They were still getting good seasons from Rusty Staub (now in his second year as a Met) and rookie John Milner who clubbed 23 home runs. Once Jones, Harrelson, and Grote returned to the lineup, the Mets began making their move. But they never would have been able to MAKE that move if not for the pitching staff. THAT is what made that Mets team a good team.
The starting staff was outstanding, and young, led by Tom Seaver, at 28 years old, who started 36 games, went 19-10, with a 2.08 ERA, pitched 18 complete games, struck out 251 hitters, and captured his second Cy Young Award.
Right behind him was 30-year-old Jerry Koosman, starting 35 games, completing 12, while winning 14 and pitching to a 2.84 ERA.
Jon Matlack, at 23, and coming off his Rookie of the Year campaign, was a great No. 3. He started 34 games, completed 14 of them, while also winning 14 and pitching to an ERA of 3.20 and striking out 205 batters.
Add to that George Stone, 26, in his first season with the Mets, who made 20 starts and went 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA.
The “old man” on the team, at 32 years of age, the only pitcher other than Koosman to be at least 30 on the staff, was former 20-game winner for the Cardinals, Ray Sadecki. And he proved to be a valuable arm both as a starter and out of the bullpen. He started 11 games and went 5-4 with a 3.38 ERA.
A 25-year-old Harry Parker also performed well both as a starter and out of the pen, going 8-4 with a 3.35 ERA.
The only starter that had a poor record was Jim McAndrew (29) who came up lame and managed only 12 starts.
And everyone knows what Tug McGraw did, at least in the stretch run. Because the 28-year-old McGraw was not having a good season until the turn around, and then he got hot just at the right time.
The point is that the 2023 Mets are at the low point of the season, now 35-43 and eight games under .500 after 78 games, and they are sinking fast. The 1973 Mets were 34-44 at the very same point, worse off than this team, but this team is worse talent-wise, and certainly not nearly as enjoyable to watch.
At least with the 1973 team, you could pretty much count on a good pitching performance. That ’73 team pitched to a 3.26 ERA. They threw 47 complete games. 47!!!
The 2023 team currently has a team ERA of 4.65. And, believe it or not, they do have ONE complete game – that by David Peterson, of all pitchers, that of the 8.08 ERA.
With that being said, let’s take a look at the six pitchers who have been the main starters for the Mets this season, with their ages and ERA’s:
Max Scherzer, 38, 3.95; Justin Verlander, 40, 4.50; Carlos Carrasco, 36, 6.19; Kodai Senga, 30, 3.52; Tylor Megill, 27, 5.17; and, of course, the aforementioned David Peterson, 27, 8.08.
And the bullpen, with the exception of 38-year-old David Robertson (1.64 ERA with 11 saves) has been, to be kind, inconsistent…to be honest…brutal.
The Mets offense has been inconsistent at best this season. Although Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor are up there in the HR and RBI numbers, that is truly deceiving because they are underperforming in other areas which proves the inconsistency. The entire lineup is either in a collective slump, or is simply using the wrong approach. Did every one of these players suddenly become putrid since the end of last season?
The pressure to score a lot of runs can’t help either. When the Mets took the field in 1973, there was a pretty good bet that if they scored three runs, sometimes just even two runs, they were going to win. The pitching was that good. The 2023 Mets take the field like they know every game is going to be like a Sunday softball league game. The pitching is that bad. The offense is that bad. The 2023 Mets…are that bad.