1988 Dodgers: NLCS Game 2 vs. Mets

Did the Dodgers have some bulletin board material to use for motivation, ask Met starting pitcher David Cone.

The Mets entered Game 2 with the pitching advantage over the Dodgers that night.  While Hershiser was clearly the Dodger ace that season, it was arguable that David Cone was the best pitcher on the Mets that season.  Cone was 20-3, pitched 231.1 innings and had a 2.22 ERA.  The Dodgers would send out Tim Belcher, 12-6 with 2.91 ERA in 179.2 IP.

One thing that no one knew was that David Cone was also an aspiring sports writer.  Sam McManis of LA TImes had the story:

If, as the pointed prose appearing under Cone's name had read, Hershiser was "lucky" to pitch 8 shutout innings in the opener and Howell had the curveball of a high school pitcher, what could you say about Cone on this night?

Well, plenty, if you're the Dodgers.

Mickey Hatcher, a surprise starter at first base and one of the Dodgers' main contributors, called Cone's column "bush" before the game and said the Dodgers would not dignify what they believed was a blatant lack of respect.

"Some of the guys out there were bringing it up every inning," Hatcher said. "But when I was out there playing, I didn't think about it. My brain can't handle thinking of two things."

Cone said afterward that he meant his comments, dictated to a ghost writer, facetiously.

Said Met catcher Gary Carter: "It always seems like when you say something, it comes back to haunt you. I'm sure David regrets what he said a little bit. . . . I'm sure he learned a lesson tonight."

Carter, asked if the Dodgers really could use such a column as motivation, said: "Oh absolutely. I'm sure they used it that way. After the way they lost last night, they could have fallen flat. But they didn't."

Tim Belcher kept the Mets off the scoreboard in the top of the first, with one out, Mickey Hatcher walked and then with 2 outs, he was balked to second, Mike Marshall hit a fly ball that fell between SS Howard Johnson and LF Kevin McReynolds, scoring Hatcher.

In the bottom of the second, with two outs and Jeff Hamilton on first, Tim Belcher singled, Steve Sax singled in Hamilton, Mickey Hatcher then doubled down the left field line that drove both Belcher and Sax.  After an intentional walk to Kirk Gibson, Mike Marshall closed the scoring with a single driving in Hatcher.

Cone was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the third and the Mets never seriously challenged the Dodgers.  Keith Hernandez hit a two-run home run in the 4th.

The Dodgers would add another run and then the Mets would score a run in the top of the 9th and then the Mets loaded the bases with two outs.  But this time, Game 1 hero, Gary Carter, flew out to make the final score 6-3 and give the game to the Dodgers and even the series 1-1.

Up next

Dodgers head to New York to play three games at Shea Stadium with John Tudor to face Ron Darling in Game 3.

Game 2 particulars

Home Run: Keith Hernandez (1)

WP - Tim Belcher (1-0): 8.1 innings, 3 runs, 5 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts

LP - David Cone (0-1): 2 innings, 5 runs, 5 hits, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts

Save - Alejandro Pena (1):  2/3 inning, 1 walk

Box score

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