This Year’s Mets Are Built Similar to the 2010 San Francisco Giants


The trek through the postseason continues, as both League Championship Series are through two games. The Kansas City Royals lead the Toronto Blue Jays two games to none as Kansas City looks to make a return to the World Series, where they fell in dramatic fashion in 2014. On the National League side, the New York Mets have taken the first pair against the Chicago Cubs, and they continue to look more and more like the 2010 version of the San Francisco Giants.

The 2015 version of the Mets are built in an extremely similar way to the Giants from 2010 that won the World Series for the first time since moving across the continent to San Francisco. The calling card for each team is their starting pitching. The Giants rode the back of their rotation all the way to the World Series in 2010, and this year’s Mets are in prime position to do the same thing.

In 2010, the Giants’ ace was Tim Lincecum, who was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball at the time. The diminutive Lincecum, all 170 pounds soaking wet of him, was coming off consecutive Cy Young seasons in 2008 and 2009, in which he dominated every hitter that took the box against him. He failed to win his third consecutive award for pitching dominance in 2010, but when the lights shined their brightest in his postseason debut, Lincecum shone brighter.

In game one of the 2010 NLDS, Lincecum toed the rubber against the Atlanta Braves. In what would be a 1-0 contest, Lincecum fired a complete game two-hit shutout, striking out 14 opposing hitters to get the Giants started out on the right foot in their pursuit of a title.

Jacob deGrom is the Mets’ version of Lincecum, and aesthetically, the comparison is really easy to make. deGrom isn’t a large guy, as he tips the scales at 180 pounds, and his long, flowing hair is reminiscent of prime Lincecum.

deGrom exploded onto the scene in 2014 as a 26-year-old rookie, going 9-6 for the Mets with a 2.69 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, and more than a strikeout per inning (144 strikeouts in 140.1 innings). This year, he was even better, going 14-8 in 30 starts with a 2.54 ERA, 0.979 WHIP, and 205 strikeouts in 191 innings.

In his postseason debut, deGrom dazzled like Lincecum did in 2010. Although he didn’t go the distance, deGrom pitched seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and striking out 13 batters while leading the Mets to a huge game one victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Only seven pitchers have struck out at least 13 hitters in their postseason debut. One is deGrom, and one is Lincecum.

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The staff is strong behind deGrom, much like it was for the Giants in 2010. The Giants had Matt Cain as their second-in-command to Lincecum, and the Mets have Matt Harvey. While Cain was the second fiddle, he didn’t pitch like that. In three starts in the 2010 postseason (one in each series), Cain allowed only one unearned run in 21.1 innings, while 20 baserunners reached against him.

While Harvey wasn’t exactly dominant in his postseason debut, allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings, he bounced back in resounding fashion in game one of the NLCS. In 7.2 innings (his longest start in over two months), Harvey allowed just four hits and two runs to the high-powered Cubs’ offense, leading the way to the Mets opening game victory.

Rookie Madison Bumgarner had a big helping hand as the Giants hoisted the trophy in 2010, and this year, Mets’ rookie Noah Syndergaard has played a large part. Bumgarner, just barely past legal drinking age in October of 2010, pitched in four October games, and while he was effective but not necessarily dominant through the first two series, his World Series mastery began that year. In game four of the World Series against the Texas Rangers, Bumgarner spun a masterpiece, allowing just three hits and two walks to the Rangers in eight shutout innings.

Syndergaard took a loss in his first October start, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings of NLCS game two, but came out of the bullpen in the deciding game five, and pitched a dominant inning with two strikeouts, showing off his blazing fastball velocity. In game two of the NLCS, Syndergaard used that same velocity to subdue the Cubs again.

Syndergaard was given a three-run lead in the first inning, and he made it stand up over 5.2 dominant innings, allowing one run while striking out nine before handing the reigns to his bullpen. Facing the likely 2015 Cy Young favorite Jake Arrieta, the Mets won 4-1 to push ahead of the Cubs 2-0 in the series.

Both teams also had a dominant closer who can make small leads stick. In 2010, the Giants used Brian Wilson, who pitched 11.2 innings in the postseason, allowed one run, recorded six saves, and struck out 16 before getting the final out in 2010 by blowing a fastball by Nelson Cruz. This year, the Mets are riding Jeurys Familia.

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In the NLDS against the Dodgers, Familia appeared in four games, and retired every one of the 16 batters he faced. Familia has pitched in both legs of the NLCS so far, allowing two hits and a walk in 2.1 innings, but converting both save opportunities in the process.

Daniel Murphy is this year’s version of Cody Ross, as both caught fire at the right time to lead an offense that wasn’t the scariest, but good enough to win behind their starters. Ross was the NLCS MVP in 2010, as he hit .350 with three home runs, including two against Roy Halladay, the Cy Young award winner in 2010.

Murphy has been unstoppable in October so far. In the NLDS, he took Clayton Kershaw deep twice, and hit what would be the series-winning home run against Zack Greinke. Against the Cubs, Murphy has taken Jon Lester and Arrieta out of Citi Field, continuing his hot-hitting ways. If he can keep this up, he’ll follow in Ross’ footsteps as the NLCS MVP.

The Mets still have a long way to go to end up where the 2010 Giants did. They have to come away with two more wins against a very, very good Cubs team, and then have to win four games against either the Royals or Blue Jays. Nothing is given at this point. But the Mets are built to win in October, just like the Giants were.

Next: Are the Cubs This Year's Giants?