How Will the Mets Finish
For the first time since 2008, the Mets are in a pennant race. Fans have lost their minds and started magic number counts, debating playoff rosters, and setting playoff rotations. This is a good thing, and certainly I’m not immune to it myself.
Currently, the Mets are 64-56 with a four game lead in the division. In 2008, they had the same record through 120 games and were tied for first place with the Phillies. In 2007, the Mets were 67-53 with a three game lead in the division. Long story, short, there’s nothing to celebrate yet . . . especially when those earlier Mets teams were better. Thankfully, those Phillies teams were better also.
Using straight winning percentage, the Mets are on pace for an 86-76 season. For the Nationals to tie, they would have to go 26-16 (.619). I don’t care how bad they’ve been lately; they are certainly capable of that. As I like to do at times, let’s dig a little deeper.
The Mets have 18 home games left and 24 road games left. With a home winning percentage of 66.67%, they will go 12-6 at home the rest of the way. With a road winning percentage of 38.60%, they will go 9-15 on the road the rest of the way. Adding it all up, this equates to a final record of 85-75 (not that different). Again, the Mets aren’t running away with anything.
Since August 1st, Yoenis Cespedes‘ first game with the Mets, the team has gone 11-6 (SSS Alert!), which is a fairly unsustainable winning percentage of 64.71% (over 162 games that equates to a 105-57 record). Of course, if they kept that up, they would go 27-15 the rest of the way, and the Mets will run away with the division with a 91-71 record. I can’t imagine the Nationals, no matter how talented they are, running off a 31-11 clip.
Now, it’s not really unrealistic the Mets have a terrific run to end the year. The Mets have 33 games against teams with a sub .500 record. They have gone 41-22 (.651) against those teams. There are only nine games against teams with a .500 or better record left on the schedule. This includes six against the Nationals. The Mets are 23-34 (.404) against such teams. Working the math out, the Mets will go 25-17 the rest of the way. That means the Mets will finish 89-73. This forces the Nationals to go from a .500 team to a team playing .643 ball just to tie the division.
For what it’s worth, 89-73 is how the Mets finished in 2008. They were one game worse in 2007. You know what? Those aren’t harbingers. They’re the records for completely different teams. Those Mets teams were being chased by different teams. Those seasons are in the rear view mirror. Let’s leave them there.
If we’re going to be concerned, let’s be concerned with the bullpen. Let’s be concerned with the handling of the rotation. Let’s be concerned with Terry Collins. Let’s not get ourselves concerned with the Ghost of Baseball Past.
Let’s just have fun and enjoy the ride.