Piazza, Floyd need support

New York needs a big bat in the middle. Plus, the NL rookie race heats up, and Todd Zeile ponders '04.

Updated: September 12, 2003, 9:53 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Mike Piazza had just doubled in the eighth inning of a close game Sunday in Philadelphia when Mets manager Art Howe lifted him for a pinch-runner. The move eventually left Howe stranded, as he pulled for Danny Garcia, Joe McEwing, Timo Perez, Vance Wilson, Jason Phillips, Raul Gonzalez, Ty Wigginton, Jorge Velandia or Marco Scutaro to produce the winning hit in extra innings.

That group, sans Piazza, has combined for 41 homers in 1,991 at-bats this season. Just a hunch, but .431 baseball from anonymous players probably wasn't what owner Fred Wilpon had in mind when the Mets began the season with a $117 million payroll.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer