The Mets went into the 2021 season, knowing they’d be playing in MLB’s tightest division. If they can win it, they’re in it all the way.
While the Mets take it one game at a time, moving Jacob deGrom a day forward to meet their arch-rival Washington Nationals, and they are rewarded with another Cy Young outing by deGrom for a win, the NL East Standings reveal the story they know will always be true.
Fascinating is that the Mets are the only team in the division with a record of .500 or better – but when you consider that only eleven of thirty MLB teams can say the same thing today – what’s the big deal?
Even so, the Mets are back to .500 as Marcus Stroman sustains a 7-1 loss in this afternoon’s contest against those same Nationals.
Mets Get Points For Perseverance And Persistence
The Mets have fought hard through the first fifteen games of their season, doing loopy-loops to accommodate COVID inflicted teams, rainouts, and snowouts to achieve the 8-7 record they have.
But for all that, they are locked in a division where two games separate first place from last place, with the wonderment – are any of these teams, including the Mets, capable of reeling off twelve wins in a row as the unmighty Oakland A’s have done?
A separator will create havoc in the division and determine the team to beat from here on in.
For Mets fans, the question becomes if this Mets team has the wherewithal to be that team in their division and if they aren’t, will the season remain a nail-biter from here on out?
The NL East – A Television Dream
Television networks, including the Mets’ own SNY, dream of the standings looking a lot like they do today with two weeks remaining in the season when their head-to-head games dwindle to only thirteen games against division rivals, with contests against the Yankees, Brewers, and Cardinals interspersed between.
That’s a pressure-filled month for any team, which is why the Mets need to be seeking to be five or ten over .500 by then while hoping there is no team in the NL East that will rip off a string like the A’s or even what the Kansas City Royals (7-3) are doing.
It’s not like the Mets can’t know this, but what’s the formula to make it happen?
First, and at some point this season, Sandy Alderson and Steve Cohen must realize their work is not done.
Thinking that Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Carrasco will come in, setting the rotation on fire with starts emulating Jacob deGrom can be hoped for but should not be relied on.
The trade deadline looms in July but is this Mets team willing to bet they get that far, still in reasonable reach of contention?
Or do they need a kick in the butt – now – with a reach into another quality starter even if it turns out to be only for insurance purposes?
You’re asking who? Well, that’s not the job we’re getting paid big bucks for, is it?
The Mets bats, for the moment, remain in limbo in terms of judging how much help they can give the team as it moves forward.
J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, all expected to be run producers for the Mets, show the team last in the major leagues in runs scored, and as we know, teams don’t win (unless deGrom is pitching) without runners crossing the plate.
Please make no mistake, the glass is half-full for the Mets at this stage of the young season, and they have nothing to be ashamed of…but…
Are The Mets The Team To Break From The Pack
Somewhere, and we don’t yet know from where there will be a team in the NL East that makes a decided move to separate themselves from the pack.
With MLB’s reversion to a ten as opposed to a sixteen-team playoff format, we saw last year, together with the odds-on favorite San Diego Padres on their way to securing one of the two Wild Card Spots…well, that spells out the Mets season for itself – if they can’t win the division.
Unless you see something I don’t, and with the present composition of their starting pitching rotation, together with the off-and-on-Mets ability to score runs, it seems likely the Mets will never claim the residence as the top team in their division this season.
They’ll be in the fight as they are now unless Alderson and his brain trust make a move or two to put this Mets team, as good as it is, over the top, remains only a wish and a prayer – though I have to admit – a very entertaining season for all fans.