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Mets plagued by injuries, lack of star power in 1978 simulation

NEW YORK - CIRCA 1980: Manager Joe Torre #9 of the New York Mets gets interviewed by NBC sport personality Joe Garagiola prior to the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1980 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Torre managed the Mets from 1977-81. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - CIRCA 1980: Manager Joe Torre #9 of the New York Mets gets interviewed by NBC sport personality Joe Garagiola prior to the start of a Major League Baseball game circa 1980 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City. Torre managed the Mets from 1977-81. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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Injuries and a lack of stars on the roster plagued the New York Mets in our simulation of the 1978 season.

A new era of virtual New York Mets baseball has begun. Tom Seaver is gone and the new ace of the Mets expected to open the season as the number one guy in the rotation is Craig Swan. That’s because, in our 1977 simulation, Jerry Koosman suffered an injury that will cause him to at best miss all but one month of the 1978 season.

We did see a few positives from our 1978 simulation. Lee Mazzilli stole bases like a mad man. Unfortunately, his wheels aren’t enough to help carry the franchise.

Keeping with tradition, let’s recap how past Mets seasons have gone:

1962: 52-108
1963: 43-119
1964: 44-118
1965: 50-112
1966: 56-105
1967: 64-98
1968: 74-88
1969: 93-69
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
1972: 80-76
1973: 83-77
1974: 72-90
1975: 75-87
1976: 88-74
1977: 78-84

There’s little reason to believe the 1978 virtual Mets will have a winning year. Will we get a pleasant surprise?

Preseason Predictions

I’m ready for a long 1978 season. Thankfully, it’s all virtual and we can simulate right through it.

Preseason predictions have the Mets set to go 70-92 this year. If the experts are right, only the Chicago Cubs will have a worse record in the National League East.

The Mets went 13-17 in spring training action which doesn’t say much about how they will do in the division. The best team was only 17-13 and until around the midway point of exhibition action, the orange and blue had the best record in the division this spring.

I feel spring results have been pretty accurate with results for the upcoming year in this simulation. If it holds true, we can expect something close to the 70-92 record predicted.

Regular Season Results

I was wrong about Craig Swan getting the Opening Day start. Instead, Kevin Kobel toed the rubber to start 1978. The warning signs of a tough year were right in front of us from the start.

At the All-Star Break, the Mets sat 12.5 games out of first place at 35-51. It was good enough for last place in the division.

Injuries did a lot to damper the hopes of competing. Lee Mazzilli missed a lot of time in the first half after placing among the best in multiple offensive categories. The club also lost Kobel for the year after 9 starts.

With little hope of a turnaround, the rest of the season played out as expected with few noteworthy achievements. After the final game, the 1978 Mets wrapped up the year with a 68-94 record. We can blame injuries for the underachievement of this ball club.

Honors

The 1978 virtual Mets sent only one man to the All-Star Game. For the second time in his career, Craig Swan went to the Midsummer Classic without having to pay an admission fee.

Swan did get into the game in the second inning. He tossed a shutout frame with a strikeout.

I dug around hoping to find another notable achievement. Unfortunately, nobody won any major awards or had a special game worthy of note.

Notable Individual Statistics

Craig Swan was the lone pitcher to reach double-digit victories. His 16-14 record and 3.18 ERA led the team.

Meanwhile, Mike Scott was just 5-15 with a 3.50 ERA and Roy Lee Jackson was worse at 7-18 with a 4.57 ERA.

Willie Montanez had a quietly productive year at the plate which included 77 RBI. The total is actually the third-highest in franchise history. This says a lot about the lack of run production throughout the history of the virtual Mets.

Next. Mets 1977 Season Simulation

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It was a relatively quiet year for the 1978 virtual Mets. Hopefully, we get some better results when we resume to finish out the decade with the 1979 season.

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