Ya Gotta Believe?!

Against all odds and reason, the Mets are now within spitting distance of the second wild card with a real chance to fight for the playoffs. These are the same Mets who were left for dead at the All-Star break a month ago, after a brutal month of June all but sunk their season. But something clicked and the team has gone on a miraculous 19-6 since then, to climb back in the hunt.

They’ve been feasting on a weak schedule. They’ve been riding a healthy rotation that’s hitting it’s stride. And the bullpen and defense haven’t been as disastrous as they were earlier in the season. Other NL teams went cold. Maybe Pete Alonso‘s rally cry of #LFGM got them going. Maybe it was the decision to not trade a starting pitcher and instead add one at the trade deadline. Maybe their new pitching coach has helped straighten out issues with some of the hurlers. Whatever the case is, this team has been more fun to root for since 2016.

The team now sits three games over .500 at 59-56 with a lot of baseball left to play – 47 games to be exact. Or, looking at it another way, 15 series. Of those 15, just five are against teams under .500 and eight are against NL East rivals. To “play meaningful games in September,” the Mets will need to win more than half of their remaining games, nine of which are against the division-leading Braves. Fifteen games will be against the Phillies, Nationals and Cubs, who all currently sit between the Mets and a wild card spot. The Mets will also play three against likely playoff-bound Cleveland. Simply beating up on the bad teams – Kansas City, Arizona, Colorado, Cincinnati and Miami – might not be enough to land a wild card. It will likely take at least 87 wins, which requires the Mets go 28-19 the rest of the way.

It’s not impossible. Especially with our rotation and the momentum we have going. Plus, we have more remaining games at home than on the road. But the remaining schedule makes it a real challenge. We may not have a chance to catch the Braves in the division, but we’d better stand up to them in three upcoming series if we’re to have a shot at the post-season. And let’s not forget, we’re in fourth place. The Phillies and Nationals won’t make it easy for us to leap frog them in the standings.

Savor this moment, fellow Mets fans. Wear your blue and orange hats and shirts proudly. For a few days, the sun is shining on us and we’re happily licking at our ice cream cones. It could be gone my Monday as the Nationals are coming to town this weekend with their three top pitchers looking to knock our cones splat on the sidewalk.

24 comments for “Ya Gotta Believe?!

  1. Metsense
    August 9, 2019 at 8:26 am

    I concur Matt, 87 wins. The home schedule favors the Mets, they just have to cash in on that. Before this current run, I was expecting only 84 wins but this current run exceeded my expectations. The pitching has been superb, the defense adequate and the

    • Metsense
      August 9, 2019 at 8:33 am

      Offense has been very good with timely hitting even though it has a black hole in the batting order and two black holes when Nido is catching. Hopefully Nimmo and Smith will be ready come Labor Day even if it’s just pinch-hitting. It gets real starting tonight. LFGM

  2. Boomboom
    August 9, 2019 at 8:37 am

    31-16 rest of the way. We re in 3rd btw.

  3. MattyMets
    August 9, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Yes, we’re tied for 3rd now, BoomBoom. This post was written before the Phillies game was over last night.

    I don’t realistically think this team can go far. We have too many holes and flaws, especially with the injuries. I mean, half our lineup is on the IL. And our bullpen is not ready for primetime.

    That said, the playoffs allow for five NL teams and only two – LA and ATL – have consistently looked the part all season. The teams we’re neck and neck with all have as many warts as we do. Who wants it more? Who steps up? Who gets a little lucky? #LFGM!

  4. Boomboom
    August 9, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Just get to the playoffs and I’ll take our rotation against any.

  5. Mike Walczak
    August 9, 2019 at 11:21 am

    The Astros will be rolling out Verlander, Cole and Greinke. I don’t think the Yankees will get past them. But, the Met pitchers could silence their bats and make it a low scoring series.

    In 73, Seaver, Matlack and Koosman took the mighty A’s to game seven in the World Series.

  6. Chris F
    August 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm

    Its the same rotation that got us to 10 under at the break. Its easy to score runs against lousy pitchers. Its easy to pitch well against lousy hitting. I hope the team feels good as a unit and carries momentum into the tough games, but imagining beating the Marlins or Pirates is like playing the Braves, Nats, or Dodgers is a serious underestimate of reality.

    I think its worth seeing how things look when playing teams not 10, 20, and 30 games under .500, and even worse, those teams playing their worst ball. Before “believing” maybe we should all focus on the upcoming series’ against much better competition.

    • Boomboom
      August 9, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Yes they underperformed. Even if the “real” rotation is somewhere in between thats still favorable in a short series. The dodgers and braves are for real. The Nats fattened up against the same kind of weak schedule we did but everyone somehow thinks they are legit and we aren’t yet we re 8–5 against them this season.

      • Chris F
        August 9, 2019 at 12:46 pm

        All those teams are legit. as are the Cubs and Indians. Im not saying the Mets cant beat any of those teams, even sweep some of those series, but using numbers from the past two weeks against literally the worst teams in baseball as a measure of playing against teams all above .500 and some much above .500 is a not a smart thing.

        ********* Matt Ehalt twitter *********

        All this talk about the Mets schedule and the common refrain I’ve heard (‘everyone plays the same schedule!!’) got me thinking: Well, is that true?

        Has every other team had a cupcake 25-game stretch like Mets just had?

        So, I checked every team’s schedule to see if they had…

        So how many had a slate of 25 games featuring only 2 teams above .500 as of now):

        The answer? Just the Brewers.

        So this Mets 25-game slate is tied for easiest any team has had the entire season.

