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Loss No. 24 Is One for Books : Baseball: While pitching for the worst team in baseball, Mets' Young breaks 82-year-old record for consecutive defeats.

June 28, 1993|MARTY NOBLE | NEWSDAY

NEW YORK — The New York Mets are the team for which Anthony Young must pitch. Naturally.

It is nothing other than appropriate that the man who now has more successive losses than anyone in major league history pitch for the team that appears determined to have more losses than any other. It is right; one of the few things about the Mets' season that is.

Young was the man of the moment Sunday. The Mets were the team for the man. "I guess they do go hand in hand," New York Manager Dallas Green said after a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. And no one argued. Bad team, bad pitching. Bad pitching, bad team. Cause and effect, or effect and cause?

Now Young's losing streak is 24 games. This season has brought 10 of the defeats. Consider 24 successive losses, and you suspect misfortune played a role. See an 0-10 record, and somehow, it seemed harder to afford the benefit of the doubt. See Young pitch for the last year or so, and recognize that misfortune and the other teams are not his only enemies.

"I got myself in the record book," he said, blaming no one else for the distinction that will stay with him. And he removed Cliff Curtis, whose record stood, without serious challenge, for 82 years and 36 days.

"I won't think about it when I leave here," Young said. "Why keep thinking about it?"

It happened as the Mets continued their remarkable descent. They had more hits and no more errors than the Cardinals. And they nearly turned a triple play. But the Cardinals completed their three-game sweep.

It was the Mets' fifth consecutive loss, 11th in 12 games, 17th in 19, and 27 in 35 under Green. Since April 17, they have lost 48 of 63 games, never winning twice in succession and establishing a NL record for most games without consecutive victories.

When Young's losing streak was at 17 and people were familiar with Roger Craig and Craig Anderson but not Cliff Curtis, Young suggested his losing might not be interrupted until the record was his alone.

Now that the record is his, there is no reason to think the losing will stop; his or the team's.

"I always think this will be the day," Young said. "Now that I have the record I hope you all will leave me alone."

Young has made strides as a pitcher, but not so many that winning will come with substantially greater ease. And the Mets are, without question, the worst team in the game, the team most likely to lose on a given night, regardless of circumstances.

Sunday, the Mets scored two runs in the first inning. Young said he wasn't waiting for adversity to strike. How could he not be? Lee Smith, who saved this one for the Cardinals, recalled his earlier years. "I played for the Cubs," he said. "You ask yourself 'When is it going to start?' "

For Young, it began in the fourth inning with a leadoff walk to Jose Oquendo and a base hit by Gregg Jefferies. Then Todd Zeile hit a ground ball handled by Bobby Bonilla, a starting third baseman for the first time in nearly two years. Bonilla went to second for the double play and Zeile barely avoided being tripled up at first.

The crowd booed the call. "It was close enough to ring it up," Young said. "I thought he was safe. I wish he had rung it up."

Mark Whiten singled past Eddie Murray at first base and Brian Jordan hit a bloop single that right fielder Dave Gallagher nearly caught, scoring a run. Rod Brewer then smoked a double for the two runs that overcame the Mets' lead.

The padding came two innings later. Jordan was on first base with two outs. He stole on the first pitch without a throw to first base by Young. An intentional walk followed before Tom Pagnozzi chopped a ball over Bonilla's head and barely into the outfield grass. Shortstop Tim Bogar retrieved the ball and slipped as he threw home too late to catch Jordan. Winning pitcher Joe Magrane followed with a line drive single and his first run batted in in 1993.

"I made a bad pitch to the pitcher," Young said.

Young completed that inning and the next. But there it was: five runs in seven innings. He hadn't pitched well enough to lose; he had pitched poorly enough to lose. He hit too many bats.

Green remains committed to Young as a starter until the All-Star break. That's two, perhaps three starts. Sunday, the manager said assignment to the minor leagues is an option thereafter. But major league losing streaks can't end in the minor leagues.

"It's not embarrassing," Young said. "Someone has to win, someone has to lose. I'm just losing."

* YOUNG'S STREAK: Loss by loss. C7

Anthony Young's Losing Streak

A game-by-game look at Anthony Young's 24 consecutive losses for the New York Mets, which broke the major league record set by Cliff Curtis of the Boston Rustlers in 1911:

1992

Date Result IP H R ER BB SO May 6 Reds 5-3 6 6 5 5 1 3 May 11 Padres 4-2 6 9 4 4 3 5 May 17 Dodgers 6-3 5 2/3 7 5 5 2 8 June 8 Expos 6-0 6 7 3 3 0 1 June 15 Expos 4-1 7 7 2 2 1 3 June 20 Cardinals 6-1 4 2/3 5 2 2 3 5 June 25 Cubs 9-2 2 8 9 3 1 0 June 30 Cubs 3-1 2 2 1 1 1 0 July 4 Astros 3-1 2 3 2 2 0 0 Sept. 3 Reds 4-3 2/3 1 2 2 2 0 Sept. 5 Reds 6-5 2/3 4 2 2 0 1 Sept. 13 Expos 7-5 1/3 3 3 3 0 0 Sept. 17 Cardinals 3-2 1 2 1 1 0 0 Sept. 29 Phillies 5-3 0 1 3 1 1 0

1993

Date Result IP H R ER BB SO April 9 Astros 7-3 2 3 4 4 2 0 April 25 Padres 9-8 2 1 1 0 0 2 April 30 Padres 7-6 1 2 1 1 1 0 May 16 Expos 4-3 1 1/3 2 1 1 1 1 May 28 Reds 5-2 1/3 2 3 2 1 0 June 8 Cubs 5-1 6 9 4 3 2 3 June 13 Phillies 5-3 6 7 3 3 2 5 June 18 Pirates 5-2 7 7 5 5 2 3 June 22 Expos 6-3 6 6 6 3 4 4 June 27 Cardinals 5-3 7 8 5 5 2 4

IP H R ER BB SO Avg. Outing During Streak 3 1/3 5 3 3 1 2

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