Mets in midst of the Dog Days of … Spring?

May 2, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets fans parade their dogs around the warning track during " Bark in the Park" before the game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
May 2, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets fans parade their dogs around the warning track during " Bark in the Park" before the game against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

The Stems have played 62 games to date; the final 100 are shaping up to be no less worrisome

There’s an old baseball adage that says every team will win 60 games and lose 60 games, and the major challenge really facing them lies in what they do with the remaining 42 games.

If you play along and do the math required of Earl Weaver‘s legendary wisdom, the Mets would need to under-perform, and post a 26-32 record over their next 58 games in order to arrive at a 60-60 mark.

Ponder that for a second, as such a scenario is not out of the question.

Terry’s Kids were 33-29 this time last year on the strength of a 15-8 record in April, before they went 20-21 over their next 41 games, giving them a 53-50 record by the July 31 (non-waiver) trade deadline.

This season, after jumping out to a similar 15-7 start in April, the Mets once again played sub .500 baseball in May, and have continued that trend so far through 12 games in June.

They most recently split a four game series in Milwaukee, and thus ended the weekend with a 34-28 season record — a mere game ahead of last year’s pace.

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The 2015 Mets lacked a legitimate slugger throughout the Spring months, whereas the players listed on this year’s Opening Day roster were ideally supposed to contend for another pennant.

But somehow last year’s early lack of MLB-level talent has been supplanted by this year’s injured MLB level talent.  As a result, the Mets have become less equipped to effectively compete today than they were back on Opening Day.

More to the point, these injuries to Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, David Wright, etc., are chiefly to blame for this year’s deja vu second place standing behind the Nationals, while their continuing prolonged absences will only continue having a debilitating effect on the offense, and sadly continue taking a cumulative toll on the defending N.L. champ’s effort to repeat.

It’s indeed ironic that Alderson secured the slugger the Mets so desperately needed in the form of Yoenis Cespedes, who today leads the team in average, home runs, RBI, OBP, and slugging. And despite the Mets hitting the third-most home runs in the National League this season, they still rank in the middle, or among the bottom third of their National League competitors in most offensive categories, much like last Spring.

National League: Mets Offense

  • Second fewest hits.
  • Fourth worst team average.
  • Sixth worst team OBP.
  • Eighth best team slugging.
  • Third fewest runs scored.
  • Third most strikeouts.
  • Eighth most walks.
  • Last in stolen bases.

Obviously, the Mets’ starting pitching and bullpen are carrying the day again.  Most other MLB pitchers would love to struggle as much as Mets fans perceive theirs have thus far among those not named Noah Syndergaard. In truth, the Mets would not be playing above .500 today, much less be within a handful of games of first place without the upper-echelon efforts of their pitchers.

National League: Mets Pitching

  • Least walks allowed.
  • Second best ERA.
  • Second fewest ER allowed.
  • Fourth fewest hits allowed.
  • Fourth best average against.
  • Fourth best WHIP.
  • Fifth most strikeouts.
  • Second most saves.
  • Second fewest blown saves.

Once again, all this pitching is similarly helping the Mets defense handle the least amount of chances in the National League, which is right in line with recording the second fewest assists, and turning the fifth least double-plays. That in turn all translated into committing the fourth least errors so far and posting the league’s fourth best fielding average.

Defensively speaking, however, some things definitely have not changed. The Mets have had the most stolen base attempts made against them in the National League this season, and likewise have allowed the most stolen bases, which is no wonder considering their opponents are successful 72 percent of the time — third worst rate in the N.L.  Through sheer volume, Mets catchers have actually thrown out the league’s third most would be base stealers.

On that note, I’ll say I find the Mets’ lack of a running game and their inability to defend against the running game doubly disturbing.

Next: Walker hopes to return to the lineup on Tuesday

The Mets are off Monday, leaving the Nationals alone to either build upon their 4.5 game division lead at home against the Chicago Cubs, or hand the Amazin’s a half game back in the standings.

Last year at this time, the Mets were two games out of first place behind the Nationals.

Just saying…

Summer is just over a week away.

For now, keep your spirits up, and continue grinding through the final Dog Days of Spring.