On this date in 2008, following a devastating loss to Philadelphia in which they blew a late three-run lead, the Mets were again finding it hard to stay ahead of the Phillies. The Mets had twice taken and blown the lead when Jose Reyes put his team up for good with a three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. The win put the Mets back into a first-place tie with the Phils. Three years to the day earlier, Reyes beat the Dodgers with a two-run triple, one of four hits in five at-bats that afternoon. He also scored three runs. Overall, July 23 was a productive date in Reyes's Mets career: In six games on that date he hit two home runs, two doubles, and a triple, stole four bases in as many attempts, drove in six runs and scored eight, compiling a .482 on-base percentage and .815 slugging percentage.
Other Game of Note
In the All-Star Game played on July 23, 1969, the Mets' Cleon Jones went two-for-four with two runs scored, and lefty Jerry Koosman pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings. Notable for his absence from the action was Tom Seaver, the season's eventual Cy Young Award winner and runner-up MVP, who was chosen but did not pitch. It's hard to argue the superior mid-season credentials of NL starter Steve Carlton, but it should be noted that in 17 head-to-head confrontations over 14 seasons, Seaver went 11-3 versus Carlton's 3-12.
The Mets acquired Kenny Rogers on this date in 1999. He will be forever vilified for walking in the winning run in the 11th inning of Game Six of the NLCS to send the Mets home and Atlanta to the World Series. Without Rogers, however, the Mets most likely would have missed the postseason altogether. He posted a 1.2 WAR in 12 starts, of which the Mets won 10, and his 4.03 ERA was the best among the team's starters. He also pitched a scoreless 11th and 12th inning in the Amazins' epic 15-inning win over the Braves in Game Five. Still, few Mets fans were sorry, or surprised, when the team did not re-sign him for the 2000 season.
In a notable non-transaction exactly one year later, Reds shortstop Barry Larkin vetoed a trade that would bring him to the Mets, who would later sacrifice Melvin Mora to get the Orioles' Mike Bordick. It's hard to imagine that three-time Gold Glove winner Larkin would not have flagged down Luis Sojo's Gave Five, ninth-inning grounder and turn it into out number three rather than a two-run single that proved to be the game- and Series-winning hit, The Mets might have gone on at least to Game Six and, given Larkin's clear offensive superiority over Bordick and Kurt Abbott, would likely have put up a better fight against the Yankees.
Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
Fran Healy was born on this day in 1973. If you do the math you'll know we're not talking about the former Mets announcer, but rather someone whose voice we actually enjoy listening to: the lead singer of Travis. The Scottish rock group's international breakout single, "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?", written by Healy, could be the Mets' unofficial theme song for 2013, a season in which they have already racked up six rain-outs and countless hours' worth of other rain delays.