The 1982 New York Mets are a scrappy folk. Celebrating the Metropolitans’ 20th anniversary, Manager George Bamberger has them overachieving, only 6 games out of 1st with a 36-39 record going into a July 1st match-up with the 3rd place Montreal Expos at Stade Olympique.
Taking the mound for the Expos is Scott Sanderson, a 25-year-old, 6’5” right-hander, in his 5th year in the league and with the Expos. He has a quick 1st inning, with center fielder Mookie Wilson grounding out to short, 3rd baseman Bob Bailor flying out to left field, and catcher John Stearns popping out to 1st.
On the mound for the Mets is Mike Scott, the 27-year-old, 6’2” right-hander, in his 4th year in the league and with the Mets. It hasn’t exactly come together for the pitcher in his time in the Bigs, and things don’t exactly get off to the best start this Thursday. While he gets the 1st 2 batters, left fielder Tim Raines and 2nd baseman Frank Taveras, to fly out to center and ground out to short, respectively, he unfortunately walks 3rd baseman Tim Wallach. 1st baseman Al Oliver singles to left field, advancing Wallach to 2nd. Up walks Gary Carter, the perennial All-Star catcher for Montreal. He quickly makes it 1-0, Expos, by singling to left field, scoring Wallach. Scott gets out of the jam by getting right fielder Warren Cromartie to fly out to left.
Sanderson has a 1-2-3 2nd inning and gets the 1st 2 batters of the 3rd, 2nd baseman Wally Backman and shortstop Ron Gardenhire, to pop up to catcher and fly out to left field, respectively. Up walks Scott, who, out of nowhere, doubles to left. Mookie walks up and grounds one to the 3rd baseman. He sets up for the ball, but it goes right through his legs and into left field (lotta action for Raines in this inning.) Scott, who was running on contact, trucks around 3rd and heads home for the 1st Mets run. Mookie heads down to 2nd. Bailor walks to the plate looking to give the Mets the lead. Sanderson sets, pitches….and Bailor drives the ball up the middle for a single. Mookie turns 3rd and heads for home. The throw from center fielder Dan Norman is late, and the 2nd Mets run scores, giving them the lead. Bailor takes 2nd on the throw. Stearns then singles, sending Bailor over to 3rd, but, naturally, 1st baseman Dave Kingman strikes out, ending the Mets threat.
Handed the lead, Scott settles down and cruises through the game. The 8th arrives and he gets the 1st 2 batters, pinch hitter Mike Gates and Tim Wallach, to line out to left field and fly out to right field, respectively. Al Oliver singles, however, to extend the inning. Carter walks on up, and sends a ground ball to Bailor at 3rd. It goes through his legs, however, and Oliver makes it all the way to 3rd. That’s it for Scott, as Bamberger heads to the mound and calls on the lefty, Jesse Orosco, to hold the lead. The 1st and only batter he faces in the 8th, Warren Cromartie, grounds out to Kingman at 1st.
With no insurance run added against Scott Sanderson in the top half, Orosco heads out to the mound in the bottom of the 9th looking to lock it down. He walks Dan Norman, however, forcing Bamberger to go to his closer, righty Neil Allen. Chris Speier, the shortstop, lays down a bunt, sending Norman down to 2nd. John Milner pinch hits for Sanderson and grounds one to 2nd, sending Norman to 3rd. The tying run only 90 feet away, all that stands between the Mets and their 37th win of the season is Tim Raines. Allen looks at the runner, looks in to Raines, sets and pitches. Raines hits the ball down to 3rd base. Bailor digs it out and sends it across the field to Kingman for the out, the 2-1 win and his 16th save of the year.
Scott Sanderson takes the loss, with a pitching line that reads 9 innings, 7 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts and 2 unearned runs.
The Mets unfortunately finish the year 27 games out of 1st with a 65-97 record. There is much to look forward to, for the Met fan in 1983, however, with the return of the Franchise, Tom Seaver, and the rookie campaign of Phenom Darryl Strawberry.
The 1982 New York Mets.
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