Three reasons the 2014 Mets can make the playoffs

3D logoWith MLB’s Summer classic less than a week away, there is no better time than the present to evaluate the state of the 2014 New York Mets and their potential second half. While Spring hopes are eternal, most teams see their playoff chances whither and die in the late Summer heat.

Year after year, the Mets have been no exception. This current roster, however, does have three very important factors going for them that could culminate in a possible playoff berth; division rival’s play, second half schedule and the return of Matt Harvey.

First, to say that no one is running away with the N.L. East would be a major understatement. The Washington Nationals hold a slim one game lead over the Atlanta Braves. The same Braves team that has lost three of the first four in their current series to the Mets. The Miami Marlins are six out with our Mets eight behind and the Philadelphia Phillies sitting in last by ten games.

This is a division that the Mets can win. Atlanta, like the Mets have had issues scoring runs and holding leads at various points in the season. The Nationals are playing well but have shown a tendency to be streaky. They, too, are beatable. The Marlins are young and injured while the Phillies are old and injured. Neither team is capable of making a serious run to overtake the leaders. However, the Mets are.

Their current win streak and solid play in recent games has proved they can win against good teams. That confidence can go a long way in the dog days of August and even further down the September home stretch. If the young players continue to gel with the veterans as they have in recent weeks, the second half could be special.

Next, the Mets face an accommodating schedule. As the first half closes against the Marlins, the second half picks up with a ten game road trip with stops in San Diego, Seattle and Milwaukee, before returning home to face Philly and closing out July. Seattle and Milwaukee can be tough but when factoring in San Diego and Philly, all four series are winnable.

August will see the San Francisco Giants and the Chicago Cubs traveling to Queens, along with multiple divisional games against Washington and Philly both at home and away. Then, the team goes far away. As in the West Coast, to face the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A’s.

While it seems that these are tougher opponents, the Mets can win the divisional games and play .500 or better against the West. A sweep of the Cubs wouldn’t be out of question at that point in the season either.

As September rolls around, it all will come down to divisional play. The Mets face Washington and Miami six times each and Atlanta three times with the Colorado Rockies at home and the always tough Cincinnati Reds away squeezed in there too. To top it off, the Mets host the Houston Astros to close the season out.

These are all winnable games depending entirely upon which Mets team shows up at that point. Will it be the ones that have fizzled out in seasons passed under Terry Collins or will we see a renewed energy injected into this roster with the infusion of the current youth movement?

There is one final, major factor, an x-factor, if you will. His name is Matt Harvey. The 2013 All Star Game starter is recovering from Tommy John surgery and is slated to be potentially throwing again by the end of July and with ill-advised eyes on returning at some point in September.

The addition of Harvey, if healthy and pitching to form, is the equivalent of any trade deadline deal GM Sandy Alderson could make. Though it is very likely the team could derail that plan, Harvey seems determined and ahead of schedule at this point in his recovery and keeping him off the mound in meaningful September games may be much more of a challenge to Terry Collins and the Mets,

If he is successful, he could add that final boost of momentum that the team needs to propel them into October. Even without Harvey, the Mets are seemingly aligning themselves for a major run this season, if they play their cards right.

14 comments for “Three reasons the 2014 Mets can make the playoffs

  1. July 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Welcome back Frank!

    Harvey wants to pitch this year but I don’t think the Mets are going to let him. My guess is they’ll play it as conservatively as possible with him.

    But Jeremy Hefner has a chance to come back and if he pitches like a #2 SP like he did for half the year last season, that could be a nice boost.

  2. jcb
    July 10, 2014 at 8:52 am

    The big reason they can make the playoffs is the division. We can beat the Phillies and Braves just have to see how we do against Washington. They seem to be the team to beat.

  3. Jerry Grote
    July 10, 2014 at 9:01 am

    For me, this is the first I’ve seen your “byline” so warm welcome. Some comments:

    regarding the schedule … I read somewhere (BB-ref?) where the pretty much, everyone is facing teams that are cumulatively within a game or three from .500.

    So if the Mets are starting with a good schedule to build momentum, that only means the sword of Damacles remains to swing back over our throats.

    Ultimately – you have to better than the other guys. If there’s one reason I believe that is the case, its the recent surge in power (especially at home, but whatever).

    If there’s one reason I don’t, its because Terry Collins has pretty much burnt out the bullpen getting to this point and the cavalry coming from Las Vegas isn’t inspiring (Thornton etc).

  4. Jerry Grote
    July 10, 2014 at 9:13 am

    By the way, should the Mets be able to win … let’s say 3 of these last four games and move to within a handful of .500 …

    my best bet for Sandy is pick up Josh Willingham.

    Once again, another professional hitter that wakes up and clocks 800 OPS with tons of BB/good power,

    doesn’t cost much in terms of salary,

    likely can be had for a modest piece (Montero? Gorski? Matt DenDekker?)

    - and best of all, his LF presence should fade right about the time Conforto is available.

    Oh yeah, and has a reasonable salary.

