How Did We Get Here Again?

There are many categories to look at when discussing a team’s success during the course of a baseball season.  One that I have been harping on since April has been low scoring games or specifically when scoring 3 runs or less.  After last night’s 3-0 loss to St. Louis, the Mets record at home has dropped to 21-27.  Their record in July is now 4-8.  Add to that 3 under .500 at night.  On and on, the Mets splits look pretty bad but the one stat that stands out the most this season is the win-loss record when the offense scores three runs or less.  For the Mets it is now 3-30, a .091 winning percentage.  That’s simply terrible.

That inability might suggest the Mets’ overall record should be far worse than the current 41-50 they sit at after 91 games.  The fact it is not worse is a testament to the Mets’ offense except for last night when they were shutout for the fourth time this year.  The Mets score four or more runs a lot of nights but no one can expect any offense to not be shut down by good pitching or a slump once in a while.  That’s where the Mets’ “good” pitching was supposed to make a difference.  The Mets had such a corral of stud pitchers that they were going to win those low scoring games to propel them into the post season.  So far the pitching is propelling the Mets into the off season.  And when will the Mets bring up anybody else but Rafael Montero to start a game?  Why must we watch this disaster every five games?

Consider where the Mets might be if in those 33 games when scoring three runs or less, they had some pitching.  Ok, any team can get shut out so obviously if a team doesn’t score, they’re not going to win.  Let’s concede the four shutouts, leaving the Mets at 3-27 (.100) when at least scoring 1 to 3 runs.  Suppose in those 30 games, the Mets had won half of them (15-15).  That would mean today instead of 41-50, the Mets would be 56-35. Assuming the Nationals would have their current record, the Mets would be trailing them by one game.  But five of those losses when scoring 3 runs or less were against the Nationals so if the Mets won just two of those games, they would be leading the division.

That’s the difference this season.  The pitching completely collapsed and is the number one reason why the Mets are where they are and why they will end the season with another losing record.  But why has the pitching been so bad?  Of course the number one reason is injuries yet again.

Noah Syndergaard who started out looking like the sure ace of the staff tore his right lat muscle and was placed on the disabled list on May 1. He has now just started throwing off of flat ground.  Matt Harvey came back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery that removed a rib from the pitchers right side.  While his velocity was good, he could never get control of his command and struggled in most of his starts.  Then Harvey went on the DL with a scapular injury and he too has just starting playing catch.  Steven Matz missed most of the first half of the season with elbow soreness and has been up and down since finally getting his season going.  The guy who has been healthy all season is Zach Wheeler but he missed the previous two seasons from Tommy John recovery and he continues to struggle each outing.  He throws way too many pitches having difficulty getting into the sixth inning.  Robert Gsellman who dazzled at the end of last season was virtually ineffective all season and has since been replaced by Seth Lugo who also missed most of the early schedule.  Lugo is pitching with a partially torn UCL and Gsellman is on the DL with a pulled hamstring.  That’s just the starting staff.

The bullpen has also been a disaster.  All Star closer Jeurys Familia missed thirty games because of domestic violence then he was placed on the DL and had surgery for an aneurysm in his shoulder.  The rest of the pen is very unpredictable and has had huge difficulty holding slim leads.   The true bright spot of the Mets pitching staff has been Jacob deGrom but even he struggled earlier in the season.

The Mets defense is to blame too.  The Mets give the opposition too many extra outs and that also works against the pitching staff.  All the Mets seem able to do is to hit homeruns.  But no team can simply homer their way to the post season.

Certainly the players take the brunt of the blame but the front office deserves some ire as well. They could have done more in the off season to guard against so many pitchers that were coming off injures and/or surgery.  The front office should have better communication with trainers and their players to make sure that the off season work they are doing doesn’t hurt their baseball playing abilities.  Why in the world was Syndergaard allowed to add so much extra muscle that likely contributed to his injury.

