4. (tie) Bob Ojeda and Jon Matlack
After comparing their stats in Flushing, it became clear that both pitchers merited a spot on the Mets’ all-time list for left-handed starters. Jon Matlack is notable for winning the second Rookie of the Year award in franchise history for his outstanding debut season in 1972. He went on to pitch for the Mets through the 1977 season, racking up three consecutive All-Star appearances and a top-six Cy Young finish in 1976.
Matlack also played an integral role in the Mets’ 1973 postseason run. His complete-game, two-hit shutout in game two of the NLCS goes down as one of the best starts in Mets postseason history, helping send the Amazins to the World Series. Matlack also started three games in that year’s Fall Classic, posting a 2.16 ERA in those starts despite a 1-2 record.
Over a decade later, Bob Ojeda served as a similar left-handed linchpin of a playoff-ready rotation. He came to the Mets in 1986, and all he did that year was finish 4th in Cy Young voting, 2nd in the league in ERA, and 3rd in WHIP. Ojeda also pitched to a 2.33 ERA in four postseason starts, en route to the Mets’ second World Series title. He stayed in Flushing through 1990 and continued to be a reliable force in the rotation throughout his tenure in New York.
Given the similar arc of their careers, it is not surprising that Matlack and Ojeda both rank among the Mets’ all-time leaders in several categories. Matlack is top 10 in pitcher WAR, strikeouts, complete games, and innings pitched, and Ojeda ranks in the top 10 in WHIP. Both pitchers are among the Mets’ all-time leaders in ERA, shutouts, and home runs/9 innings.
Ojeda and Matlack started out strong in their Mets careers and continued to anchor their respective rotations for years to come, leading to my decision that they both warranted the fourth spot on this list.