Darryl Strawberry spent the bulk of his career playing in New York – first for the Mets from 1983 to 1990 and later for the Yankees from 1995 to 1999. He was a Rookie of the Year, an eight-time All-Star and a four-time World Series champion.
He also knows what it’s like to overcome an 0-2 series deficit, which is something his Mets will have to do if they hope to win their first World Series since 1986.
“Well, you start within yourself,” Strawberry said in-studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney, explaining what the Mets have to do going forward. “Sometimes you might have to make some changes in the lineup, move people around to get some things going when you’re down 0-2 like that. But as a player, we had such a swagger about us, we knew we were good enough to win. It’s about not doubting yourself. I think that’s the most important thing. Anybody that’s played at the highest level of sport, you can’t doubt yourself just because you lost two games. That’s why you have to win four games to win the World Series. They won the first two, but let’s regroup and get it going.”
But does this Mets team have the mental toughness and wherewithal to overcome an 0-2 deficit? Especially after mustering just two hits in nine innings against Johnny Cueto?
“I think the pressure has been focused on the pitching staff, and they’ve done wonderful,” Strawberry said. “You can’t rely on them just to carry you that way all the way because they’re a young pitching staff. The offense has to pick it up. Guys have to pick each other up. Some guys have to start making some things happen, and when you come to the plate, you got to be a situational hitter. I think too many guys are thinking too much instead of looking at the situation. It’s always about the situation as far as what they could do as a hitter. I always told myself as a hitter, I’ll beat the pitcher when I’m on the on-deck circle before I get in the batter’s box. Too many of them wait until they get in the batter’s box instead of beating (the pitcher) on the on-deck circle. You’re only going to get a couple good pitches and you can’t miss all of them. You got to be able to hit one of them. That’s the thing they got to start thinking as hitters: How do I make myself a better hitter in this situation and stop overanalyzing it and just get the job done?”
Game 3 is Friday in New York at 8:07 p.m. ET. The Mets will need a clutch performance from 23-year-old Noah Syndergaard, yes, but they also need to score more than one run.
“I think coming into Friday’s game, it’s not about the Mets’ pitching,” Strawberry said. “The Mets’ pitching has been good. I think they need to produce runs early in the ball game to really get the crowd into it and to really allow (Syndergaard) to know, ‘Okay, we’re coming to play’ and get a little swagger about yourself. Obviously Kansas City has it about them. If you don’t have it, the other team looking at you will go, ‘They’re weak.’ (The Mets) have to show that they can come back and win a ball game – because pitching is not a problem.”
Steiner Sports will be honoring the 30th Anniversary of the 1986 World Series Championship Mets team with a special event, offering sports fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet, mingle and celebrate with more than two dozen players from that team including Ron Darling, Lenny Dykstra, Dwight Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Ray Knight, Darryl Strawberry, and Mookie Wilson. For tickets visit, https://www.steinersports.com/events.html.