Once again, the perception around the Mets is one of dysfunction.   We were supposed to be enjoying the fruits of the rebuilding now but instead we are likely headed to a selloff and another rebuild or at least a partial one.  Meanwhile the Atlanta Braves and the crosstown rival Yankees appear to be rebuilding quickly and will soon steal the thunder away from the Mets, one team within the division and the other in the same market.  More importantly the Nationals are miles ahead of the Mets in every category and it’s going to take some monumental work for the Mets to get back to post season contention.

And what of the Mets farm system?  Their AAA team in Las Vegas is 24 games under .500.  While double A Binghamton is 12 games over .500, they trail the Yankees double A club by 10 games.  St. Lucie is 17 games below .500 and Brooklyn, the short season A club is 8-20 while the Staten Island Yankees are 20-8. Do the Mets have some scouting challenges or what?  Kingsport and the Gulf Coast Mets rookie teams are also playing horribly wallowing far under .500 at the bottom of their respective divisions.  The Columbia club of the South Atlantic League is having a poor second half as well sitting in last place.   While no one should ever get crazy over minor league records the Mets’ farm teams are reflecting an overall talent pool that is not too good.  So unless there are diamonds in the rough or the Mets plan to spend some money over the off season (unlikely), we may well have already had our decade moment in 2015.

The Mets, a team in the primary baseball market of New York City can never sustain success and they continue to confound its fan base generation after generation.  Really how much can we take?

Murphy’s Law

Why did so many of us Mets fans not be that concerned that the Mets did not retain Daniel Murphy after the 2015 season?

I admit to being one of those fans.  I convinced myself at the end of the 2015 World Series that Murphy’s ridiculous wild ride through the playoffs could not be sustained into the future.  How wrong I was but my decision was nowhere near as important as Sandy Alderson’s.  In hindsight am I blaming Sandy?  Why of course I am, I have to blame someone.

While with the Mets, Murphy was known as kind of a boneheaded player who could flat out hit.  His play at second base was less than adequate and on a team that so much wanted good infield defense to support its fine young pitching, it was clear Murphy would not be retained after his contract expired.  His level of offensive play, while always good, got much better in 2015, especially when the playoffs began.  Suffice it to say, without Daniel Murphy, the Mets would not have gone as deep into the 2015 post season without him.

In the division series against Los Angeles, Murph hit 3 homeruns and batted in 5 run.  In the deciding game, Murphy doubled in the first run of the game against Zach Greinke giving the Mets the early 1-0 lead.  With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the fourth inning, Murphy singled.  With one out, and Lucas Duda up, Murphy stole second on a pitch that ended up to be ball four to Duda.  Because the Dodgers employed the shift against Duda, no one was defending third base.  Murphy saw that and as he nonchalantly went into second, he turned on the afterburners and took third base.  It was an absolutely brilliant move from a player not really known for his head being in the game once he stepped out of the batter’s box.  Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly scored Murph with the tying run.  Then in the sixth, it was Daniel Murphy front and center again, launching a high drive into the right field stands off of Greinke giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.  All three runs scored were the result of something that their second baseman did.  The Mets won the series in five games against the Dodgers thanks to Murphy.

He did it again in the league championship series, facing a very good Chicago Cubs ball club.  Murphy homered in all four games, the same number of games it took the Mets to sweep the Cubs.   All in all, Murphy drove in six runs and had a double to go along with his four dingers, nine hits total and ended up winning the NLCS MVP award.  The New York Mets reached their first World Series in sixteen years, fifth overall because of Murph.

After a stellar division and league series, it was hard to think that Murphy would not be back.  But the Mets faltered in the World Series only managing to win one game against the American League champion Kansas City Royals.  Murphy only mustered three hits, none of them for extra bases and he drove in no runs.  The magic Murphy rode through the playoffs disappeared in the fall classic.  It became a little easier to accept that Daniel’s performance was a fluke and the Mets hierarchy should not be fooled into giving him a long term contract with him being such a liability in the field.

