On this day in 1969, the Mets dropped 10 games behind the first-place Chicago Cubs in the NL East. On this day in 2014, the Mets are 8.5 games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the NL East, and six games behind the second-Wild Card team, the St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s unlikely that the Mets make the playoffs this year. The 2014 Mets are not the 1969 Mets, but the 2014 Mets are very much still in the hunt. That’s a little bit harder to write after a 10-game stretch where the team is 4-6, but for now, it still rings true.
The path that the Mets are going to have to take to be able to compete for the playoffs is not going to be a simple one, or one that can be achieved easily.
It starts first and foremost with the offense. If Travis d’Arnaud continues hitting somewhere near the .300/.364/.650 clip that he has been on over the last week, and over that span Juan Lagares is hitting .280/.379/.440 with his usual plus-plus-plus defense. These two keeping up their recent positive contributions at the plate help to deepen the lineup and help the team score more runs.
The addition of Matt den Dekker in the outfield alongside Lagares gives the Mets one of the most formidable defensive outfields in the NL if not all of baseball. This will help the flyball pitchers on the Mets staff, like Bartolo Colon, Jacob deGrom, Dillon Gee and Rafael Montero, as less flyballs will be falling in for hits.
Speaking of the pitching, the staff really just needs to keep doing what it has been doing. The starting staff has been terrific, and the bullpen has been great as well, save for some hiccoughs here and there.
For the Mets to compete it really comes down to the stars all aligning on offense. If everyone – or at least mostly everyone – gets going at the same time, this team can make a run. That’s the best part about the randomness of baseball. At any time a team can have a stretch where everything comes together, and if it happens at the right time it could be the difference between playing baseball in October, and playing golf.
That’s why ya gotta believe.