The Mets are one-win away from matching last year’s 70 victories. They are in a race to finish above .500 – currently sitting two games below with 22 games to play. Coming into the season, I thought the Mets were an 85-88 win club. After winning on June 27th, the Mets had a 43-32 record. Since then they have gone 26-39 for a .400 winning percentage.
Last year the club had a .432 winning percentage, meaning that this year’s squad has been playing significantly worse baseball than last year’s injury-wrecked team for over 40 percent of the season. And the offense deserves the lion’s share of the blame.
The Mets have averaged 3.3 runs per game since the All-Star break. Overall for the season, the National League average is 4.38 runs per game and the worst mark in the league is the 4.20 mark of the Washington Nationals.
If the Mets scored four runs in each game after the break, they would have won 27 games instead of the 21 that they have. That would put their record at 75-65, which would have them on pace for an 87-win season.
Since the All-Star break, not one Mets hitter has been hot. Including pitchers, there have been 32 different players to have a PA and the highest OPS is the .807 mark of Ike Davis. Not only has no regular been producing at a good rate, the Mets can’t even find a bench player or pitcher to put up a good line in a few ABs.
How the Mets approach the offseason will depend a lot on how they react to this team-wide slump. Will the Mets feel the need to upgrade on youngsters Davis and Josh Thole (.704 OPS since the break)? Will they feel the need to move the people in the prime of their careers, like Jose Reyes (.798) or David Wright (.754) or Angel Pagan (.689)? Can they find a taker for older players like Carlos Beltran (.697) or Luis Castillo (.585)?
Or should they stand pat with the offense, thinking that all or most of these players are likely to improve on their dismal second-half numbers?
There has been some sign of the offense coming to life in September. Davis, Wright and Beltran are all off to strong starts and Luis Hernandez has given the club a boost in limited playing time. Reyes is expected back shortly and the club misses his spark at the top of the lineup.
Can the offense show any sign of life in the final 22 games? The answer to that question may determine the fates of several of the starters on the 2011 team. No player should feel safe about returning and we may witness the final three weeks of someone’s Mets career.
Who should come back in 2011? Vote in this week’s poll, available on the right side of our home page.