The Mets ultimately offered Murph the qualifying offer meaning if he accepted, he would return to the club for one year then become a free agent again at the end of 2016. Of course he refused, realizing his value would be more with another team.  New Nationals manager Dusty Baker may have had some input to Washington’s brain trust.  Seeing the possibility of Murphy seeking revenge on his old team nineteen times a season might work wonders for the Nats.  The gamble paid off.  Murphy signed a three year deal with Washington and his improved hitting style he gained from Mets batting coach Kevin Long continued.  As the Mets faltered in 2016, Murphy with very consistent hitting around him won another division title, this time wearing red.  Although the Mets made the wildcard, the Nats played in the division series but lost to the Dodgers.  Murphy had as many hits (7) in the 2016 division series as he had in the ’15 series but with no homeruns.  He did drive in six however, and was not the reason that Washington failed to advance.

So in the last laugh category, it appears Murphy is the winner.  This season, Murphy’s Nats are running away with the division as the Mets flounder seven games under .500.  There has not been one game played yet between Washington and the Mets that Murphy has not gotten a hit against his former team.  The Mets may want to put up a sign the next time they play the Nationals that says “No Bully Zone” because that’s what the Nats do to them every time they meet.  They are to the Mets what the 1990’s Atlanta Braves were, a team the Mets just can’t beat and part of that is because they let a consummate hitter of their own go play for a division foe.  It was a gamble that many agreed with but it has burned the Mets for two straight seasons now.

Meanwhile back in Flushing, the Mets have had Neil Walker play second base.  He is better than Murphy with the glove and he provided the Mets with very good offence in 2016 but not so much this season.  Unfortunately both seasons were marred by injury.  Last year’s season ending back surgery may be the reason why Walker has not been as good offensively.  Others who have played second include Wilmer Flores, Kelly Johnson, Ty Kelly, Eric Campbell, T.J. Rivera, Matt Reynolds, Gavin Cecchini, and now reluctantly Asdrubal Cabrera while Walker is on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring.  There are some good hitters in that group but none of them including Walker seems to provide that feeling of a sure hit as Murphy does.  In 78 games this season, Murphy is hitting a Major League leading .341 with 14 homeruns and 60 RBI.  That’s the third highest RBI total on the Nats.  The closet player the Mets have to those numbers lies with Jay Bruce with 21 homers and 57 runs batted in.  But realize that Bruce is likely gone before the trade deadline unless the Mets get serious about this season very soon.

So it’s easy to criticize after the fact.  That’s what we fans do it all the time.  I’m not really blaming Alderson for not offering a similar contract but had he done so, Murph would have taken it because he never really wanted to leave.  It just infuriates me that the Mets are where they are and the Nats are once again dominating the division.  This was supposed to have been our year, the Mets year.  With their pitching staff for the ages and resigning Yoenis Cespedes to a long term deal, this was supposed to be another exciting pennant drive between the Mets and the Nats.  Instead, it seems as if the Mets are where the baseball gods always want them to be: looking up at .500, another season, another waste of our time.

It confounds me that a team from New York with the media and money available to them, consistently fail to sustain success.  I’m not a basketball fan and I often feel bad for my friends who are Knicks fans and the misery they go through.  Then it dawned on me that they must feel the same empathy for me.

Is David Wright’s Career Over?

With all the turmoil the Mets have dealt with this season, the story that has gotten lost in the shuffle has been that of the Captain, David Wright.  David has not played in a baseball game of consequence since May 27, 2016. Shortly after that date, Wright was placed on the disabled list for a herniated disk in his neck and has not played a regular season game since.  David did make a couple of spring training appearances this past March before a shoulder impingement shut him down once again.

Spinal Stenosis, a herniated disk that required season ended surgery, and now a shoulder impingement (that is apparently being attributed to his herniated disc according to MLB.com) has had Wright see action in only 75 games between the 2015 and 2016 season.  He is currently on the 60 day disabled list and his return is nowhere in sight as once again, he continues to rehab in California, far from where he wants to be.

