For a team that appears to be breezing to the pennant, the New York Mets seem to be doing considerable worrying.
There is consternation among the leaders of the Eastern Division because their wonder man, Dwight Gooden, is being treated like just another pitcher these days.
Gooden was so brilliant last year in his second major league season that a number of experts were already calling him the greatest pitcher ever. His numbers were awesome. He was 24-4, with an earned-run average of 1.53, 268 strikeouts and 16 complete games.
Only 21, Gooden was expected to reach extraordinary heights this season. He has been almost the only disappointment for the Mets so far in 1986.
Gooden served up two home runs to Tim Wallach Wednesday night at Montreal and was shelled from the mound in the seventh inning as the Expos defeated the Mets, 7-4. The second win in a row over the Mets put the Expos 9 1/2 games back in second place.
Wallach became the first player ever to hit two home runs in a game off the talented young right-hander. The second one came with two on in the seventh to chase Gooden (8-3).
Before Wednesday, Wallach was 1 for 19 and had struck out 11 times against Gooden.
It was the second time in his last six starts that Gooden has been hit hard. On May 22 at San Francisco, the Giants jumped on him for nine hits and seven runs in four innings.
In his last six starts, Gooden has a 3-2 record, with an ERA of 4.57.
The Expos' robust attack on Gooden enabled Floyd Youmans, a high school teammate of Gooden's, to get the victory. Youmans held the Mets to one run and five hits before being relieved with one out in the sixth. Although he gave up three runs in the last two innings, bullpen ace Jeff Riordan picked up his 16th save.
Even before this shellacking, Manager Davey Johnson of the Mets told USA Today that the only pitchers on the staff not performing to their capabilities were Gooden and Ron Darling.
The Mets insist there is nothing wrong with Gooden, but in 14 starts this season he has had double figures in strikeouts only three times. In this game he had only one strikeout, walked six and gave up six hits. There were three doubles in addition to Wallach's homers.
Cincinnati 3, Houston 2--Mike Scott would just as soon not have Astro bullpen ace Dave Smith come charging to his rescue.
For the second time in a row, Scott left in the ninth inning with a lead and Smith served up a home run to lose the game.
After Scott, who gave up only three hits, struck out Pete Rose to start the bottom of the ninth, he was replaced by Frank DiPino, who promptly gave up a single to Dave Parker. Enter Smith to pitch to .240-hitting Eric Davis. Exit Smith and the Astros as Davis hit a two-run home run to give the Reds the win. Last week against the Giants, Smith served up a three-run home run and Scott was the loser.
San Francisco 6, San Diego 3--Bob Melvin and Jose Uribe hit two-run home runs at San Diego, and Juan Berenguer pitched impressively in relief as the Giants moved within 1 1/2 games of first place in the West.
Berenguer struck out Kevin McReynolds with the bases loaded in the seventh and the Giants leading only, 4-3, then got Steve Garvey on a fly to left. He went on to get the save.
St. Louis 4-1, Pittsburgh 2-2--Todd Worrell, who had either a save or a loss in all four games with the Cubs over the weekend, had a save and a loss in one night at Pittsburgh.
After Worrell saved the opener for Danny Cox, the completion of Monday night's suspended game, he lost the regular game in the 12th. A single, a stolen base, a sacrifice and two intentional walks loaded the bases with one out. Bill Almon hit a short fly to right, and Joe Orsulak raced home with the winning run.