Monday, May 14, 2018

Mets Have a 21-Year Streak on the Line Against Toronto

On Tuesday, the Mets will entertain the Toronto Blue Jays at Citi Field in the first of a brief two-game series.  As a member of the A.L. East, the Blue Jays will be playing their tenth series against the Mets, making them the third-most frequent interleague opponent the Mets have faced, trailing only the Yankees (40 series) and Orioles (12 series).

Naturally, having played so many series versus New York's National League club since interleague play began in 1997, Toronto has plenty of experience playing in Flushing.  There's just one thing they don't have yet against the Mets in Queens.  A win.

This pretty much sums up every Blue Jays game ever played in Queens.  (Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

Of the nine previous series played between the Mets and Blue Jays in the last two-plus decades, four have taken place in Flushing.  Incredibly, the Mets have a perfect 11-0 record in games played against Toronto in New York, sweeping a trio of three-game series and one two-game set.

Toronto is the only major league team to have never won a game in Flushing, despite having played games at Shea Stadium in 1997, 1999 and 2001 and at Citi Field in 2015.  (The Yankees called Shea home in 1974 and 1975, but their division rivals from Toronto didn't come into existence until 1977.)  The only team that can come close to the Blue Jays' record of futility against the Mets in Queens is the Cleveland Indians, who have won just one road game versus New York (NL).  But the Indians have a good reason for that.  They've only played a single series on the road against the Mets, dropping two out of three games at Shea Stadium in 2004.

Besides Toronto, there's just one other American League team that the Mets are at least ten games over .500 against at Shea Stadium/Citi Field.  That would be the Baltimore Orioles, who are 3-13 in the Mets' home ballparks (3-10 in the regular season, 0-3 in the 1969 World Series).  That's a pretty dismal record, but at least the Orioles have won a few games in Flushing.  That other A.L. East team named after a bird wishes it could fly out of Flushing with a victory or two.

But alas, the Mets have yet to drop a home affair to the Jays through 21 years of interleague play.

The Mets have won blowouts (two wins by 6+ runs) and nailbiters (four one-run victories) when they've hosted Toronto.  The Bobby Valentine fake mustache game?  That was against the Blue Jays at Shea in 1999.  That game was also the closest Toronto came to winning a game in Flushing, as the Blue Jays' bullpen blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead before succumbing to the Mets in the 14th frame.  Toronto almost had a happy recap during their inaugural visit to Citi Field in 2015.  But they couldn't hold a one-run lead in the 11th inning, allowing the Mets to cross the plate twice in a walk-off win.

Eventually, the Blue Jays will celebrate on the field in Flushing, just like every other team in baseball has done at least once.  They're 0-for-11 in games against the Mets in Queens.  The Mets hope it becomes 0-for-13 by the time this week's series is over.

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