It’s very possible and very sad that Wright just might be the Mets’ Don Mattingly.  The Yankee star first baseman of the late 1980s’ and early 1990s’, like Wright, was a perennial all-star and a fan favorite. And like Wright, Mattingly suffered from Spinal Stenosis, had his career shortened and never got to enjoy the fortune of the late 90’s Yankee championships.  Mattingly got a taste of the post season in 1995 and so did Wright in 2015 as well as in 2006. David was not able to play in last year’s wildcard game and if the Mets do become a consistent winner (which seems doubtful based on the body of work this season), he’s likely to suffer the same fate as Mattingly in that he will not be around to enjoy some great seasons to come.

Wright will be 35 years old this December.  Had he not suffered these debilitating injuries, he would still be facing a time in his career when his skills would be diminishing. It’s normal for a 35 year old player to lose a step, not have the same bat speed, and experience more difficulty in making the throw across the diamond.  In fact even a healthy Wright would have to be starting to consider a move to the outfield or first base.  So realistically what can Wright hope to achieve given his tremendous uphill battle as he works so hard to get back into playing shape.

There are two possibilities, Wright works his way back and perhaps sees some action late in the season, or next season but at less playing time with diminished skills.  Or the more realistic result is Wright retires from the game.  It’s sad and almost unthinkable for that to happen but it has to be a consideration in the back of the Captain’s head with all he has gone through the last three seasons.

If Wright chooses retirement, he will leave holding some of the Mets all-time records that include at bats (5996), total hits (1777), runs (949), doubles (390), RBI (970), walks (761), total bases (2945), and sac flies (65).  He is currently second in home runs (242, ten behind Darryl Strawberry), hit by pitch (45, Lucas Duda leads with 47), and games played (1583).  With over 5000 at bats, Wright also leads the Mets in average/slugging/OPS at .296/.491/.376.  Wright shares the best RBI season (2008) with Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza at 124. Wright also hit 42 doubles in a season three times and had more than 30 homers twice.  At third base, Wright is way ahead having played 1583 games at third compared to Howard Johnson who played 835 times at the hot corner.  And in 2012, Wright was voted as the Mets All-Time third baseman.

Wright is a seven time All-Star and batted .379 with a home run in the 2006 All Star game in Pittsburgh.  He’s appeared in two post seasons as a division champion in 2006 and a NL Champion in 2015. Wright won two silver slugger awards in 2007 and 2008 and two gold gloves in the same years.  Wright was player of the month twice and player of the week three times.  Wright will never be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown but rest assured he will be a member of the Mets Hall of Fame shortly after he does finally retire from the game.

I honestly hope that Wright makes it back.  He epitomizes what every Mets fan wants to see in the players they root for.  Wright is a fan favorite not only because of his outstanding play and effort but because he is proud to wear the orange and blue and never wanted to play anywhere else.  Wright will never be considered in the class of Derek Jeter but when it comes to team loyalty, Jeter has nothing over the Mets all time third baseman.

On a personal note, I brought my son, then 10 years old to his first Met game on July 22, 2004. It was a blistering hot Thursday afternoon when the Mets took on the Montreal Expos.  The Mets lost the game however David Wright playing in his second game got his first major league hit, a double down the left field line.  We got to see Wright’s first and second career hits that afternoon and could tell the Mets had something special in their new third baseman.  We’ve been fans ever since and my son, now 23, still occasionally wears his David Wright tee shirt.

I continue to hope that Wright will beat the odds and make a meaningful comeback.  But as the days drag on it is going to be more difficult for that to happen.  Regardless of how it all ends, Wright has made his mark on the Amazins and will always be remembered with the likes of Tom Seaver, Mike Piazza, Darryl Strawberry, Keith, Dwight, Ron, and so many others.  Wright will be a Met forever and I’m so grateful we got to enjoy the many thrills from his playing days with just one team, his favorite team as well as ours.

Can 1973 Happen Again?

