Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gooden Still Casts Long Shadow

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gooden Still Casts Long Shadow

Article excerpt

He looked different from the Doc Gooden of old. But he still pitched the New York Mets past the Cardinals on Sunday.

"Without a doubt this season has been different from most of the ones I've been through," Gooden said. "I've had to make a lot of adjustments the last few years. I've had to get used to pitching when we weren't in a pennant race. I've had to learn to pitch a different way after my surgery on my arm.

"But one thing hasn't changed: Every day that I take the ball, my main object is to get a win for the team."

His fastball is a slower shadow of its formerly blazing self. His control lacks the accuracy of his early career, when he won 91 games from 1984-88. Gooden walked three and struck out three in seven innings Sunday.

He also gave up only six hits. Thanks to five Mets runs in the eighth and three more in the ninth, the New Yorkers won 10-2 and lifted Gooden's record to 11-10 this season. He has a 15-7 career record against the Cardinals.

The Mets still are hopelessly off the pace and at the bottom of the National League East Division standings. The team has seen turmoil all season, from changes in a manager and general manager to covered-up mishaps in the clubhouse to Vince Coleman's tossing of a firecracker at some fans.

Still, no one should declare the Mets clubhouse a disaster area. Not as long as a professional such as Eddie Murray, who survived the trading deadline, shows up with three hits as he did Sunday. Not as long as rookie Ryan Thompson shows the kind of promise he did Sunday, when he produced four hits and some fine defensive work in center field.

Not as long as Gooden is willing to pitch every five days.

Gooden stands as a lone light of goodness on what has been a bleak Mets ballclub.

Sure, he's had his problems. He spent time rehabilitating from a drug addiction. …

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