April 17th, 2012 by Lou
Four times in the first 50 years of Mets history has the club started at 7-3 after 10 games. This year marks the fifth time.
The first time the Mets started at 7-3 was in 1986, not a bad year. The next was in ’88and then again in 1999, both seasons ending in the post season. The last time was in 2007, a year the Mets should have went to the playoffs but failed in horror the last half month of the season.
The only seasons in which the Mets finished better than 7-3 was in 1972, 1985, and 2006 at 8-2. Injuries, especially to Rusty Staub, short circuited what should have been a very promising season in ’72. The Mets fell 3 games short of the post season in ’85. And the only time the Mets made it to the post season after winning 8 of their first 10 was in 2006, the last time they went to the post season.
So the 2012 Mets are in very good company. However, nothing is guaranteed, especially in a division which could likely be the most competitive in all of baseball.
The worst start after 10 games occurred in the inaugural season of 1962 at 1-9. In fact it took a win in game 10 to eliminate an 0-10 start. The Mets have never finished better than 8-2 after the first 10.
What season did the Mets have a very bad start but finished extremely well. Never forget ’69, the season when the Mets started 3-7 then won the World Series.
April 17th, 2012 by Lou
It’s only one sixteenth of the season. But in the 10 games the Mets have played so far, I must admit I am impressed with guarded optimism.
Not that I think the Mets are going to the playoffs but I do feel the ball club is headed in the right direction. A 7-3 start could be just a lark or it could be a sign that maybe it’s time to start believing in this team again. I am keeping my expectations low but it is enjoyable watching these games. And at the center of the small success so far, front and center has been the pitching.
The Mets have the second best ERA (2.33) in the National League behind Washington (2.08), another team believing in themselves. Their WHIP is 1.33 for 11th in the league so improvement there would be a good thing. The Mets staff is third in strikeouts (83), another good stat. All the better if a batter can’t put the ball in play. However, they drop to 11th in the league in walks (36) but 10 of them came in one game. Clearly the pitching has been key.
David Wright is now the team leader, make no mistake about it. The fact he came back with a broken pinky, regardless of the fact he continues to hit, has shown his teammates what it means to care about winning.
There are seven home grown players in the starting lineup. Three of the five starting pitching are from within. The Mets are beginning to have an identity. They are young, hungry, and are out to prove all the critics wrong.
Someone mentioned this year’s Mets reminds us of 1984. Perhaps but the ’84 team had Dwight Gooden and the makings of a dominant pitching staff. This club’s pitching is good so far but the young studs of the organization are still in the minors and a couple of key prospects are struggling.
So far, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia have had a hard time at triple A. Familia gave up 6 runs last evening. In 13 plus innings, he has given up 10 earned runs. Matt Harvey is struggling as well with an ERA over 6 in three starts. It’s early at triple A for both pitchers but it points out the Mets have no one waiting in the wings, a la Doc, to come up and save the day if any of the current starting five break down. Depth remains the Mets peril.
On the horizon is Chris Young and like Johan Santana, he is coming back from shoulder surgery. There’s not much to depend on if a pitcher were to go down. The options from within are few.
Depth is also an issue offensively however the Mets got tested right out of the gate when Andres Torres strained his calf again. Kirk Nieuwenhuis has done a pretty good job both defensively and with the bat. Maybe there is some depth in the organization after all but hopefully we will not need to find out further.
Now I was sad to see Jose Reyes leave after last season. But I was also one of those Mets fans who felt it would be a big gamble giving Reyes the kind of contract he wanted for two reasons. One is obvious, his propensity to injure his hamstrings, a malady he has contended with in many of his seasons. The other is his baseball instincts. For all of the God given talent Reyes has, sorry, he is not the smartest ballplayer on the field. But do you know who is better than Reyes when comparing pure baseball instinct, range, has deeper at bats? Why Ruben Tejada, that’s who. True it’s only 10 games and many would say it’s blasphemy to compare Tejada to Reyes. I’m not comparing. I’m saying from a pure baseball perspective, Tejada has a chance to be a better team cog then Reyes. I like what I see from the young shortstop. He’s 22 and in the long run is likely the smarter choice.
So it’s 10 games, a small sampling of a long season. But consider this. The Mets are 7-3, all against division rivals. They are pitching well and hitting in the clutch. They are pulling for each other and out to prove everyone wrong. From here they could go completely in the tank but so can the other 29 teams. It’s way too early to make bold predictions. All I can say is I like what I see. At the very least, in the early season, the Mets are a fun team to watch.