Great leaping catches. Some heads-up double plays, such as when Mets’ second baseman Ruben Tejada snagged a line drive, swirled and tagged out a Giant base-runner caught between first and second for a double play.And let us note that the Mets did win a challenge at first base. We all could see that Lucas Duda did indeed have his toe barely touching the bag when the throw came in. We started shouting in unison, “Out! Out! Out!” We yelled, “Challenge!” And, dutiful manager that he is, Collins emerged from the dugout and told the umps he wanted a do-over. Surprisingly, for once he was rewarded—the call was reversed!But that was the only time anything Collins tried worked out. He did pull an interesting stunt late in the game, making a meaningless pitching change just to keep Heston on first base longer so he might cool off. Yes, in this game, even the Giants pitcher had gotten a hit (two, in fact).The Mets’ hapless Dillon Gee had just come in to relieve Syndergaard. He had essentially thrown batting practice for the Giants—giving up a whopping home run that bounced off the Pepsi Porch on the upper deck. When Collins replaced Gee, that move didn’t play out, either. Heston came back out on the mound even stronger.Meanwhile, across town, the Yankees were predictably beating the Washington Nationals, 6-1, giving the Mets a false sense of superiority by letting them share first place in their division with the equally mediocre Nats. Comparing official attendance figures is revealing: 23,155 people came to Citi Field but 36,613 showed up at Yankee Stadium.I don’t regret watching a no-hitter in person. How many times can you say that? Every out, every pitch, counted. Indeed, the mood of the people leaving Citi Field seemed remarkably upbeat for a Mets defeat. Maybe it really was a Giants’ hometown crowd and the Mets were the away team. That’s what I felt, anyway.Afterwards, at the Port Washington train station, I noticed three late-middle-aged ladies chatting happily as they slowly strolled down the platform toward the parking lot. They’d clearly been to Citi Field because one clutched a Mets paraphernalia bag—she hadn’t come from Macy’s. She gladly told me they’d all seen the Giants win, but they were actually Yankees supporters! She asked me if I was a Mets fan. I said, “I think so.”They laughed. For baseball fans it was a great night to enjoy the sport because the final result was so rare.As for this season, that Giants team certainly looks like a well-rounded winning machine. Wish I could say the same about mine. I go to Citi Field and see Bernie Madoff’s smiling face floating over right field. And when I drive home, I have to hear the unhappy recap broadcast on Rush Limbaugh’s radio station, WOR. I think Mets announcers Howie Rose and Josh Lewin deserve better. So do we all. View image | gettyimages.com View image | gettyimages.com Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]A[/dropcap]s Mets’ losses go, you could put this one in the history books. San Francisco Giants rookie pitcher Chris Heston (who dat?) won his 13th start in the Major Leagues with a stellar performance that had fans at Citi Field, despite their conflicted loyalty, actually rooting him on in the ninth inning, standing up and clapping in anticipation for that final strike.In all, three Mets players got hit, but none got a hit. The last time they’d been “no-hit” was 1993.The night started off strangely in Queens because the attendance was sparse and those in the stands with any energy seemed to be San Francisco fans. And yet here was a battle between two National League teams leading their respective divisions, both in first place, the Mets in the East, the Giants in the West. But those on hand with any demonstrable enthusiasm really seemed to be wearing the Giants’ tell-tale orange. Was it because they’d won the World Series last year?At one point in the game, with the Giants up 4-zip, an elderly man wearing an orange and blue Mets jacket got up in my row to leave, and with hardly any prompting, said in his New York accent, “I’m rooting for the Giants! I can’t stand the Mets management. Look at that infield. They’ve got guys playing positions they’ve hardly played before. And their hitters are terrible. It’s all because of Madoff.”We nodded in agreement. It’s not a good sign when the Mets player with the best average is the pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, who came in with a fearsome .400—more than a hundred points than his nearest teammate. By the time he was pulled, his average had sunk to .350. And the poor Mets catcher Anthony Recker finished the game getting plunked and seeing his average sink to .150. How did the lineup get so thin and their hitting get so anemic? Unlike some fans, I don’t blame General Manager Sandy Alderson and Manager Terry Collins. I believe they’re working with the best they’ve got.But I don’t let the Mets ownership off the hook for putting this “product” on the field. Certainly, Fred Wilpon and his Sterling Equities dodged a bullet after Bernie Madoff’s millions went up in smoke. Instead of facing SEC litigation, they were able to hold onto the team they’d acquired from Nelson Doubleday in 2002. These were the kinds of thoughts racing through my head as I watched Tuesday night’s game unfold with a mixture of anger and awe.The 27-year-old Heston was reportedly just a “stopgap starter”—the Giants best-known aces are still to come—but despite his 4.29 ERA he was masterful, flummoxing Mets’ batters with devilish pitches down and in and down and away. His change-up and his sinker were, apparently, unhittable. Occasionally our guys would think they’d worked out four balls and would start toward first base only to be punched out by the plate umpire and sent to the dugout. Heston actually walked no one. Also to his credit, he threw the first no-hitter of the 2015 Major League season.But we Mets fans on hand didn’t begin to appreciate his progress or his prowess until the seventh inning when we foolishly still clung to false hope.last_img read more

