Friday, April 24, 2015

Third time's a charm: Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden - and Matt Harvey?

The Mets' 11-game winning streak has brought up memories of two other seasons in which they had such a streak - 1969 and 1986.  But it's still hard to compare the 2015 Mets with the legends of the past.  The Mets' 13-3 record ties the '86 Mets for the best Mets start ever.  But when the '86 Mets beat Atlanta on April 30, 1986 to reach 13-3, here was their lineup, along with their batting averages at the time:

Lenny Dykstra .327
Wally Backman .371
Keith Hernandez .303
Darryl Strawberry .313
Gary Carter .281
Danny Heep .368
Ray Knight  .306
Howard Johnson .357

Pitching that day was Dwight Gooden, and even he was hitting .214.

When this year's Mets went to 11-3, the only hitter in the lineup batting over .273 was Lucas Duda. Leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson is hitting .200 and number five hitter Daniel Murphy is at .170

Of course, this year's Mets are built around pitching, but you'd still take the '86 Mets' foursome of Gooden, Bob Ojeda, Ron Darling and Sid Fernandez or the Miracle Mets staff led by Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman that also included Nolan Ryan and Tug McGraw.

But it turns out this year's Mets do have something in common with the champions of the past. 1969 was Seaver's third season. 1986 was Gooden's third season. And 2015 is Matt Harvey's third season on the field.

Gooden was just one of several strong pitchers on the Mets that year. Harvey so far is statistically the fourth-best Met starter. But Seaver's presence turned perennial losers into winners, and the 1986 Gooden still carried the aura of his unbelievable 1985. Already Harvey has made every fifth day an event and brought excitement to a ballpark that has not had enough of it. Maybe it's not a coincidence that the park is now buzzing on days when Harvey isn't pitching. It wasn't long ago that the Mets had a better record on the road than at home. And now they have a perfect 10-0 homestand.

It's still early to be thinking about the World Series, but it's not too early to think that the Mets have another ace coming into his prime who can spark the Mets to great heights.

But for now, I'll be happy with beating the Yankees, and leaving Squawker Lisa with nothing to root for except seeing A-Rod reach 660 at home and getting a curtain call.

1 comment:

Uncle Mike said...

Let's see... Seaver pitched his no-hitter for Cincinnati, Gooden pitched his no-hitter for the Yankees...

Does that mean that Harvey will pitch his no-hitter for the Braves? He'd better hope he wins a Pennant with them, because he sure isn't going to win a Pennant, or even make the Playoffs, for a team with a 36-year-old Michael Cuddyer as a cleanup hitter. Or one whose best hitter is David "September? What's That?" Wright.

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