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Mets defend their World Series title in our 1989 simulation

FLUSHING, NY - 1990: David Cone #44 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during a game in 1990 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
FLUSHING, NY - 1990: David Cone #44 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during a game in 1990 at Shea Stadium in Flushing, New York. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The virtual New York Mets head into the 1989 campaign ready to defend their World Series title.

We’re coming off a championship parade in the Big Apple. The 1988 New York Mets went the distance and defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series to win it all. It’s now the second championship in franchise history.

Of course, we’re hoping to snag at least one more before the end of the decade. That brings us to 1989 where I’m hopeful the Mets can successfully defend their title.

First, let’s remember how the 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
1978: 68-94
1979: 64-98
1980: 65-97
1981: 34-69
1982: 69-93
1983: 64-98
1984: 83-79
1985: 98-64 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1986: 90-72
1987: 95-67 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1988: 99-63 (World Series Champions)

The last time the Mets won a World Series they didn’t return to the playoffs for more than a decade in this simulation. Will we have better luck this time?

Preseason Predictions

The preseason predictions are very favorable for the Mets. At 103-59, they are expected to have the best record in the National League. Amazingly, only the Los Angeles Dodgers are predicted to finish above .500 in the National League West which may make for an easy path to the World Series. First, the Mets need to play some games and capture the NL East.

Howard Johnson is predicted to hit 31 home runs and Darryl Strawberry’s preseason total listed at 32. A pair of Mets pitchers are also listed in the preseason top ten with David Cone set to go 22-7 with a 2.03 ERA and Sid Fernandez listed at 18-6 with a 2.31 ERA.

As for actual preseason results, the Mets finished spring training 14-16. It doesn’t mean much at all. I’m ready to start the season.

Regular Season Results

The first half of the title defense couldn’t have started off better. The Mets opened the year 28-1. No. That’s not a typo. It really took 30 games before they lost their second game. Included in this start was a 23-game winning streak.

Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh Pirates appear to be a threat, getting off to a fine start themselves. The rest of the division isn’t quite up-to-par with the Mets who appear ready to have a historic season.

Although the Pirates were competitive early on, the Mets continued to win at a torrid pace. They were 55-10 with a 15 game lead over the Pirates. By the time the All-Star Break rolled around, the club had pretty much locked up a playoff spot barring some kind of catastrophe. At the All-Star Break, the Mets were 64-20 with a 14.5 game lead over the Pirates. Pittsburgh happens to have the second-best record in all of baseball.

The Mets are where they are thanks to Howard Johnson’s league-leading 18 home runs, a 16-game hitting streak by Mackey Sasser, and another awesome year by Dwight Gooden that includes a league-leading 14 wins and 133 strikeouts.

To put things in perspective, the Mets are first in every major statistic other than stolen bases. Even that they’re only fourth.

The second half started with what looked like a waltz to the postseason. The pitching and hitting continued to put them on a path to an elite season. It wasn’t as much about whether or not the Mets would win the division. Instead, this year was about exactly how many wins they could pile up on their path to a historic campaign.

After 162 games, the virtual Mets owned a franchise-best 110-52 record. They were 13 games ahead of the Pirates and ready to head back to the playoffs to defend their title.

Playoffs

A new opponent from the NL West is set to play the Mets in the NLCS. This year, it’s the San Diego Padres who get the privilege.

The Mets were 15 regular seasons better than the Padres. Although 95-67 is nothing to sneeze about, it doesn’t compare to the 110 victories by this Mets squad.

Game 1: The Mets dropped the first game 3-2 with Dwight Gooden taking a rare playoff loss. Don’t worry. We still have time.

Game 2: David Cone helped the Mets win Game 2 by a score of 2-1. Another tight one-run affair has knotted things up at 1-1.

Game 3: In a change for the series, San Diego won this game 8-4. The Mets will need to make up some games over in San Diego to avoid elimination.

Game 4: The Mets were able to tie things up in the series with a 7-6 win in Southern California. Defending World Series MVP Gregg Jefferies is now hitting .444/.474/.611 in the series.