I’ve heard comparisons to 1973 regarding the 2017 Mets.  Look, they say, the Mets were terrible all season then stormed back in late August through September and won the National League East, defeated the Big Red Machine in the playoffs before losing the World Series to Oakland in seven games.  Anything is possible they say.  Well yes, anything is possible but that doesn’t mean it’s likely.  Never the less, let’s look back at 1973 and see what was going on after 75 games played by the Mets.

On July 3, 1973, the Mets had played their seventy-fifth game of the season.  They lost to the Montreal Expos by a score of 19-8 at Parc Jarry.  The Amazins found themselves 11 games back in sixth place with a record of 33-42.  By comparison, today’s Mets are 34-41, one game better, in fourth place 10.5 games back.  Why can’t the Mets right their ship and pull another “seventy-three”?

Here are some other interesting similarities. The ‘73 division leading Chicago Cubs had a record of 47-34, very close to Washington’s 45-31 record.  Also the rest of the division in 1973 was kind of like the division today.  Most teams were mediocre to bad.  Only the St. Louis Cardinals had a winning record other than the Cubs at two games over .500. They trailed the Cubs by 5.5 games.  Today, no one except the Nats has a winning record in the NL East.  The Braves are in second, three games under .500, nine games back of Washington.  One thing is clearly obvious, if you did not know the outcome of 44 years ago, looking at the standings today and then would lead you to believe the Mets were having two very bad seasons.  After 75 games, there still is a lot of baseball to play and anything can happen.

While I may have painted somewhat of a rosy picture, here’s something else to consider.  By the end of July ‘73, the once dominating Cubs sunk to just four games over .500 and were out of first place.  The Cardinals took over the division lead and the Mets were still wallowing in the basement of the NL East at 10.5 games behind.  By the end of August the Cubs had wilted to five games under .500 and the Cardinals had fallen to just two games over but still in first.  The Mets now in fifth place and still nine games under .500 had gained five games on the division lead and were only 5.5 games back of St. Louis.  The Mets still had a long way to go but the leaders of the division for most of the summer were fading fast.

On the season’s last day back in ’73, the Mets won the first game of a double header in Chicago and clinched the NL East by one game.  They did it with the worst record ever (up to that time) with just 82 wins.  The Cubs had sunk all the way to fifth place and St. Louis ended at .500. From the end of August to the end of the season, the ’73 Mets went 20-8 while the Cardinals went 13-15. The Mets stormed to an improbable championship and while their success should not be minimized, it’s fair to say it could not have happened without the collapse of the Cardinals and Cubs.

Another similarity the current Mets club has with the ’73 team is pitching.  Led by Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and Jon Matlack, the Mets pitching of 1973 was never a question.  Certainly the current staff led by Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zach Wheeler has the potential to be as formidable.  Therefore a number of things have got to happen for another 1973 to be possible.  Essentially Syndergaard and Wheeler have to get healthy and be the pitchers they can be.  Perhaps Matt Harvey can step in too once he’s healthy.  Plus and completely out of the Mets control is the Nationals.  They are going to have to play poorly down the stretch.  The fact is if the Nats play .500 ball the rest of the season they will end with a record of 88-74.  The Mets would have to go 55-32 to win by one game.  That’s a mighty tall order and one really dependent on Washington falling apart in a season where Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy, Steven Strasburg, Matt Scherzer, and Gio Gonzalez are having great seasons.

So while anything is possible, the probable is likely to play out.  The Mets should just focus on winning series and see where the chips fall.  I’m doubtful that when all is said and done, we will be marveling at another miracle in Flushing.

Time For Changes Even If Just For Show

How much more losing before the Mets higher-ups decide maybe a change at the helm is in order?  We can argue that the current state of the team is not the manager or the coaches’ fault.  However business is business.  If GE stocks were tanking as much as the Mets you can be sure heads would role on the board of directors.  It happens all the time.  Market conditions, politics, and other factors may all play a part in a company’s stock performance but rest assured the stock holders don’t care, they will want blood.

