Can the Mets get off to a hot start again?

Reyes, Cabrera, CespedesOver the course of a 162-game season, the first 25 games can make a big difference. The first month of six sets the tone, particular this coming season for the Mets, when the league has made all eight series against NL East rivals. For three straight years now the Mets have gotten off to strong starts, going 15-7 last year, 15-8 the year prior, and 15-10 in 2014. Let’s hope we can do it again.

The Mets will open with a six-game homestand at Citi Field. It’s great that they’ll have the home crowd behind them, but five of those six early April games will be night games, which, in New York, is likely going to mean some brisk weather. We’ll start with the Braves and Marlins, two teams with pretty potent lineups, suspect pitching, and a knack for sticking it to the Mets. Game one, a day game on Monday, April 3 will feature a matchup of Noah Syndergaard and Julio Teheran. Neither pitcher is likely to give up many hits, nor last more than six innings. Hopefully, the Mets can rally behind a superior bullpen and start off 1-0. Freddie Freeman might go 10 for 15 in the series, but, we can hold Dansby Swanson and the rest of the lineup in check while scoring some runs off of our old friends, Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey. Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and the rest of the Marlins lineup will give us fits, but we should be able to feast on a weak pitching staff on our way to a 4-2 home stand.

Next, the Mets hit the road for three games against the still rebuilding, but somewhat improved Phillies. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz, the last of the glory days players are gone and the team is now led by up-and-comers like Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera. They’ll likely improve as the season progresses, but, at least early on, they should be no match for the Mets. This sweepable series is followed by four nice warm games in Miami where we can take three of four.

The Mets, at 10-4, return home for three three-game series against the Phillies, Nationals, and Braves. A 6-3 home stand would be great, but 5-4 might be more realistic. The Nationals are going to be tough again this year with the return of a top-notch rotation, Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy in the lineup, plus the emergence of Trea Turner and the addition of Adam Eaton. Their bullpen is without a true closer and the bottom of their lineup is weak, yet there’s still enough talent to repeat as NL East champs – but we’re not going to let that happen.

At 15-8, the Mets hit the road for a rematch with the Nationals. Even if we lose two out of three, we finish the month 16-10. That would be a solid start. With the weather warming up, the starting pitchers stretching out, and reinforcements coming in the way of Jeurys Familia off suspension, Zack Wheeler possibly off extended spring training, and David Wright possibly off the injured list, the momentum will keep us atop the division.

Here we go. Just 10 days until Syndergaard steps tot the mound, stares down the Braves’ Ender Inciarte, and throws the first pitch of the Mets’ 2017 season at Citi Field. Let’s go Mets!

15 comments for “Can the Mets get off to a hot start again?

  1. Chris F
    March 24, 2017 at 10:00 am

    So far the Mets have done little to stop Dansby Swanson, and don’t forget Ender Inciarte. On the Marlins, Martin Prado, Justin Bour, and Dee Gordon have little fear of Mets pitching. I think we should be worrying about 1 game at a time.

  2. March 24, 2017 at 11:39 am

    It feels like the Mets always start hot and stumble a little after. Same goes with their first half numbers too.

  3. Matt Netter
    March 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Mike – That is correct. Over the same three years, 2014-2016, the Mets were lousy to mediocre in May and June.

  4. March 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Off-topic, but it’s really good to see Angel Hernandez is in mid-season form…

  5. Popeye
    March 24, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Let’s count our chicks before they hatch!

  6. Eraff
    March 24, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Chris F— are you really going to “worry” about game 1?

    • Chris F
      March 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

      I dont like predicting records for a month of games where we’re still 10 days from even playing real baseball

  7. John Fox
    March 24, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    The end of the season is similar to the start in the sense that from Sept. 15 on all scheduled games are against divisional rivals, that’s a good thing especially if the Eastern Division race is close.

  8. Matt Netter
    March 24, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    I’d like to feel more confident about that given that the NL East is considered a weak division, but Mets fans know full well that this division is not so weak. The Phillies are probably still a few years away, but the Marlins and Braves have enough talent, especially on the offensive side, to give us trouble.

  9. BK
    March 24, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    I want to see that first series against Atlanta. I have no empirical basis for this, but I feel like they may be improved over last season.

  10. Metsense
    March 24, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Matt, I like your looking ahead articles and the ability to set realistic goals, not predictions, for the next segment of the schedule. Looking ahead is what gave me the confidence last August not to lose faith and advocate a playoff berth was still possible for the Mets. I think that 16-10 is a very realistic goal and if accomplished will set the tone for their Division Championship and 95 win season. I have alot of confidence because Harvey is our fifth best pitcher (or maybe 6th best) and the lineup is solid from 1-8 even when a reserve is playing. I haven’t seen a Met team this good since 1986.Lets Go Mets!

    • MattyMets
      March 25, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Metsense, I share your optimism. My fan dream is to just get one year when all the pitchers are healthy. With four out of five healthy we won the pennant. With all five I really think we could win the WS.

  11. Michael
    March 25, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Love the optimistic predictions, but what if we start 6 & 10 instead of 10 & 6?

  12. Jimmy P
    March 25, 2017 at 10:44 am

    I just hope the offense is up to the challenge. Even with great starting pitching, it will be difficult to win more than 90 games with below-average run production.

  13. Eraff
    March 25, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Is there a “Pythagorean” for Runs Scored? Granted, the Mets are Station-Station on offense, with lots of HR…but the 2016 runs scored versus a .316 obp amd .733 ops seems to be “almost accidental” when you look at the statistical results from other teams.

    There was an extreme hit and miss/huge lineup holes feature because of injuries—still…… Grandy’s line seems to reflect the entire team—at least I can understand/explain that he was leading off or hitting with empty bases (and maybe thats why he saw pitches to hit???).

    I am spooked by their Run Scoring difficiencies, even with such a Legendary Hitting Coach in place.

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