Game 5: Gregg Jefferies continued to shine in the series, hitting his second home run of the series in Game 5. The Mets won the game 3-2, moving one win away from advancing to the World Series.

Game 6: David Cone delivers and the Mets take the game 3-1. The series is ours!

Gregg Jefferies wins the NLCS MVP with a .480/.500/.720 line which included a pair of home runs and 5 RBI. In Mets lore, he’s becoming a clutch postseason star.

Onward to the World Series!

World Series

We’re back in familiar territory. The defending champion Mets are going to the World Series again in 1989. This time, they will face the California Angels. They handled the Milwaukee Brewers in four straight during the ALCS so they will come into this final series well-rested.

The Angels will be a formidable foe. At 104-58, they scored the most runs and allowed the fewest in our 1989 simulation. Their pitching staff isn’t quite as superb but one could make an argument in favor of their offense.

Game 1: Chuck Finley (21-7, 1.88 ERA) is against Sid Fernandez (19-5, 2.09 ERA) in the first game of the series in Queens. It wasn’t the low-scoring affair I expected. The Angels win 8-1. The Mets only score on a Howard Johnson solo shot.

Game 2: The Mets got some vengeance in Game 2 with a 7-0 win. Gary Carter hit a home run and is an early candidate for the series MVP—if the Mets win it all.

Game 3: In our first low-scoring game of the series, California wins 3-0. The Mets were down 2-1 in the NLCS. It’s time to have a repeat.

Game 4: The Mets drop Game 4 by a score of 6-5! Oh no. We’re now one loss away from it all coming to an end.

Game 5: We get a repeat of Game 1 with the pitching matchup. Unfortunately, Sid Fernandez is 0-2 this postseason with a 5.73 ERA. By a score of 3-2, the Angels win.

Game over, man. The Angels won the pennant and the World Series. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his deadbeat dad are a family again but the Mets season ends in disappointment.

Honors

Howard Johnson and Darryl Strawberry were both voted in as starters for the National League in the 1989 All-Star Game. They were far from alone. They were joined by David Cone, Sid Fernandez, Dwight Gooden, Randy Myers, Gregg Jefferies, and Kevin Elster.

Gooden got the start yet again, tossing a scoreless first inning. Sid Fernandez got roughed up for a run in one-third of an inning in the second with Myers nearly blowing the game with a rough 5 earned runs allowed in 1.2 innings of work. Fortunately, Cone was there for a 1.1 inning save.

At the plate, Jefferies and Elster combined to go 0 for 5. Johnson went 1 for 2 and Strawberry was 1 for 3.

Aside from sending all of these players to represent the team at the All-Star Game, there were some end-of-the-year honors to mention. One of the most notable is the Cy Young Award won by Sid Fernandez. It’s a little hollow considering his 0-3 record and 5.19 ERA in the postseason.

Nonetheless, his regular-season 19-5 record and 2.09 ERA certainly deserved high praise.

We also saw Darryl Strawberry add some more hardware to the shelf in his living room. He won his second straight Gold Glove Award. In addition to that, Strawberry won his fifth Silver Slugger.

Notable Individual Statistics

Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson shared the home run title this year with 33 each. HoJo settled for another tie as the RBI leader with 107. He’d have to share that honor with Pedro Guerrero.

Those two definitely had the best individual seasons at the plate. On the mound, we got a 16-3 season with a 1.59 ERA out of Dwight Gooden and that’s hardly the end.

David Cone was 17-9 with a 2.71 ERA and league-leading 250 strikeouts. Sid Fernandez went 19-5 with a 2.09 ERA, and Randy Myers saved 23 games with a 1.94 ERA.

As a team, the 1989 virtual Mets finished number one in runs scored, home runs, runs against, ERA for starters and relievers, and defensive efficiency.

Next. Mets 1988 Season Simulation

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The 1989 Mets are the best team in virtual franchise history although the ending wasn’t what we had hoped for. The 1980s are over but the dynasty may have one year left to continue. The 1990 season is coming up next in what may turn into our last season of glory.

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