How can it be much different for fans who are asked to pay exorbitant prices just to park at Citi Field let alone get into the ballpark?  Clearly the Mets have become dysfunctional yet again for a lot of reasons.  Injuries, poor performance, age, what have you—it’s not one particular thing but something has got to give.  The Mets were expected to contend for a world championship this season.  Their ducks were in a row with a pitching staff for the ages but it has failed miserably.  In case you weren’t watching due to the late hour, apathy, or just plain disgust, the Mets have been outscored 30- 8 in an embarrassing three straight evenings by a team that used to call Brooklyn its home.  The LA Dodgers are flourishing mostly due to two prospects that are setting the baseball world on fire.

Stop believing that the Mets are going to get back into the race this season.  Make your October plans for pumpkin picking, hiking, and going to fall festivals.  Mets baseball come fall will not be on your calendar.  The Mets are so far behind the division and the wildcard they would need to become the super-miracle Mets to overcome this mess.

So why not change the manager now?  Why shouldn’t GM Sandy Alderson throw a hissy-fit and make a statement to the healthy players that remain in the clubhouse?  Look, Terry Collins is on the last year of his contract.  He’s done a fine job of taking care of the kids then actually getting them to the World Series.  But it’s high time that a change is made even if only symbolic.  Collins is not going to be the manager anyway come 2018.  Give the guy the rest of the summer off.  It appears he’s just as sick of this team as we are.

And by the way, Alderson has dirt on his hands too. While I wasn’t too upset that they let Daniel Murphy walk after 2015, hindsight shows that was a huge mistake.  I equate it to the Mets trading Kevin Mitchell after the Mets’ last world championship season.  The Mets began to degrade as Mitchel headed for an MVP award.  Same appears to have happened with Murph who just continues to rake for the Nats.

You wonder if Alderson’s conservative approach is also a problem.  If he had brought up Amed Rosario a week or two ago, maybe it would have sparked something in this team. Maybe not but who knows?  And now the Mets are so out of it, there really is no necessity to rush Rosario to the majors.

What about the communication and health monitoring in the Mets organization? Why did Alderson and company allow Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes that they just spent over 100 million on, lift ridiculous amounts of weight?  What was the purpose of that other than to guarantee injuries for both players?

I have always supported Alderson.  But lately I’ve begun to wonder about him and his approach to building a team.  He has ignored defense and small ball for power pitching and the long ball. I guess that’s fine if everyone can stay off the hospital gurney.  But if they can’t then I guess what you get is what we are seeing right now—a lousy baseball team.  After two post season campaigns in a row, how quickly we have been sent back to the doldrums.  It’s a hard job being a Mets fan.

The Unpredictable Draft

What do Dominic Smith, Andrew Church, Ivan Wilson, Casey Meisner, and L.J. Mazzilli have in common?

Give up?

They were all drafted before Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2013 MLB player draft.

Bellinger has become the fastest player in baseball history to reach 21 homeruns with his two bombs last night against Zach Wheeler in the first and second inning.  Now it would be unfair for me to trash the Mets for not drafting Bellinger over the picks mentioned above, none of which have made it to the major leagues.  Bellinger was the 124th overall pick so many teams missed him.  In fact Bellinger was the Dodgers fourth pick of the 2013 draft.

While Bellinger is setting records in the majors, where are the Mets five draft picks from 2013?

Smith is in triple A Las Vegas have a very good year.  He’s hitting .318 after last night’s loss to Reno.  Smith has 7 homers, 42 RBI, 18 doubles, and 1 triple.

Pitcher Andrew Church is at St. Lucie with a record of 5-5 and an ERA/WHIP of 4.33/1.35. In 79 innings he has given up 93 hits and 41 runs, walked 14 and struck out 43.  He’s not likely every going to be traded for Clayton Kershaw.

Center fielder Ivan Wilson last played at Columbia in 2016 then retired with a minor league career average of .209.

