You hear that they’re only doing well because they’re playing bad teams or that the offense can’t keep hitting homers at this pace or how they’re terrible with runners in scoring position (RISP). It’s not that these things aren’t true, because they are. Rather, it’s bending over backwards to look for reasons to be negative, without applying any greater understanding to the big picture. It’s the equivalent of seeing an ant on the floor and then eliminating it by firing a 357 Magnum.
You can only play the teams on your schedule and it’s much better to go 9-2 than 2-5. You’re supposed to beat up on the bad teams and that’s what the Mets are doing. Besides, is it fair to call Cleveland and Cincinnati bad teams? The Indians are 9-5 and the Reds are 9-10 in games against teams besides the Mets.
Last year the Mets won 90 games because they beat up the bad teams. According to Baseball-Reference, against teams below .500, they were 62-34. Against teams .500 and above, they were 28-38. The 2016 Mets aren’t going to win 95 games by dominating the good teams. If the Mets play .500 ball against the good teams this year, 95 wins is on the table if they beat up the bad teams. After a poor start, they are close to where they need to be in this regard.
The Mets have hit 26 HR in their last 10 games. Over a 162-game season, that’s a pace for 421 homers. Since the most homers hit by a team in a single season is the 264 hit by the 1997 Seattle Mariners, it’s safe to say that this is not sustainable. But for a team whose offense is built on homers, a pace of 2 HR in 8 games wasn’t likely to keep up, either.
In August of 2015, the Mets hit 45 homers and followed up with 43 in September. Is it so unbelievable to expect the 2016 team to finish April with 34 HR, the pace they are currently on through 18 games? Just curious – are Cardinals fans gnashing teeth about their homer output? Last year they hit 27 HR in both August and September, their best homer months of the year. They hit 21 in July and 14 in April. This year they’ve hit 30 in 19 games.
Hitting with RISP has not been a team strength so far. It’s maddening to watch a game and see them go 1-9 like they did last night. But as bad as they’ve been, they’re not the worst team in baseball by any stretch of the imagination. They rank 22nd in OPS and their OPS is lower than what the worst team in MLB posted last year. It’s much more likely than not that they will improve in the category going forward. Much like the 2 HR in 8 G pace wasn’t going to last, having a .638 OPS with RISP won’t last, either. Hopefully regression here will come before too much more waiting.
One last thought here. The Braves have been almost the antithesis of the Mets this year on offense. They’re last in the league with 3 HR – well over 500 PA since they hit a homer – and they have an .841 OPS with RISP, the fourth-best mark in MLB. The Braves have played one more game than the Mets. Atlanta has 61 runs scored and ranks last in the majors in runs. The Mets are middle of the pack with 79 runs scored.
I’m happy with where the Mets are at right now. While there’s always room for improvement, it seems crazy to me to focus on the Nationals playing better or any alleged faults. Do you really want to be a nattering nabob of negativity for a team with the third-best record in the NL? It’s not that anyone should stick their heads in the sand and ignore anything that isn’t positive. Rather, it’s enjoying the things that are positive and taking delight in them.
As Ferris Bueller taught us, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Don’t be the guy who misses the good times because all you can see are problems.