Jerry Bower, 73

first_imgJerry Bower, 73 passed away on Sunday, March 22, 2020 at the Hospice Inpatient Facility in Columbus. Jerry was born on July 23, 1946 in Decatur County, the son of John and Florine (Clark) Bower. He married Donna Jones on June 7, 1969 and she survives.Other survivors include his son Michael Bower of Greensburg, his sister Judy Robbins of Greensburg, his grandchildren Sean Bower, Bryce Bower and Myka Bower, his great granddaughter, his sister-in-law France Bower, his brother-in-law Allan (Anita) Jones, his mother-in-law Doris Jones and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter Shannon Bower and his brother Ora Bower.In high school, Jerry was named Most Valuable Football Player his senior year. After graduation, Jerry proudly served his country in the US Army from 1966-1968 and attended Barber School. He was a Barber for more than 40 years. He also worked as a custodian at St. Mary’s School. When his children were young, he was a youth football coach and a youth girls’ softball coach. He loved working in his vegetable garden, fishing, hunting and being around people.A graveside service will be held for the family on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 10am at the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery with Glenn Tebbe officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to his wife Donna. Online condolences may be made to the family at www.gilliland-howe.com.last_img read more

Dodgers might only need to replace injured Hyun-Jin Ryu twice in April

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. >> As the Dodgers awaited the results of an MRI exam on Hyun-Jin Ryu’s left shoulder, manager Don Mattingly provided clarity Monday about how often he’ll actually need five starting pitchers in April.In short: Not often.Because of some early off days, the Dodgers wouldn’t need Ryu until April 13 or 14 against the Seattle Mariners at home, then again April 23 or 24 in San Francisco, Mattingly said. That rules out the left-hander for a minimum of one start, since he’ll begin the season on the 15-day disabled list.It also rules out left-hander Erik Bedard from making one or two starts, depending on his recovery from a strained left teres major muscle. “(Bedard) said he’d had (the injury) before and it was like three weeks,” Mattingly said, “but I knew (Clayton) Kershaw was longer than that.”The strained teres major, a muscle near the armpit, seemed to be a contagious disease among Dodgers pitchers last year. Kershaw missed all of April 2014 because of it. Brandon League was shut down early in last year’s camp for a few weeks, and Paco Rodriguez spent 40 days on the disabled list between August and September.That doesn’t bode well for Bedard, who was bidding for a spot starter’s role before he felt something in his back Friday.It helps the cause of non-roster invitees Chad Gaudin and David Huff, both of whom went through a normal routine Monday. They’re essentially competing with Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias for a chance to start two games in April.Tommy John updates Dodgers pitchers Chris Withrow and Ross Stripling have been progressing slowly but surely in their returns from Tommy John elbow surgeries last year.Withrow (on the 60-day DL) played catch from 70 feet Monday and expects to be throwing up to 80 feet by the end of the week. He’s throwing every other day and has not experienced any setbacks so far in camp.Stripling (who isn’t on the 40-man roster) is rehabbing in the Dodgers’ minor-league camp and said he’ll throw his first live bullpen session in eight days — one year to the day after his surgery.“I’ll probably throw three weeks’ worth of those,” Stripling said. “I’ll mix in an extended spring training game at the end of April, early May, then from there it’s just build up to the 85, 100 pitches. I’m kind of looking to join an affiliate around June 1.”Withrow had his surgery June 3, Stripling on April 2.McCarthy sharpBrandon McCarthy sounded upbeat after throwing 75 pitches over five scoreless innings in a Triple-A game at Camelback Ranch. The right-hander elected to avoid the Dodgers’ major-league game against his former team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in favor of the more “controlled” setting of the minor-league fields.It was no coincidence that he skipped a chance at seeing a divisional opponent. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks will play 19 times during the regular season.“It just kind of worked out, getting at least one (game) in the minor leagues because I can work at my own pace, feel the things I need to feel,” McCarthy said. “Two, it worked right there where I get to build up; that 75-pitch, 80-pitch outing is a big one. You want to make sure you get to that threshold and get your ups and downs. It’s controlled. And it’s missing a division opponent. This is a perfect one where if I’m going to skip one, let’s do this. That way I can go into my next one and be ready to go.”Five days after he was shelled for six runs in four innings against the Cubs, McCarthy said he was pleased by his latest results. “I was working on pace, delivery, rhythm,” he said. “I got that out of that and felt really strong.”AlsoThe Dodgers optioned left-hander Daniel Coulombe to their minor-league camp after the game. They have 40 players on their major-league camp roster. … The Dodgers have an off day today and will use an assortment of relief pitchers to complete a “bullpen game” Wednesday against San Diego. … Angels pitcher Garrett Richards threw four hitless innings in a Triple-A rehab game. He will begin the season on the DL in order to build up arm strength as he recovers from season-ending knee surgery. … Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano, a candidate for the open fifth starter’s job, will start against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Left-hander Hector Santiago will start a “B” game that day.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Lakers dive into video to fish out lessons from season-opening loss

