After Wednesday’s gut-wrenching loss and Thursday’s abysmal performance, there was plenty of reasons to be pessimistic.
The New York Mets lost a key game to the Nationals, in a horrible way, which furthered the Mets from first place in the NL East. Then the next day, they offered one of the worst lineups you’ve ever seen against baseballs best pitcher, and played exactly how you thought they would.
With two wins, the Mets would right now be tied for first place. But instead, they are still three games behind. You’ve probably been thinking and dreading over this way too much already, so we’ll move on to the good part.
Despite the terrible losses, there are plenty of reasons to still have hope. The Mets are only three games out of the division and wild card races, with plenty of baseball to be played. Travis d’Arnaud is scheduled to return next week, and David Wright has finally been cleared for baseball activity. Michael Conforto will be in New York soon, and maybe some other pleasant surprise via trade. There are some key guys making their way to New York, so that in itself is a phenomenal reason to be excited for the final 2+ months of the season.
But there’s another reason. And it’s a big one.
Take a look at the Mets schedule, and you’ll see that 48 of the team’s remaining 66 games are against teams under .500. That’s over 70%.
What makes this so exciting, though, is how strong this team has played against sub-.500 teams this year. The Mets have won 34 of 52 games this year, which equates to a win percentage of 66%. On the flip side, it has been really ugly against teams above .500, (15 of 44, which equates to a win percentage of 34%), but luckily for the Mets, they play only 18 more games this year against high caliber teams.
Now, here’s the best part; If you take the Mets winning percentages against team’s above/under .500 and convert it over the course of the rest of the year, the Mets are projected to finish with 87 wins. Yes, 87 wins.
If you don’t believe me, let’s do some math together:
48 games remain against teams below .500. The team’s percentage vs. those teams is 66%. (48 x .66) ≈ 32. This projects the Mets to win 32 of those 48 games.
Now, 18 games remain against teams above .500, in which the Mets have a winning percentage of 34%. (18 x .34) ≈ 6. This projects the Mets to win 6 of the remaining 18 games against their above average opponents.
Now, let’s add up all the wins. (49 current wins) + (32 wins vs. < .500 teams) + (6 wins vs. > .500 teams) = 87 wins.
87 wins is good. Probably a lot more then you would have projected right now. That number should be more than enough to place the Mets right in the thick of the playoff race.
But that’s not all. This all under the assumption that the Mets don’t improve at all against better teams. There is reason, though, to believe they can. d’Arnaud is expected back next week. Wright potentially could join the team in a month. Something is going to happen by the deadline, whether it’s a trade or Conforto. Chances are, they will be throwing out a better lineup in the second half then they did most of the first half. Maybe they can win 9 of 18 instead of 6 of 18. Guess what, then you’re at 90 wins.
Granted, this is also assuming that the Mets don’t regress vs. sub-.500 teams. But there’s not a great amount of reason to believe they should. They’ve played shorthanded almost all year, and winning 66% of 52 games is a pretty large sample size.
As rough as the recent patch has been, things are looking good ahead. Yes, the Mets would be in much better position if either/both of Wednesday and Thursday’s games had been won, but nevertheless, the Mets schedule should give fans plenty of reason to be realistically excited. Suddenly, landing their first playoff birth in eight years might not seem too far fetched.