The Mets, the Red Sox and the anxiety of 108 wins

It’s playoff time again. If you’re a Mets fan, you may not have noticed. Since 1962, this is the 46th postseason without the Mets in it, so you could be forgiven if it had slipped your mind. In case you have missed it, the combatants this year are putting on a fabulous show. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Milwaukee Brewers are matching each other pitch-for-pitch, in what looks like the ultimate battle between sabermetrics and eyeball tests, between Moneyball and moneyed ball. Right now, the dollar Dodgers are heading to Milwaukee up three games to two. Over in the AL, the Boston Red Sox won last night to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the defending champ Houston Astros in that Championship Series. The Red Sox won 108 games during the regular season. That’s .667 baseball – winning two out of every three games is certainly a tribute to consistency, if nothing else. A few legendary teams won that many. The Mets of 1986 are one of them. These Red Sox share a trait with those Mets: 108 wins makes them distinctly nervous.

Back in ’86, the Mets were the scourge of the NL – big, bad, swaggering, curtain-calling, and yes, arrogant. They had the division basically wrapped up right after the fourth of July. They were ready to take on anybody in the NLCS…except Mike Scott. That series against the NL iteration of the Houston Astros went six games and Scott won two of them, thoroughly befuddling a hitherto dominant Mets offense, such that game six – in which the Mets won the pennant – became an epic battle, a dramatization of War and Peace, simply in order to avoid him in a seventh game. When you’re on the brink of elimination in the postseason, 108 wins doesn’t mean a whole lot.

The Red Sox have had similar doubts cast on their success as well. In their Division Series against the Yankees, they looked shaky at times, they looked vulnerable, they looked human. Until they scored 16 runs in game three, that is. And after the Astros won game one of this ALCS, the doubters became full-throated. Only since the Boston bats came alive again have the naysayers been quieted. It all goes to show that 108 definitely increases the pressure on the team that achieves them, another one of those beautiful baseball paradoxes.

It’s funny when your own success becomes your worst enemy.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley.

6 comments for “The Mets, the Red Sox and the anxiety of 108 wins

  1. Mike Walczak
    October 18, 2018 at 11:07 am

    The 86 Mets had a big contribution from Bob Ojeda who they got in a trade from the Red Sox for Calvin Schiraldi.

    Question – In your opinion, did the ump make the right call last night on calling Altuve out on the fly ball that was clearly over the fence that Betts attempted to catch, citing interference?

    • TexasGusCC
      October 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      Terrible call. Horrendous. The ball is over the fence, not in the field of play. If he catches it fine, but fans shouldn’t reach below the wall. That ball wasn’t. BS all the way.

      • Mike Walczak
        October 18, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        I agree Gus. This is what I found. I guess the question is, is a ball over the fence a ball in play ?

        According to MLB.com, fan interference occurs when a spectator goes onto the field or reaches over, under or through a barrier and touches a ball in play or interferes with a player. The two areas where this can occur are along either foul line and along the outfield fence.

  2. Pete from NJ
    October 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    My greatest thought of the Boston series was watching our guys losing game 6. How could a team that was dominant winning 108 games lose the world series. I just stared at the TV wanting to feel pain. Then magic.

    Memory failed me though: I had to look up game 6, not realizing in was the 10th inning.

    Also if the Mets went to a game 7 in the Houston playoff, they would have lost since they could not hit ex-Met Mike Scott.

    Also for Mike the Ojeda trade was a steal. Ojeda reminds me of Ojeda in so may ways except for production in his first year on the team.

    • TexasGusCC
      October 18, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Pete, not only was it the tenth inning, but Boston scored an insurance run after Henderson’s homerun. But, my best thought was when Schiraldi came in Game 7, seventh inning and you could see the upper deck bouncing from the clamoring and Schiraldi looked glass eyed and wanting to be anywhere else but in that moment.

  3. October 19, 2018 at 9:18 am

    If the pressure is on when you win 108, how about when you win 116? The 2001 Mariners did that and didn’t even make the World Series. And they haven’t been back to the playoffs since. And that’s despite massively overachieving this year. They won 89 games with a (-34) run differential.

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