        • Boomboom
          August 9, 2019 at 2:20 pm

          Between may 23rd when the mats bottomed out against the mets (and started their current 30-11 run) and the all start break they played 3 series against the marlins and series against the tigers, white Sox and royals. With a couple series against the braves and Phillies. Since the all star break…phillies, Orioles, braves (2x), Rockies, reds, dbacks and Giants. With one series against the dodgers. Before sweeping the Padres this past week they were 11-11 last 22. If the nats are legit so are we.

          • Chris F
            August 9, 2019 at 4:19 pm

            I dont think the Nats are special, and dont think they will make the playoffs. All Im saying is they aint playing the Pirates. And of you look at the Mets v Nats for some time, they have played us pretty well.

            • August 9, 2019 at 5:16 pm

              Since the Nats canned Dusty Baker, the Mets hold a 19-13 edge against them. And the year before they hired Dusty Baker, the Mets held an 11-8 edge.

              • Chris F
                August 9, 2019 at 6:18 pm

                Thats insane cherry picking, just like saying the Mets record in the past 2 weeks is who they are.

                2015 11-8
                2016 7-12
                2017 6-13
                2018 11-8
                2019 8-5

                thats 43-46 over recent history and 21-26 at CitiField

                • August 9, 2019 at 6:22 pm

                  It’s not insane. The Nats dominated when Dusty Baker was there and they didn’t win right before or right afterwards.

                  To borrow a Rick Pitino quote – Dusty Baker’s not walking thru that door

                  • Chris F
                    August 9, 2019 at 6:42 pm

                    I never understand the cherry picking of results just to draw the conclusion one seeks.

                    Im not predicting the Mets will lose. The Nats play the Mets hard. Ive never seen Dusty Baker on the field while the Nats were playing us.

                    • August 9, 2019 at 6:55 pm

                      I understand you don’t think the Nats are world beaters.
                      I understand you don’t think the Mets are destined to lose

                      What I don’t understand is how you can say, “And of you look at the Mets v Nats for some time, they have played us pretty well.” And then say that Dusty Baker had nothing to do with it.

                      The last 4.5 years, the Nats hold a three-game lead. Not sure I would call that pretty well. And in that span, they’re 25-13 when Baker manages them and 21-30 when someone else does. Again, I don’t see the basis for thinking that Baker was just in the right place having zero impact.

                    • August 9, 2019 at 6:57 pm

                      Right, because other teams had a chance to fatten up against those teams while the Mets were playing 27 out of 31 games against teams over .500 – but once the Mets get to finally play those teams, you want to pretend that other teams play nothing but great teams.

                      I don’t care how you want to rate teams. I put the Mets and Nats records against teams .500 and above and under .500 and if you can tell a lot of difference – you’re better than me.

        • August 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm

          The Mets play a tougher schedule than the Nationals because this year we play the 76-39 Yankees while they play the 38-76 Orioles. Other than that they play the same schedule. The Nats will have as many opportunities against the Marlins, White Sox and Pirates as the Mets do. Nobody cared that the Mets played 21 straight games and 27 out of 31 against teams above .500 earlier in the season.

          After the Mets’ 4-game sweep of the Nationals in May, the Nats had a stretch where in 17 games they played teams below .500 15 times and shortly after that they followed up with 12 straight games with teams under .500. In the first stretch they went 12-5 and in the second stretch they went 10-2.

          I don’t get why the Mets’ stretch is any different than the Nationals’ stretch because there was a brief pause in the middle.

          The Nats are 33-18 against teams under .500 and 28-35 against teams .500 and better
          The Mets are 31-16 against teams under .500 and 28-40 against teams .500 and better

          The Mets have played a tougher schedule to date than the Nats and will play a tougher schedule the rest of the year.

          • Boomboom
            August 9, 2019 at 5:22 pm

            A voice of sanity. Ive been trying to tell ehalt this on Twitter for the last week but he hatea the mets so his entire perspective is slanted. He wants nothing more than for the mets to sink.

          • Chris F
            August 9, 2019 at 6:21 pm

            The Mets wwere 10 under .500 until they played the worst teams in baseball. I think its great they won, but the positivity of their record stems only from eating bottom feeders. Im also not saying the Nats have a harder or easier schedule overall. What Im saying is simply this: the Nats are better than the Pirates, White Sox, and Marlins. When they come to town its not just like playing those teams.

  7. Bob
    August 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    I’m an optimistic pessimist – I’ve been a Met fan for 52 years – I’ve seen the promise before – I hope this year is different. I believe we have the talent – I’m just a realist about the management – Callaway has just blown to many games, even against good competition and now the pressure is on. Can the bullpen arms survive his overuse?

  8. Mike Walczak
    August 9, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    Strasburg, Corbin and Fedde. That is much better than Strasburg, Corbin and Scherzer.

    Lets get two out of three from the gNats.

  9. Pete from NJ
    August 9, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Tug McGraw coined the phrase: “Ya Gotta Believe” during the 1973 season. McGraw himself was the closer’s closer but had a terrible 1st half of the year but suddenly turned himself around along with the under performing offense.

    The closer in 2019 needs to perform much like the closer on the 1973 team for similar results.

  10. TexasGusCC
    August 9, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Reading Fangraphs and watching MLBN, I didn’t realize how good the Mets have always been, and everyone knew it! All of a sudden, “I❤️Mets” is everywhere, and everyone knew they were great! Wow, talk about BS artists.

    The Mets turnaround is probably more based on the bullpen not blowing games than the offense or the starting staff because they have been strong all year long. But, relievers don’t get clicks or ratings, so they emphasize the starters and talk up Conforto and Alonso.

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