Mets on an 86-win pace since the All-Star break

The Mets are 24-21 since the All-Star break, good for a .533 winning percentage. Over a full season that’s 86 wins. If they had played at that pace all season long, they’d be right in the thick of the NL East race. The Braves are in first place with a .547 winning percentage and the Phillies are in second with a .525 mark.

So, how have they done it? The easy answer is starting pitching and with Zack Wheeler pitching nearly as good as Jacob deGrom, and Jason Vargas not being a guaranteed loss each time out, it’s hard to discount that. But what gets lost with all of the attention focused on the rotation is that the offense has more than held its own here in the second half.

The Mets are third in the National League with 214 runs scored since play resumed after the All-Star game. They’ve been averaging 4.8 runs per game since the break. Brandon Nimmo (.977 OPS) and Jeff McNeil (.848) have led the charge but the key is that there have been virtually no anchors in the lineup. Of the 10 players with the most PA, the worst OPS belonged to Jose Bautista (.597) and even that came with 4 HR, 16 R and 16 RBIs in 34 games before he was traded to the Phillies.

Of course, scoring 40 runs over two games helps the offensive numbers. But just as important is cutting down on the games where the offense essentially no-shows. Since the break, there have been nine games where the offense tallied zero or one run. That’s 20 percent of the time. Compare that to late May-early June when they scored fewer than two runs six times in seven games and scored 13 runs in the following six games.

In the 48 games from May 1 to June 23, the Mets scored 165 runs for an average of 3.4 runs per game. And the club scored 12 runs twice in that span. The Mets were 14-34 in that stretch, which effectively ended their season.

So, what do we make of this? It’s a stretch of roughly ¼ of the season where the offense has pulled its weight. It’s no secret that the offense needs a productive Michael Conforto and after a first half with a .710 OPS, Conforto has posted an .817 mark since the break. Other players with noticeable splits include Todd Frazier (.780/.685), Jay Bruce (.839/.613) and Amed Rosario (.707/.668). Rosario’s numbers don’t stand out as much because he started off the second half slow. His first 10 games after the break he had a .445 OPS. But since August 1, Rosario has a .313/.345/.448 line in 142 PA.

The starters look good and the offense is coming around. Things look almost rosy if you ignore the bullpen. The quartet of Tim Peterson, Jacob Rhame, Paul Sewald and Bobby Wahl have combined for 32 IP and 37 ER here in the second half. They make Tyler Bashlor and Daniel Zamora – with ERAs right around 5 – look good by comparison.

20 comments for “Mets on an 86-win pace since the All-Star break

  1. b
    September 6, 2018 at 11:02 am

    add hitters and health 2019 looks brighter

    • Steve S.
      September 6, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Without a good bullpen again, they are sunk next year.

  2. September 6, 2018 at 11:29 am

    And no Cespedes and d’Arnaud.

  3. Pete In Iowa
    September 6, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    There’s simply nothing to be made of these numbers as they are nothing more than the typical ebb and flow of a 162 game season. The poorer teams ebb more than they flow.
    The bottom line of the 2018 Mets? They are 13 games under and have played .453 ball over 139 games. That is what this team is. Sure, better since the break, but, compared to what? How they played for eight weeks leading into the break?
    Hopefully this offseason will yield significant upgrades at catcher and centerfield. Without upgrades in those 2 spots, it won’t matter what else they do.

    • Metsense
      September 6, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      I disagree with you Pete. Remember that Cespedes will be playing the second half which would move Nimmo to Centerfield. I think the catching tandem shows that they’re more average then the normal catcher as indicated in OPS+. The upgrade for the 2019 team should be a set up man and a closer. If money is left then I would shop late January to see if you could upgrade a poor position. As Brian’s article stated they are now a playoff team.

    • Madman
      September 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Go after Realmuto? Start with offering Conforto. Hamilton from the Reds? Can’t hit,But he is an excellent CFer who steals bases. Shouldn’t cost much.

    • Chris F
      September 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      I totally agree Pete. Unfortunately, its my sense the FO always tries to sell us on the notion that we are better than our record. I dont buy it, not for 1 second. Every team is better with less injuries. Every team is better when they play better. The record is what the team is. Period. That is what goes in the books, not some manufactured rationalized version of how we were actually a 90 win team, ya know, the lies we hear every year. Alderson was particularly good at making believe the team was different than the record. Pythagoras (OMG, poor guy rolling in his grave) tells me we are not what our record is!!!

      The season ebbs and floods as you say. This team ebbs more than it floods, and thus has the record it has. It is a loooong way from being a post season team.

      • Steevy
        September 6, 2018 at 5:25 pm
        • Chris F
          September 6, 2018 at 6:41 pm

          As usual, this team cannot do anything right. Alderson is on leave of absense. Is he not coming back? I mean, where is the termination? And a new GM is going to have to run the team through Omar ** and ** 2 fighting Wilpons????? Will he/she need to run it through Alderson too???

          Utter madness. I wish I havent loved the team my whole life. It would be super easy to mock everything about this complete dumpster fire.

  4. MattyMets
    September 6, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    When Ces, Bruce, and Frazier were all injured or playing hurt this team couldn’t score at all. With no lineup protection and still needing time to reach full strength, Conforto struggled at the same time. Let’s not forget the stretch when we had Lobaton and Nido as our catchers. Lagares also went down after a strong start. For a period, our only productive hitters were Nimmo and Flores. Shame that two bad months out of six, caused mainly by injuries, ruined a whole season.

  5. Madman
    September 6, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Don’t be fooled,upgrades are needed.

  6. Steevy
    September 6, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    With his 57th and 58th RBI last night Conforto finally tied Asdrubal Cabrera for the team lead.