  5. Name
    July 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Actually, to say no one is running away with the division is partially true, but Washington and Atlanta have clearly separated from the rest of the pack in the past 2 weeks. At 8 games out and behind 3 teams, it’s not impossible but highly unlikely to catch and pass 3 teams. I don’t believe it is as easy as you state it is.

    If there’s one thing to be learned, never look at the schedule and assume it will be easy or hard. Anything can and will happen in a short sampled 3-4 games series.
    Everyone thought April was going to be tough for the Mets. We finished over .500
    Everyone thought May was going to be much easier and we absolutely stunk.

    The state of our own roster is much more important in determining success than what one perceives of the competition.

    • Name
      July 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

      This should be a reason for optimism

      Granny since breathing the thin air of Coors 63 games, .277/.387/.514 901 OPS
      TDA return from Vegas, 13 games: .300/.340/.560 900 OPS
      Lucas Duda since seeing old pal Ike coming to Citi, 40 games: .295/.410/.597 1007 OPS
      Wright since June 16th, 15 games: .339/.355/.627 982 OPS
      Murphy- solid upper 700s OPS all season
      Tejada since Flores was called up, 48 games: .275/.380/.353 733 OPS

      Also Kirk and Campbell performing very well as bench players.

  6. cocopuff
    July 10, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I want what this guy’s smokin’ !!

  7. July 10, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Interesting article, Frank. Thank you.

    I am of the contention that Noah should be called up.

    I am aware of his stats, but also his extreme disappointment at being sent down. I think it would be great to give him the time to work some kinks out right here in MLB ball, rather than ‘mile high’ Vegas.

    That, along with a few other changes to push for the wild card spot including:

    Move Travis up a few slots in the order. Sluggers slug. Let him slug and not count pitches.

    Release Chris Young. I love Kirk N shortened stroke and great attitude.

    Let’s give a call up to a certain shortstop in AAA, while we are at it!

  8. blaiseda
    July 10, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    in resposne to this post:

    1. NL East – Aside from the Braves now four game slide both they and the the Nats were recently putting a good deal of distance between them and the rest of the division. 8 games is a lot of game.. even in July.

    2. Schedule – Every game will be hard fought, West coasts trips are never easy no matter who you play, every game is winnable and loseable.. and I would not start to expect the Mets to sweep anyone, home or away. It’s an expectation or hope that will disappoint.

    3. Harvey – he’s not pitching this year.

    You cant even start a discussion about making the playoffs until the team is at .500. When they are, then you can write a serious column about their playoff hopes.

  9. Chris F
    July 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    All it takes is winning a few games to forget what losing 8 of 10 really does. We are on a hot streak right now, our first 4 win streak in a year, but lets not confuse that with 80 other games in which the record says something else. I love the dreaming, but some facts. The Braves and Nats will become very difficult late in the season, particularly when the Mets are prone to melt like butter on a NYC sidewalk in August. Our pen has been mercilessly overworked by the TC, and this is, and will continue, to take a staggering toll. Metsense said this the other day, and its been a common theme for some time: the team is wildly inconsistent. We can swipe four straight from the Yankees, then go on to lose 3 straight to the Marlins (just one of the gems from last year). This hot and cold pattern is cause for utter frustration on many days followed by delusions of grandeur on others. The plain fact is, this team is not yet ready.

    I almost couldnt believe my eyes when I read Harvey coming back. The club has made clear that Harvey will not throw a pitch in anger for the big club this year.

    All that said, a 4 game sweep of the miserable Braves would be most welcomed.

  10. July 10, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Let’s not get carried away, yet. How many time in the last few years have they had a good series against the Braves, the flounder against the Fish?

  11. Patrick Albanesius
    July 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    The rest of the schedule looks fairly tough to me. Anything is possible, but I need to see more than 4 great games to say this is more than a nice run.

  12. Metsense
    July 10, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    At the half way mark the Mets were 37-44 or half way to another 74 win season.
    They should have a better second half just because their young players should improve over their first half. Players like Wheeler, deGrom, Mejia, Familia, Black, Edgin, Germen, Lagares and TdA should all be of the mind set that they are major league players and have to show management that they belong in the 2015 plans.They should be motivated. Ten games into the second half and they are playing .500 ball which is an improvement. Every game above .500 in the second half will start to breed a winning attitude and the confidence of being a winner. Then when 2015 rolls around, there will be a foundation of winning with an ace starter and closer coming back and the front office bringing in a impact outfield bat.
    The enthusiasm of the author is exuberant but I’ll place my expectations on a plus .500 second half and be pleased.

  13. Brett G
    July 12, 2014 at 1:52 am

    Oh My God! The mets have absolutely no chance of making the playoffs much less finishing 500. Its funny when a teams either wins or loses more than a few games in a row, all the nutbags come out. lastly, Harvey would have minimal impact because the position is already a strength. You can easily argue a return of Harvey could have a negative impact. Gee Niece and Wheeler are mainstays. Is Harvey, coming off injury, over DeGroom is narrowly an upgrade.

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