Six games back with six games to play, the 2nd place New York Mets met the NL East division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in St. Louis for a three game series beginning on October 1, 1985 in my replay of the National League season. The Cards’ magic number was 1, meaning they needed to win only one of the three games to clinch the division.
It was an incredible series, highlighted by a 15-inning contest in game two, in which two 20-game winners (Dwight Gooden and Joaquin Andujar) started. Ultimately, though, through grit, talent, and luck, the Mets swept the series and have kept themselves alive; they are now just three games back of the Cardinals with each team having three regular season games left on the schedule.
I started this “1985 NL Cy Young Race” replay way the heck back in 2011. The concept was simple: I’d replay all of the starts of 3 1985 NL Cy Young contenders (Dwight Gooden, John Tudor, Fernando Valenzuela) with Strat-O-Matic cards & dice, and autoplay all other games using the PC version.
As the season unfolded over time I found myself interested in far too many of the games to keep up with the original conceit. I decided then to shift to a full PC-only replay wherein I manually play any games that interest me on any given day (never skipping the starts of the original 3 CY contenders, of course), and autoplaying the rest.
The Cincinnati Reds clinched the NL West on October 1st, when they beat the Giants to improve to 94-62, while Dodgers relievers couldn’t hold a 6-run lead in the 8th inning to the Padres, the loss dropping them to 87-70.
In the titular NL Cy Young race, Dwight Gooden (22-11, league-leading 1.55 ERA and 315 K) is still the front-runner. Tudor (19-8, 2.21 ERA, 158 K) and Valenzuela (15-12, 3.24 ERA, 197 K) have each pitched well, but other pitchers have emerged in the race ahead of each of them. Tom Browning (20-6, 2.48 ERA) of the Reds, Houston’s Nolan Ryan (17-8, 2.07 ERA, 217 K), and Orel Hershiser of the Dodgers (19-6, 2.45 ERA), most notable.