After falling into a first-place tie with the Braves atop the NL East, the 2022 Mets have regained a half-game divisional lead as they prepare to face the Marlins on Friday. Their schedule is conducive to them going on a run prior to October, but they have to actually get it done.
While we wait and see if manager Buck Showalter’s club can finish the regular season with a flourish, let’s look back at some other great Mets moments from past Septembers, shall we? Yes, let’s do that.
OTD in 1969: The black cat game
The first-place Cubs visited Shea Stadium with the Mets breathing down their necks after being as many as 9.5 games back in August. Outside of the pennant race, New York was looking to make a different kind of history that night. With a win, they’d clinch the franchise’s first-ever winning season.
The Mets were already up 4-0 in the top of the fourth, but Chicago’s curse continued after a black cat ran in front of Ron Santo while he was waiting on deck. That was all the good mojo New York would need. They beat the Cubs, 7-1 to pull within a half-game of first place and secure the franchise’s first winning record.
You all know what happened next. New York finished 100-62 and won the NL East by eight games. They’d go on to win the World Series by upsetting the heavily-favored Orioles in five games.
OTD in 2015: Mets put nail in Nats’ coffin
9/9/2015 Kelly Johnson and Yoenis Céspedes homer in the top of the eighth to give the Mets a 4-2 lead. Jeurys Familia pitches a perfect ninth inning as the Mets sweep the three game series against the Nationals.@ynscspds pic.twitter.com/wz6jFicSAY
— This Day in Mets History (@NYMhistory) September 9, 2021
It’s hard to believe New York’s run to the 2015 World Series was already seven years ago. A fast April was followed by mostly treading water with an anemic offense until Sandy Alderson acquired some midseason reinforcements. One of those was Yoenis Cespedes, who completely changed the dynamic of the Mets’ lineup.
New York already pulled ahead of the Nats in early August, but Washington welcomed the Mets to D.C. for three contests while being just four games back in the division. A big showing would’ve made things a lot more interesting down the stretch. However, it was just an opportunity for the Mets to rip the Nats’ hearts out.
Manager Terry Collins watched his team begin an eight-game win streak by sweeping Washington, and in gut-wrenching fashion for Nats fans.
Each of these wins included late-game comebacks. During these three matchups, New York outscored Washington 14-1 from the seventh inning on. For the finale (as you can see above), Kelly Johnson and Cespedes supplied the heroics with a pair of home runs before Jeurys Familia closed it out.
Can Mets history repeat itself?
There doesn’t need to be a black cat or a dramatic comeback win on Friday (although that’d be OK, too) for history to repeat itself in Flushing. What they could use is a little of that overall September magic down the stretch en route to a Fall Classic appearance.
In 1969, the Mets went 24-8 from September 1st through the end of the regular season. If we look at 2015, New York posted a 17-14 record during the same period, but it was preceded by a 20-8 performance in August.
Of course, both squads ended up reaching the World Series, so we’ll see if there’s any magical late-season mojo the Mets can capture in the last few weeks of the 2022 regular season.
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