Just hours after general manager Steve Phillips was fired Thursday, the Mets had season highs for runs and hits (16) in an 11-0 win over the Texas Rangers.
“It’s ironic that on a day somebody who has been pulling for us to get our offense on track gets fired, our offense gets going,” said catcher Vance Wilson, who homered and had a career-high five RBIs. “It was more coincidence than all of us trying to prove something.”
Less than three years after reaching the World Series, the Mets are mired in last place despite the second-highest payroll in the majors. Their opening day payroll was $116.9 million, lower than only the crosstown Yankees ($149.7 million).
“It’s unfortunate that somebody has to be blamed for poor play,” Al Leiter said. “Last year it was (former manager) Bobby (Valentine), now it’s Steve. We all have to be held accountable.”
After an injury-riddled start to the season, Anaheim is getting it players back, and winning games the way it did last year—with timely hitting and stingy relief pitching.
The Angels’ 5-3 win over the Phillies on Wednesday night was their eighth victory in 11 games.
“We haven’t played the total baseball package that we played pretty much all of last year—and definitely in the playoffs,” Scott Spiezio said. “There have been a lot of games this year where we have played like that, but we just haven’t been as consistent. But this team’s bound to get on a roll here sooner or later. And once we get on that first roll, look out.”
STANDINGS: Mets - 5th place, 15 1/2 GB, NL East. Angels - 3rd place, 9 GB, AL West.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Mike Bacsik (0-1, 14.63 ERA). The struggling left-hander will get another start, despite allowing 14 runs—13 earned—in his eight innings this season. His first start of the season not a memorable one as he gave up five runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 7-0 loss to Seattle in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: Aaron Sele (3-3, 6.60 ERA). After three straight defeats, Sele has rebounded nicely, winning back-to-back starts. In his last outing, the veteran right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings of a 9-2 victory at Florida on Saturday.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mets - Cliff Floyd, .278 avg., 13 HRs and 39 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 37 runs; Roberto Alomar and Roger Cedeno, 5 SBs. Angels - Garret Anderson, .307 avg. and 57 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 14 HRs and 42 runs; Adam Kennedy, 11 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Mets - 3-3. Angels - 6-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mets - LHP Mike Stanton was sent back to New York on Thursday after experiencing more left knee problems when he pitched on Tuesday. … 3B Wigginton leads NL rookies with 40 runs scored and 32 RBIs. … 2B Alomar, hit in the elbow by a pitch the previous night, returned to the lineup Thursday, but left after six innings with the score already 8-0. Angels - Left-handed batters are hitting .175 against RHP Sele this season. … SS David Eckstein hasn’t been in the starting lineup the last six games because of a bone bruise on his left hand. His status is day-to-day. … RHP Appier, acquired from the Mets in the Mo Vaughn trade, will not start in this series.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mets - 12-19 on the road; Angels - 17-13 at home.
INJURIES: Mets - C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; SS Rey Sanchez (thumb), 15-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (side), 60-day DL; 1B Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL. Angels - RHP Mickey Callaway (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Matt Wise (elbow), 60-day DL.