Can the virtual New York Mets successfully defend their National League Pennant crown? A late-season run gives them a shot.
The virtual New York Mets are coming off of a miraculous 2007 season that ended in a 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees in the World Series. Nobody expected them to do all that much. They silenced those doubters big time.
David Wright now has two MVPs in his home and last year he was a batting title shy of winning the Triple Crown. The window for winning is still wide open. If the club can get some better pitching in 2008, maybe it happens.
Putting a pause on the excitement briefly, let’s recap how past Mets seasons went:
1970: 101-61 (NLCS loss 3-2)
1971: 100-62 (World Series Champions)
1985: 98-64 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1987: 95-67 (NLCS loss 4-3)
1988: 99-63 (World Series Champions)
1989: 110-52 (World Series loss 4-1)
1990: 103-59 (World Series loss 4-0)
2005: 97-65 (NLCS loss 4-1)
2007: 89-73 (World Series loss 4-2)
The Mets are still a potent team capable of doing amazing things. What will they accomplish in our 2008 simulation?
Coming off of their Wild Card berth and eventual World Series appearances in 2007, the virtual Mets are riding high into the preseason. Preseason predictions have them finishing in a tie with the Atlanta Braves at 93-69. Luckily, this means a playoff berth regardless because it’s the best record in the National League.
Defending MVP David Wright is expected to hit 29 home runs and drive in 113 while hitting .310. He’s joined on the list of top players by Carlos Beltran. The experts think he’ll hit 28 home runs and drive in 111.
The Mets also have a new ace on their staff. Johan Santana is now in New York after what has been a very strange simulated career. For some reason, he has played for the Florida Marlins and been used as a starter and elite reliever. Regardless, he’s expected to go 15-11 with a 2.59 ERA. Let’s see how the Mets use him.
As for actual standings in the preseason, the club finished 14-16. I’ve learned not to count these preseason results at all. Soon, the games will actually count and we can judge the team for what they truly are over the next 162.
Regular Season Results
The National League title defense did not go well for the Mets in the first half. Whenever I simulate these seasons and the team makes the playoffs, it takes a little more time. This one is going to be quick.
The Mets concluded the first half of the year with a pitiful record of 42-53. We can barely blame it on injuries. This team is just having a down year.
Any hope of turning this year around felt lost as the team entered the second half. About a dozen games out of the Wild Card, this was a season to reflect on what went wrong.
In the final weeks, the Mets were able to at least play some competent baseball. At the start of September, they were only eight games behind the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Unfortunately, the playoffs in this 2008 simulation would only include four teams from each league and not the ridiculously high eight we saw in 2020. The Mets woke up too late. The 2008 season ends with a record of 86-76. The Braves actually had a massive collapse versus the Philadelphia Phillies and missed the playoffs entirely! The Mets settle for third-place and some pats on the back.
The 2008 Mets sent only one player to the All-Star Game. It wasn’t David Wright. It wasn’t Johan Santana. Mike Pelfrey represented the orange and blue in the Midsummer Classic. He was 6-4 with a 2.31 ERA upon the selection—tied for the team lead in wins and ahead of everyone in ERA.
In continuing with the theme of this poor year, Pelfrey earned a blown save in the game by allowing two earned runs without recording a single out. Fortunately, the National League still won the game.
The lone end of season award went to Carlos Beltran. He won his third Gold Glove and first as a member of the Mets. There were no single-game accomplishments of note to mention.
Notable Individual Statistics
In his first year with the Mets, Johan Santana had an underwhelming campaign. At 14-15, his record was poor. However, with a 2.84 ERA, we can see he was better than his record shows.
A big reason for this was because of how inept the offense was at times. The 2008 virtual Mets were not a team that scored very much. David Wright was great again. He hit .310, smacked 29 home runs, and drove in 100. Carlos Delgado led the team with 33 dingers but hit only .249.
As for Carlos Beltran, his season included a .273 average, 22 home runs, and 95 RBI. The rest of the offense didn’t do anything of note except for maybe Jose Reyes who had another fine year that included a .287 average and a league-leading 197 hits.
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Balance was missing from the 2008 Mets. They didn’t have enough offense to make up for their mediocre pitching. If our 2009 simulation is going to be any better, they need to find more ways to score runs or discover a way to prevent runs from scoring.