Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 17, 2006
BASEBALL: Question of the Day

The 1973 Mets entered October with a tremendous 4-man rotation, a solid bullpen - and a completely punchless offense led by Rusty Staub, Cleon Jones and John Milner. Which would you rather have in the postseason: that team or this one, as it stands today? Great as Seaver, Koosman, and Matlack were, and as big an impact as big-time starters can make, I think I'd still take the current team, with its deep, powerful and versatile offense, and I'd certainly take this team if you added El Duque back into the mix.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:49 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

'73 Mets
Conventional wisdom as we all know states that "good pitching beats good hitting every time". I disagree with that adage. Great pitching will beat good hitting, but great pitching may not beat great hitting. There is no doubt that the '73 Mets had great pitching, but while I think the '06 Mets hitting is very good, it isn't great. Maybe as a ex-pitcher I am biased.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 17, 2006 2:08 PM

Irish, I disagree. Great pitching will beat anything. However, what defines great pitching is generally a great pitcher, great middle defense and generally a beneficial ballpark. That is one thing that made Pedro unique. In his prime, he didn't seem to need the advantages Koufax and Gibson had from Dodger Stadium or a 15" mound, plus a microscopic strike zone.

However, I think the definition of great pitching has changed. The Braves had great starting pitching, but the bullpen was suspect.

I would take the Mets today--well the healthy Mets anyway. Reyes, Wright, Beltran and Delgado are simply far superior to Bud Harrelson and the rest. Plus LoDuca is a large improvment to Grote. Maybe Grote is a better pitcher handler, I don't know. For sure, LoDuca is a better hitter. And the Met bullpen now is special.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 17, 2006 3:11 PM

This Mets lineup, good as it is, isn't any better than Rose, Mogan, Bench, Perez, etc - and the '73 Mets beat them.

Posted by: Jerry at October 17, 2006 3:12 PM

I don't define great pitching as one great pitcher. I define great pitching as 3 or more great starters and a solid pen. The '73 Mets had that. Additionally, they had some young pitchers in teh pen that experienced success on their own. Parker ended up being a decent pitcher and Capra won an ERA tite. I would also argue that McGraw was better than Wags. Billy may throw harder, but how often did he give up a lead in the ninth? Give me 2 runs with Seaver on the mound and Tug in the pen and I will take my chances.

Posted by: maddirishman at October 17, 2006 3:18 PM

Interesting comparison to the 1973 Reds. Of course those Reds had good pitching too.

2006 Mets scored .39 runs/game over the league average.
1973 Reds scored .42 runs/game over the league average.

So, yeah, 1973 Reds offense was better than the 2006 Mets offense. And the '73 Mets beat the Reds.

The interesting thing is that the '73 Mets scored .37 runs/game LESS than the league average - they were next to last in runs/game. They were a really, really weak hitting team. Conversely, the '06 Mets, as weak as their starters are without Pedro and El Duque, are nowhere near bottom of the league in pitching.

Posted by: Al at October 17, 2006 3:29 PM

I would take the 86 Mets over the 06 Mets. Likewise I would take the 85 Cardinals over the 06 Cardinals. Distill that and I would take the 85 Cards over the 86 Mets.

For the question at hand, I would take the 73 Mets over the 06 Mets. An interesting match-up based on regular season win totals would be the 73 Mets (82 wins) versus the 06 Cards (83 wins).

I am a proponent of the good pitching beats good hitting school. As for Senor Pedro de Shea, I would rather having Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax pitching in the 9th inning than Pedro Martinez. You want the complete game win, go with Gibby or Khufu NOT Pedro.

Posted by: Yetijuice at October 17, 2006 8:08 PM

Yeti, put Pedro in 1968 and he would have gone 31-2, with probably 25 complete games. Put Sandy in today, and he would be 18-5 with 2 complete games. The eras don't mix, b ut any way you look at it, Koufax in Dodger Stadium in the 60s is a lot easier to pitch in than Fenway in the late 90s.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at October 17, 2006 8:12 PM

"Good pitching beats good hitting". This is true, up to a point. Any pitcher starts with a natural advantage-he's standing 60 feet away, and if he's worth his salt can throw the ball blindingly fast-even 85 MPH is pretty damn fast-and that worth-his salt-pitcher can put the ball where he wants, within a modest margin of error, most of the time. Plus he'll have other pitches that move a lot.

But not even Bob Gibson in his prime could throw 100 perfect pitches in a game. Every pitcher makes some mistakes in the course of every game, and even perfect pitches are blooped in for hits sometimes. So, no pitcher is so consistently good that he can, without fail, shut down a fine hitting team.

Posted by: John Salmon at October 17, 2006 9:20 PM

With great pitching and no offense, you lose a lot of games 1-0 and 2-1. In the playoffs, of course, luck can help overcome that.

Posted by: Linus at October 17, 2006 11:24 PM
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