Mets: Why the “long layoff” narrative is flawed
By Danny Abriano
Moments after the Mets swept the NLCS, the fresh narrative transitioned to their upcoming layoff before the World Series being a huge negative. Yes, since the LCS went from a best-of-five to a best-of-seven in 1985, teams who have swept the LCS have gone just 1-6 in the World Series. But that has close to no bearing on the 2015 Mets.
For one, examining seven total series over a 30 year span is taking an incredibly small sample size and attempting to make it more than it is. When you examine further, you’ll see that the majority of the teams who performed poorly in the World Series after sweeping the LCS were deeply flawed.
Here are the teams who performed poorly in the World Series after sweeping the LCS, and a bit about them…
1988 Athletics, lost to the Dodgers
In 1988, the Athletics were a team that mashed, built around Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Dave Henderson. Their rotation was anchored by Dave Stewart (3.27 ERA) and Bob Welch (3.76 ERA), who were solid. The two pitchers who started twice in that series were Stewart and Storm Davis, who was crushed during a Game 2 loss and jumped early as the A’s lost Game 5 and the series.
1990 Athletics, lost to the Reds
Another team built around offense, the A’s were swept, with Dave Stewart pitching well in both games he started but Bob Welch and Mike Moore getting hit hard in games they started.
2006 Tigers, lost to the Cardinals
The 2006 Tigers, who had Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers in their rotation, also gave World Series starts to Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson. Most importantly, their pitchers forgot how to field between the end of the LCS and the start of the World Series, throwing the ball away numerous times as they basically handed the title to St. Louis.
2007 Rockies, lost to the Red Sox
Here’s who started game for the Rockies in the 2007 World Series: Jeff Francis, Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, and Josh Fogg. We’ll leave it at that.
2012 Tigers, lost to the Giants
The 2012 Tigers are the only well-rounded team to sweep the LCS and struggle mightily in the World Series. This team featured Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera in the middle of the lineup and Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in their rotation. They simply forgot how to hit, scoring just six runs as the Giants swept.
Here’s the most recent team to sweep the LCS and lose in the World Series…
2014 Royals, lost to the Giants
The 2014 Royals, who are close to the same team that will take the field on Friday night in Game 6 of the ALCS, lost the World Series to the Giants in seven games.
After being blown out in Game 1, the Royals did the same to the Giants in Game 2 before winning Game 3 to take a two games to one lead in series. If the layoff hurt them in any way, they didn’t show it by getting out to a lead in the series.
More than anything, the 2014 Royals were done in by Madison Bumgarner.
Here’s the only team in the last 30 years who swept the LCS and won the World Series…
1995 Braves, beat the Indians
The 1995 Braves featured a rotation with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery. Look familiar?
A team built on pitching, the Braves took down the offensive-minded Indians in six games.
So…what’s the point?
The point, is that aside from the incredibly small sample size people are drawing from when discussing teams who’ve swept the LCS and lost the World Series, all but one of the teams who lost (the 2014 Royals, who lost in seven games) were offensive-oriented clubs. And all of them featured starting rotations that pale in comparison to the one the Mets have.
It can be argued that the 2012 Tigers had a 1-2 starting pitching punch as good as what the Mets have, but they didn’t have the rotation depth.
As is noted above, the only team that won the World Series after sweeping the LCS (the 1995 Braves) is the only one that resembles the 2015 Mets. Though John Smoltz has said he’d take the Mets’ current starting rotation over the rotation the Braves had in the mid-1990s.
Is it a tad concerning that the Mets’ offense will have six days off before resuming games? Sure. But the only player in the lineup who was actually hot was Daniel Murphy. No one else had been hitting particularly well.
Additionally, prior to the regular season ending, the Mets sat the majority of their regulars and had their starting pitchers make shortened starts.
The worry going into the NLDS was that the Mets wouldn’t be able to “flip a switch” to turn things back on. How’d that work out?
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