If you ask anyone on the New York Mets or in their orbit about the performance of the team so far this season, you’d get a consistent resounding response that it has been disappointing so far. They are under .500, and spare for some bright moments, the team has not felt like a cohesive unit so far this season. The Mets are coming into this weekend’s series against the Miami Marlins off of a combined 2-5 stretch against the rival Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, which featured more blown saves from Edwin Diaz. With all of that, how could there possibly be room for optimism?

Well, if you are looking for an initial source of optimism, you can look down one peg in the standings to the Marlins. After a surprising season last year in which they qualified for a playoff spot, the Marlins stumbled out of the gate. This caused them to promptly trade Luis Arraez to the Padres, and wave the white flag in May. So things might feel bad, but at least they are not as bad as the Marlins, who entered Friday with a -84 run differential. Unlike the Marlins, the Mets have not waived the white flag, and their -8 run differential is a testament that while it has been a slow start, they are far from out of the running to be in a playoff spot when the season ends.

In fact, as under-performing as this team has been so far, they have managed to stay competitive in the standings. If the season were to end today, the Mets would only finish a half a game outside of the final wild card spot. This can be looked at in a few ways. One way to look at it is how absurdly top-heavy the National League has been this season, paced by the Phillies, Braves, and Los Angeles Dodgers. With those top teams in place, the second-tier and third-tier teams have been forced to fight for wins against each other. This has created a competitive environment where there are 10 teams in the National League with records under .500.

Another way to look at it is that this team has managed to scrape by with what little they have produced, and are primed at some point to put together an impactful string of wins. In fact, if they can tread water over the course of these next few weeks, and can hold onto a competitive spot in the standings until the end of June, they could be primed to break out in the early part of the month. As things currently stand, the Mets are scheduled to play 21 straight games against other teams who are currently under .500 from June 28 through the All-Star Break. If they are still hovering around the .500 mark entering this stretch, it could be the moment where this team breaks out and positions themselves nicely in the wild card race.

By that point, Kodai Senga will most likely have rejoined the staff, extending their rotation by a man and offering extra rest for everyone on the staff. This will provide a much needed boost to a Mets rotation that has been less than stellar, sitting at 23rd in the league in starting rotation ERA. The Mets have struggled from their pitchers laboring through their starts, which is reflected by the starters leading the league in walks. Of course, this starter ERA has ballooned because of Adrian Houser and Jose Quintana’s mostly poor starts, but overall, the staff needs to just produce more longer, quality starts, which should happen once Senga joins the rotation. Despite injuries and constant usage, the bullpen has still proven to be solid at this point in the season, but they have shown some cracks in the armor due to their high usage.

However, the pitching performance will not mean anything if the offense does not pick up. Having J.D Martinez join the lineup has certainly been a welcome presence, but for this lineup to be effective, they need more than just a consistent Martinez. Their stars have shown flashes in the pan, but there has not been an extended offensive performance to write home about on this team. It is unknown where in the lineup the spark will come from, but a good stretch by two or more of the veteran bats on this team could propel them into playoff position.

To find hope and optimism in this team, you must not focus on some of the poor starts that have occurred from veterans, or even just solely on the team’s record. Instead, look around at the rest of the league, and realize that with some marginal improvements, this team could realistically fight for a playoff spot.

3 comments on “There is room for optimism with this Mets team

  • Footballhead

    Wait; some of the poor starts of their veterans? Some? On the offensive side of this team (I mean the hitters), name me one player who (statistically) is on pace for a career average year. From which position is there anyone who is league average? With Diaz now proving to be quite human, I’m quite the pessimist when this team does manage to have a lead pat the 7th inning. Hoping for Senga, or Megill, or Peterson, or Scott, to bolster the staff is just a small part of the problem with the team.

    You are right though, it is amazing that this team is just a winning streak away from a playoff spot, and for that, we should feel hopeful. I would think though, that owner Cohen was hoping to start being up there with the Dodger, Phillies, Braves by now…..not one of the worse four or five teams in the league.

  • Albert

    May be tonight we catch the Nats for third place. If they could make the play offs who knows what might happen.

  • ChrisF

    I beg you all, stop talking about the post season in mid May. The season doesn’t end today. It’s all just misguided fantasy to even be thinking about post season prospects. We’re in mile 7 of a marathon.

    Right now staters can’t throw strikes and batters can’t hit. We’re one of the worst teams in the division. Accept reality for what it is.

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