The winning continued for the New York Mets yesterday as they rallied to defeat the Washington Nationals 3-2. The victory brought the Mets’ record to 6-1 on the season, a feat they have achieved on the strength of three consecutive series victories. While 6-1 may not seem like a huge deal, it is actually one of the best starts to a season for the Mets in franchise history.
The last time the Mets won six of their first seven games came back in the 2006 season, when Willie Randolph’s bunch went on to win 97 games and their first division title since 1988. Prior to that, the Mets started 6-1 in 1984, which happened to be the first year that Davey Johnson began his tenure as Mets’ manager. Johnson’s Mets won 90 games that year and finished second in the National League East, but missed the playoffs because the Chicago Cubs won 96 games to capture the division title. If the wild card had been around back then, the Mets would have made the postseason (they could have made the playoffs seven straight years if MLB used the Division Series, but that’s a gripe for another day).
The 1984 situation is an interesting comparison, because like that year the Mets have begun 2018 with success under a new manager. Mickey Callaway has won six of his first seven games as Mets’ skipper, tying Johnson for the best start to a season in team history and only trailing Joe Torre for the best beginning to a Mets’ managerial career. Torre took over the Mets in the middle of the 1977 season and started 7-1 in what would become a lost season.
No one is saying Callaway is going to be the next Davey Johnson yet, but he has gotten the Mets off to a good start and the players seem to be buying in to his process. SNY’s Keith Hernandez made an interesting point about this Mets’ team over the weekend, particularly in reference to their current series with the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have bullied the Mets over the past several years in a similar manner to how the St. Louis Cardinals used to give the Mets fits in the mid 80’s. Hernandez recalled an early season series in St. Louis in 1986, when the Mets went to town and swept the Cardinals to set a tone for the season. That Mets team went on to run away with the National League East and remains the last group to hoist the World Series trophy in Queens.
It’s awfully early to compare these Mets to the 1986 team, but they have an opportunity to send that kind of message tonight by completing a sweep of the Nationals. A sweep of the Nationals in Washington, even though the Nationals don’t have Met killer Daniel Murphy in the lineup, would send a message to the rest of the league that the Mets mean business this season. It could also be the springboard to another fun season, something Mets’ fans desperately want after a disastrous 2017 season that saw the team lose 92 games. It’s beginning to get exciting again in Queens, and that is a great thing.