Doc Gooden looked into his crystal ball this week told the baseball world that he expects a 1986 World Series matchup where the New York Mets would prevail over the Boston Red Sox in six games.. Does he have a point? Or is he just giving us a diehard fan’s point of view?
The Mets and Red Sox are both entering 2017 coming off playoff seasons that both ended short of the ultimate goal, with the Mets losing a 3-0 heartbreaker to the Giants in the Wild-Card game, and the Red Sox getting swept in the Divisional round by the eventual American League Champion Cleveland Indians. A playoff appearance by the Mets this year would be an unprecedented third straight, while Boston looks to head to the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2008-2009.
Why the Mets can win this season: Although they did not sign any Free Agents from outside the organization this year, they did resign Yoenis Cespedes, and return nearly all the players who spent considerable time on the Disabled List last season. Even with injuries coming out of Spring Training to Steven Matz and Julio Lugo, and Matt Harvey being on an innings limit this year, the Starting Rotation is strong with Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler and Robert Gsellman.
Why the Red Sox can win this year: Boston was much more active this offseason, trading for former White Sox ace Chris Sale to a rotation that also includes David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright. The retirement of David Ortiz was offset somewhat by the signing of Mitch Moreland, and Boston has a potent lineup with Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts.
The Mets Achilles Heel this year is: in one word, Health. Plain and simple the Mets fortunes this year will be based on whether they can avoid long visits to the Disabled List. The past two years have proven that they seem to be unbeatable when they are healthy, as evidence by the hot starts in April and furious finishes in September. It’s the months of May through August that will determine how successful the season will be.
The Boston Red Sox Achilles Heel this year is: Like the Mets, its health. Especially in the case of Price, who enters the season with some huge question marks in this area. The Sox success this year will also be based on how well Ramirez and Sandoval play.
Who can stop the Mets march to the World Series: The Mets enter the season with expectations tempered a bit by many of the online pundits. The Washington Nationals are picked by many to win the Division, with the Mets fighting to earn a Wild-Card spot. The Dodgers are also strong this season, with the World-Champion Cubs (still feels odd saying that) looking for a repeat.
Who can stop the Red Sox this year: Boston will face stiff competition from their own Division this year; with the Yankees coming on strong, and the Blue Jays also seeking a third straight trip to the American League Championship Series. The Indians are the favorite to win the AL among many prognosticators.
Gooden is probably right to predict a Mets Red Sox 1986 re-match this year, but I would not go to Las Vegas and bet my house on it. The Mets will use the ‘underdog status’ to prove everyone wrong. The Red Sox will be in a fight for a playoff spot right up to the very end. On paper, this could very well be a possible Fall Classic matchup. But as the old saying goes, the games are not played on paper. We will have to see how the next 162 games play out and if everything becomes clear in the playoffs.