Mets take aim at a championship in our 1986 season simulation
Hoping for simulated life to imitate the real one, the virtual New York Mets aim for a championship in our 1986 season.
Everyone knows how important 1986 is to the New York Mets. It’s the last time the club has won a championship. In our virtual world, we’re hoping the simulated history of the franchise has some different results but has a repeat with a winning year in 1986.
The virtual Mets are coming off a playoff appearances in 1985—their first since they won it all in 1971. The team appears poised to go back to the postseason again. Whether or not they get lucky on a Bill Buckner error has yet to be determined.
Keeping with tradition, here’s a recap of how past simulated Mets seasons have gone:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
1985: 98-64 (NLCS loss 4-3)
My fingers are tightly crossed. Is this the year we see the Mets deliver a parade to New York?
Preseason predictions in this virtual world have been hit-and-miss. This year, the digital experts have the Mets set to go 99-63 with the best record in the National League and tied with the defending AL Champion Toronto Blue Jays for the best in all of baseball.
Darryl Strawberry is listed as the lone position player in the league’s top ten preseason predictions. He is set to hit .276 while driving 26 home runs and knocking in 93.
Several Mets pitchers made the top ten. They include Dwight Gooden at (20-12, 2.35 ERA), Sid Fernandez (18-5, 2.26 ERA), Ron Darling (16-11, 2.89 ERA), and Bob Ojeda (17-10, 2.88 ERA).
If those four can have a year like that, I think we’re getting a championship.
Actual results for the Mets in spring training weren’t as promising with the team going 11-19. Hopefully, this was nothing more than some winter rust and backups playing a little more.
Regular Season Results
The Mets got off to a real bad start in 1986 but picked things up around May in their pursuit of the first-place Montreal Expos. On June 16, they finally caught them, but it wasn’t a runaway with the division.
The first-half concluded with the Mets in third place, 1.5 games behind the Expos and Philadelphia Phillies for first.
Some injuries have hit the Mets hard with Ron Darling and Dwight Gooden both on the DL for several weeks. Gooden does have 11 wins and a 1.92 ERA with Darling right behind him with 9 victories and a 2.09 ERA.
The club leads the NL in home runs with 75 and has allowed the fewest runs. Darryl Strawberry has hit 15 of those dingers with Howard Johnson not far behind with 12.
The club had to try and survive through the early part of the second half minus two of their best pitchers. By the end of July, they were back in first place but fighting neck-and-neck with Montreal and Philadelphia.
After the last pitch of the regular season, the Mets owned a 90-72 record. They were only a half-game behind the Phillies and it appears Philadelphia would not make up the one rainout that gave them the lead because they had apparently already won any sort of tiebreaker.
The 1986 Mets season has ended.
This year, the Mets sent four players to the All-Star Game. Dwight Gooden was yet again scheduled to start the All-Star Game but an injury will prevent him from appearing. Fortunately, Mets fans hoping to see some early action by the Amazins will get to see Darryl Strawberry in right field and Howard Johnson at shortstop.
Joining them on the roster is pitcher Sid Fernandez. He would have to settle for the honor of being on the roster as he never got into the game.
Strawberry went hitless in two plate appearances out of the cleanup spot, drawing a walk in one of those chances. Johnson ended up playing the whole game due to the NL’s lack of players who can play shortstop. He had one hit in four at-bats.
Despite a weaker than expected season at the plate, Gary Carter did win his eighth straight Gold Glove at catcher. The Mets also saw two players win Silver Slugger Awards, Strawberry for his work as a right fielder and Kevin Mitchell for the year he had as a third baseman.
Notable Individual Statistics
Injuries to Dwight Gooden are what truly ruined the season. Despite going 14-3 with a 2.16 ERA and managing to make 29 starts, he still did miss a good month of the season. Worst of all, a torn UCL will knock him out for most or all of 1987.
Bob Ojeda ended up leading the team with 17 wins while Sid Fernandez and Ron Darling each had 14. The Mets got 31 home runs from Darryl Strawberry and a surprising 25 out of Kevin Mitchell. Too bad they’re still going to trade him in this simulation.
Things just didn’t come together for the Mets this year. Keith Hernandez hit only .263 and Gary Carter was a .240 hitter with 9 home runs.
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I’ll admit it, there’s some shame I’m feeling right now. This was supposed to the Mets’ year. And with Doc out for the 1987 campaign, I’m not so sure how well our next simulated season will go. The veterans are on the decline fast. The window for winning is shrinking.