In 2023, the Braves won 104 games. No rational person can claim that they weren’t a fantastic regular-season team. And yet they had three separate times when they lost four straight games. From 4/19-4/23 and again on 7/15-7/19 and once more on 9/15-9/18, the Braves lost four straight games. Of course, it helped when they were 14-4 when they embarked on that first four-game losing streak.

This is by no means an attempt to claim that the 2024 Mets are in the same class as the 2023 Braves. It’s just that losing four games in a row, by itself, doesn’t prove anything. We don’t know anything more about this year’s team than we did last Thursday. If, for example, you thought the Mets were an 84-win team – there’s no reason you shouldn’t feel the same way today.

Everything gets magnified right now because there’s nothing else to act as a counterweight. When the Braves lost four in a row last April, there were 18 other games that came before it to offer context. There’s little doubt that some in that insufferable fanbase were gnashing their teeth during that April lull. But what we see among Mets fans right now is 100X worse.

With a 162-game schedule, you need to have a long-term view of things. And nowhere is that truer than in the first week of the regular season. No one should be happy about this start. And there’s nothing wrong with expressing that dismay. But if we’re not allowed to make any conclusions based on 30 Spring Training games, we probably shouldn’t make any conclusions on four regular season games.

Right now, the offense looks pitiful. There’s nothing wrong with either thinking that or saying that. There’s an old saying – It’s not libel if it’s true. The plain fact is that Harrison Bader has an OPS+ of 8. And as bad as that is, there are six players with a negative OPS, including Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo, both with a (-36) mark.

No one in their right mind expects Lindor and Nimmo to (not) hit like this for very much longer. Shoot, as low as my expectations for Bader are, even I expect him to have a double-digit OPS+.

We all want to tinker when the results are lacking. The hardest thing to do is stay the course when things aren’t going right. My N.C. State Wolfpack were down by six points at halftime in their last game versus Duke. Coach Kevin Keatts told them to keep doing everything that they were doing. They went on to score 55 points in the final 20 minutes and won by 12.

My expectation before the season started was that the Mets were destined to be a .500-type club. Maybe that meant 80 wins, maybe that meant 82. But it didn’t seem likely to me that they’d win either 70 or 90. Others were more pessimistic than me when the season started. That seemed reasonable to me – up to a point. Anyone who thought it was a 77-win team was not being overly negative, in my mind. There were enough question marks to believe the team was preordained for a sub-.500 record.

Regardless, the rush to be the first one to be the most obnoxiously negative about a team’s play is something that just feels so very wrong to me. Even with my college and pro basketball teams playing well – and my expectations for the Mets not very high – I couldn’t wait for the baseball season to start. And my guess is that everyone reading this had a similar urge for the games to begin.

To the obnoxious fans out there – most of whom aren’t reading this – take the profound advice of Jimmy Serrano: “Relax, have a cream soda.” It’s four lousy games.

If at the end of April, Lindor, Nimmo and Jeff McNeil have a combined .068/.146/.068 line – by all means, rant from one end of the street to the other. Yell about how much they stink and how stupid the PoBO is and bitch about Steve Cohen not spending more money.

In the meantime, don’t get bent out of shape over a four-game losing streak. Try to enjoy games being played at Citi Field, revel that the worst of winter is over and that there’s no snow in the forecast. Remember that no one’s favorite Winnie the Pooh character is Eeyore.

It’s often said that the baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. We’re not even halfway across the Verrazano Bridge yet. We just have to get off that monstrosity, find our footing on solid ground and run our race.

81-81 here we come!

7 comments on “Step off the ledge Mets fans, it’s four games

  • David Groveman

    Here here… this team is plenty capable of improving and reaching levels of mediocrity

  • Steve_S.

    The Mets might have won a couple of those games with a bit of luck and some good defense by “glovemen” brought in by Stearns. And the good hitting by Alvarez, Marte and Alonso so far will be supported by Lindor, Nimmo, and Martinez.

    The bullpen will be decent and the starters (with Scott and Butto brought up in awhile) will be OK, overall.

    We will be a 80-87 win team. I hope!

  • BoomBoom

    Might take a minute for Carlos Mendoza to get his feet wet as well. Couple of interesting moves/non-moves over this first week, including pinch hitting McNeil in the 9th yesterday, but then not leaving him to play 2b.

    But mostly they’ve been done in by some ill-timed poor defense by players they brought in to improve the defense (short, wendle). I also question the complete lack of aggression on the base paths so far. They’ll sort it out – hopefully – and we’ll be talking about the 5-5 Mets a week from now.

  • José Hunter

    Here’s a question which seems relevant to me but might be better placed in tomorrow’s post. That reminds me of an even better question I’ll save for tomorrow.

    Anyway, Brian, are you from NC or did you attend college in NC?

  • Buck

    5-5, 80;87 games? I hope so.

  • ChrisF

    im 95% in agreement with you Brian. Where i disagree is only with the comparison between 30 ST games and 4 reg season games. I view them as entirely dissimilar. These games matter now and were seeing the best against the best; theres no #84 on a jersey now.

    That said its a waste to worry about 4 in a row.

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