The New York Mets have played like a championship-caliber team all season long, and longtime fans can look to this team and compare it well with their two championship teams of 1969 and 1986. The Mets have several ingredients required to be a champion this year, with great starting pitching, an elite offense, and a shutdown closer in Edwin Diaz.
But what allows this Mets team, the one with the second best record in baseball this season, to be compared to those teams? Three reasons help explain that feel.
1) The Mets starting pitching is deep, elite, and mostly stayed healthy.
Doesn’t every championship team begin with starting pitching? We think so, but the Mets are a team that has always thrived on its starting pitching. This year is no different, as the Mets employ an elite rotation and elite depth pitchers this season, with Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco, and Taijuan Walker as a pretty darn good quintet of a rotation. The Mets depth was good enough to survive the injuries to deGrom and Scherzer this season, and the other three have stepped up.
The Mets had something similar to that in their two World Series winning teams. The Mets had Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman headline a remarkable rotation in 1969, in which both pitchers threw for more than 240 innings and a 2.30 ERA or less. Seaver and Koosman pitched four of the five World Series games, in which they went 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA in the World Series against the mighty Baltimore Orioles. Koosman went the full nine in the clincher in Game 5 at Shea Stadium.
Then, in 1986, the Mets had the No. 1 staff ERA in the majors, led by their top four starters in Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda, and Sid Fernandez. They all tossed more than 200 innings that year in 30 starts or more, and all but one had an ERA under 3.00. And it was the starting pitching led by Ojeda and Darling that allowed the Mets the recipe to win the World Series despite losing the first two games of the series at Shea Stadium.
The Mets have the starting pitching recipe to win it all because more often than not, the Mets’ starting pitcher will be better than the opposing starting pitcher.