Mets Playoff Heroes: Mike Piazza in the 2000 NLCS versus the Cardinals
By Tim Boyle
In the year 2000, Mike Piazza helped power the New York Mets to the World Series with a stellar NLCS series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
One year after falling to the Atlanta Braves in 1999 NLCS, the New York Mets came back with some vengeance the following season. They handled the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS and disposed of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS before heading to the World Series.
Although Mike Hampton took home the series MVP honors, Mets catcher Mike Piazza supplied the run-production to ensure a trip to the World Series would happen.
In Game One, Piazza began the series with a 2 for 4 game which included an RBI double in the first inning. He set up Robin Ventura to drive in another run one at-bat later, giving the Mets an early 2-0 lead before the Cardinals even came to bat. They would go on to take this game by a score of 6-2.
Game Two was much tighter but included more production from Piazza. In five plate appearances, the greatest hitting catcher of all-time only logged two official at-bats. That’s because St. Louis pitchers didn’t give him much to hit. Piazza finished this performance with three walks. Two of them were intentional.
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Despite the lack of opportunities, he did take advantage of one pitch from Britt Reames in the third inning. Piazza smashed his first home run of the series, a solo shot which gave them a 3-1 lead.
This game included an infamous meltdown by Cardinals starter Rick Ankiel where he famously walked three batters in the first inning while only recording two outs. The Cardinals did attempt to come back, but fell short.
Game Three included the only loss in the series for the Mets. Back at Shea Stadium, St. Louis won 8-2 in their road greys. Piazza had one of the team’s seven hits, all of which were singles.
A day later, the offense came to life for Game Four. Piazza was at the center of it with a 2 for 3 day. A fourth-inning home run gave the Mets an early 8-3 lead. It would hold up in this 10-6 victory.
Piazza didn’t need to do much in the final game of the series. The Mets won this 7-0 behind a complete game shutout by Hampton. Piazza did double and score a run in this one, awarding him with a hit in every game of the series.
The totals from his bat include a 7 for 17 series, a pair of home runs, and 4 RBI. Only Todd Zeile drove in more runs for the Mets and Timo Perez is the lone player on the team to cross the plate more often.
The Mets won this series thanks to good pitching on their part and some big innings from the offense. Many of those big innings included a big at-bat from Piazza. They only hit four home runs the entire series and two came from Piazza’s stick.
By far the best postseason series of his career, it was the only NLCS victory he experienced. The .412/.545/.941 slash line stands out most from this series.
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We can thank Piazza’s ability to get on base as a major reason why they were able to advance to the finals.