  7. TexasGusCC
    September 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Ok Brian, let’s take your article and run with it.
    1. If they have in fact been better due to the strong starting pitching, then we must ride the crest and not dilute it. Hence, Vargas needs to be a swing guy next year and either Lugo or another better arm needs to be put into the rotation to keep a strength strong. Lugo will get the Wheeler treatment this year as I hear that he “paced himself” as Wheeler used to before the coaches instilled in him the importance of giving 100% for every hitter while he’s out there.
    2. There has been dead wood on this roster for far too long and hard to understand why. Replacing Reyes’, Gonzalez’ and Bautista’s at bats should improve this lineup. That’s pretty much a lineup spot over the course of the season, but didn’t we have this discussion last year? What’s with the revolving door of recycling falling stars?
    3. Nice to see that the Mets aren’t swinging for the downs on every at bat. This gives them a better chance at production, even if it isn’t as dramatic, we are tired of drama.
    4. The biggest improvement for this team has been in fundamentals. Callaway and his coaches inherited an organizational mess. All year long this team has worked on cutoffs, relays, bunting, and most importantly, base running! This must continue into next year, but hopefully the possibility alone that this team won’t give away games will be good for at least seven extra wins.

    • September 6, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      Vargas is not going to make or break the team. I’m much more concerned about Matz and what, if anything, can be done to stop him from throwing a half a dozen meatballs over the heart of the plate every start.

      • TexasGusCC
        September 7, 2018 at 12:44 am

        Your point about Matz is very true, and he may actually be as detrimental as Vargas at times, it those times aren’t as often. But, let me give you a simile to understand where I’m going. Say you have four All-Pro offensive linemen for your offensive line, and one guy that’s just a sieve. Yes, you can plan protection around him, but when you know this in your off-season, wouldn’t you want to shore up that spot a bit and go for the best line in football?

        Same thing. Yes, Vargas shouldn’t be the difference in the season, but if I’m making plans, wouldn’t I want to see if I can shore up that rotation spot a bit in the winter? I’m not saying sign Kershaw, I’m saying just switch to Lugo and put Vargas as a LOOGY. You just paid Blevins $7.5MM to be your LOOGY, why not let Vargas do that since it’s money spent anyway and use a potentially better starting pitcher in his spot?

      • TexasGusCC
        September 7, 2018 at 12:58 am

        From Fangraphs tonight, the opening of the article on the Indians dominant rotation:

        “This time last year, Jeff Sullivan posited that the Indians might have assembled the best pitching staff in baseball history, a distinction that unsurprisingly included one of the best collections of starting pitchers ever. Even though the club wasn’t able to translate their success into October glory, it would be hard to pin whatever shortcomings the team exhibited on the rotation, the worst regular member of which, Josh Tomlin, recorded “only” a league-average FIP. It was an impressive season.

        Perhaps surprisingly, the 2018 campaign has seen the Indians repeat that success. The rotation as a whole leads baseball with 19.9 WAR, with its four best starters — Trevor Bauer (6.0 WAR, fourth in baseball), Corey Kluber (4.9 WAR, ninth), Carlos Carrasco (4.1 WAR, 11th), and Mike Clevinger (3.9 WAR, 12th) — ranked among the top 12 of the league by that metric. That quartet has already exceeded their combined WAR from 2017 by half a win with a month to go. Notably, that isn’t even the only way in which the rotation has improved.”

        • September 7, 2018 at 4:45 am

          But Gus look at the division the Indians are in. Its easy to see why their pitching is so dominant when your closest rival is 13 games under .500. They are 21 games over 500 within their division and 26-31 against the East and West. 76 games against teams playing .400 baseball combined surely helps their WAR

  8. TJ
    September 6, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    So, you are what your record says you are. I like the improved performance since the all star break, and hope Callaway can keep them playing hard and fundamentally sound ball through game 162. The youngsters, that is.

    They clearly need to upgrade the offense, the defense, and the bullpen. I would prioritize the bullpen, then catcher, then a quality two-way position player upgrade. CF would be nice, but they’ll need to think far and wide, based on who is available. No thanks on Harper, and I’d only consider Machado as a 3B.

    The goals are to first have a pen with versatility and no weak links…nothing personal to any of the players, but for 2019 every pen arm needs to be legit, with some quality reserves at Syracuse. Next is traditional quality D up the middle, along with some additional offense, preferably with speed.

  9. September 7, 2018 at 8:21 am

    Crazy as it sounds, if Mets fix bullpen next year, get Cespedes back to being Cespedes, with those starters minus Vargas (Lugo in please), they will compete. However, that BP is a mess. They have like 10 guys that are “just guys”. They pretty much all stink in the freezer…how does the team find 6 guys outside of Gsellman, with Lugo elevated to 5th starter ? I don’t know, and they obviously don’t know. Back up the truck and take these dudes out to the shed : Swarzak, Sewald, Bashor, Peterson, Zamora, Rahme, etc, etc, etc….they all > suuuuuuuuukkkk !

  10. eric
    September 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    1. Rosario SS
    2. Nimmo RF
    3. McNeil 2b
    4. Frazier 3b
    5. Conforto LF
    6. Bruce/Alonso 1B
    7. Lagares/Jackson CF
    8. Plawecki/Nido C

    Bench: Bruce/Alonso, Lagares/Jackson, Flores, Plawecki/Nido, Tj Rivera

    Degrom, Noah, Wheeler, Matz, Vargas/Lugo
    Vargas/Lugo, Gsellman, Drew Smith, ???

    Need 3 pen arms including a top shelf closer.

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