Casey Meisner, a right handed pitcher, was a beneficial pick in that he was traded to Oakland in 2015 for Tyler Clippard.  Clippard contributed much to the Mets 2015 run to the pennant.  Meisner continues to toil in Oakland’s class A advanced club in Stockton California.

Then there is L.J. Mazzilli, son of former Met Lee Mazzilii.  The young Mazz is hitting .257 spending most time in Binghamton with a handful of games in Vegas.  Mazzilli will never be a star in the majors and if anything he might be a useful role player much the way his father’s career ultimately ended up to be.

Of this group picked in ’13, clearly Smith has the biggest upside.  However, none will likely ever rise to the level of Bellinger.  It just shows how important scouting is and also how unpredictable it can be.  First round picks like Steve Chilcott may never pan out but then there’s a 62nd rounder like Mike Piazza who gets to the Hall of Fame.

Oh by the way, the Mets missed out on Aaron Judge that year also. Judge was picked 32nd overall by the Yankees.

Mets first five picks from 2013 prior to Bellinger being selected by Los Angeles:

Dominic Smith, 1B:  round 1, pick 11
Andrew Church, RHP:  round 2 pick 48
Ivan Wilson, CF: round 3, pick 76
Casey Meisner, RHP:  round 3, pick 84
LJ Mazzilli, 2B: round 4, pick 116

The Pulse of This Season

Taking the pulse of the Mets chances this season after 68 games, we find our heroes 10.5 games back of the Nationals for the division.  Also we find the Mets 12 games back of the wild card. Are you still a believer?  Well it’s going to take a lot more than belief for the Mets to reach the post season a third year in a row.

After 68 games the last two seasons, the Mets had identical records of 36-32. In 2015 after this mark, the Mets led the division by 1.5 games.  Last season, they trailed the Nationals by 6 games and the Dodgers for the wild card at just a game and a half.  Clearly the Mets were in very good striking distance the last two seasons but now the math says otherwise.  So as we did a week or so ago, let’s run the numbers.

If Washington plays one game under .500 the rest of the way (46-47) in their remaining 93 games, the Mets would need to go 58-36 the rest of the way to beat the Nats out by one game. That’s .617 ball.  It’s not impossible buy highly improbable.  The Diamondbacks and Dodgers, today with identical records of 44-26 trail the Rockies by one game.  As the number one and two wildcards, to catch them the Mets would have to play even better than what is required to overtake Washington.   If Arizona or LA, or both go .500 at 46-46 the rest of the way, they would end up with a win total of 90 for the season.  The Mets would obviously need to win 91 games by season’s end to be a wild card.  That would require a 60-33 record the rest of the way, a .649 clip.  That’s even more improbable then winning the division.

Of course one could argue that the teams currently in the lead could falter and the Mets would not have to win as many games as the scenario I presented.  True but what is the likelihood of that?  You would be banking on four teams (including the Rockies) to start losing dramatically for the Mets to gain an opening.  Plus the Mets have been a sub .500 team for the majority of the season.  What is going to change all of a sudden to correct that?  The Mets cannot seem to repel away from seven games under .500 no matter how they try.  Yoenis Cespedes returned this weekend, was brilliant offensively and the Mets sill lost the games he played in.  And with the club now facing the Dodgers in LA for four games with Clayton Kershaw on the mound tonight, they will certainly be worse off by the time they reach San Francisco at the end of the week.

Here’s the reality of the Mets future.  Nothing is going to change. They will end up with a losing season with the best case scenario being close to or perhaps a bit over .500.  Free agents Jay Bruce, Asdrubal Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, Neil Walker, Rene Rivera, Jose Reyes, and Addison Reed will be gone after the season.  David Wright will announce his retirement from baseball and Terry Collins will not be back.  This generation of Mets will have attained National League champions as their highest achievement and that ain’t bad.  But the next level will be reached by some new players, including more from the farm like Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, and led by a new manager come 2018.

As I said, anything can happen but the prospect of salvaging this season is becoming less and less with each passing series.