first_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Rondo, Vogel said, is likely closer to a return after missing the last three preseason games and the opener with calf soreness. Vogel felt the Clippers game showed the need for Rondo’s playmaking when James was off the floor. While Quinn Cook took up some back-up ball-handling duties, James was the chief playmaker for his 36-minute stint.“I envision Rajon Rondo being a major player for us this year – a 25-30-minute-a-game guy, whether he starts or comes off the bench,” Vogel said. “So that naturally will lighten the load.”Vogel said in the meantime, he envisions having either James or Davis on the floor at all times. Kuzma’s return as a scorer could change that aim, as could Rondo’s return as a ball-handler. Until then, staggering his stars will be a priority.“I think when Rajon comes back, we’ll have the mindset that he can quarterback the offense with anybody that’s out there,” he said. “But for last night, I wanted to try to have one of those guys out there as much as possible.”Point guard Alex Caruso was available but did not play in the opener. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error EL SEGUNDO — On Tuesday, the Lakers finally played. On Wednesday, they finally learned.An afternoon walkthrough was the first chance the Lakers had to rummage through video of themselves playing an actual, full-48-minute NBA game. It was a little bit painful, they acknowledged, to sort through the 112-102 loss to the Clippers, but they found some constructive notes to center on.What they saw: Pick-and-roll coverage broke down after the second quarter. On offense, they got some looks they wanted, but the ball motion slowed later in the game, particularly side-to-side. The Lakers had trouble matching the effort of the Clippers, who roundly beat them in transition points (22-5) and bested them on the glass and on second-chance points (12-6).None of these were good things, veteran guard Avery Bradley said, but the upbeat takeaway is that these are fixable problems.center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years “Those are all things that we need to continue to learn, and it’s gonna take some time,” he said. “But I feel like everyone’s dedicated to making those adjustments so we can be the best team we can be.”HEALTH ISSUES INFLUENCE ROTATIONIt’s likely to be a few more games before the Lakers can be reasonably whole.Vogel ruled Kyle Kuzma out for Friday’s game against Utah, and with the third-year forward still in non-contact work as he recovers from a left foot stress reaction, he’s likely to miss more time. Kuzma participated in five-on-zero work with fellow teammates Rajon Rondo, Talen-Horton Tucker, Zach Norvell Jr. and Kostas Antetokounmpo after Wednesday’s practice, and needs time to progress.Related Articles AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I think it was a great learning experience for us,” he said. “It’s better now than later.”The day after the season opener carried significantly more optimism for the Lakers than the previous night. After expressing some frustration with the game plan execution in his Tuesday night press conference, Frank Vogel seemed more sure just a few hours later that his team was dogged by typical early-season issues. There were shortcomings, he said, but there were times when the Clippers simply made tough plays that the Lakers did not.“We had a game where we missed a lot of looks that we normally make,” he said. “We had a lot of possessions where we guarded well and didn’t get the payoff of the stop because they hit a tough shot.”The Lakers ended up dropping their own pick-and-roll attack, Vogel said, because they were struggling as the Clippers began to switch more on defense. That resulted in an especially high number of post attempts for Anthony Davis, who wound up with 25 points on 8-for-21 shooting. Vogel liked the matchup the Lakers had with Davis on the block, but he acknowledged that he’d like the ball, in general, to move more from side-to-side on the court.Of the many things the Lakers are learning, Bradley said, he believes attacking switches is one of the most difficult things to consistently execute. As they get more steeped in their playbooks, Bradley said, he believes the off-ball guards will be better at making cuts to create space for pick-and-roll runners, and that the Lakers will get better at finding ways to attack opposing post players with their guards.last_img read more