Mets predictions for their 2020 matchups against the AL East

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: A general view prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 11: A general view prior to the game between the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals at Citi Field on August 11, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

What can we expect from the New York Mets in their upcoming games against the American League East squads?

As of Sunday August 16, the New York Mets have played four of their 20 scheduled games against AL East teams in the 2020 shortened season. Coming up, they have six games against the New York Yankees, four against the Baltimore Orioles, three against the Toronto Blue Jays, and three against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Mets already split their season series with the Boston Red Sox, which was a four-game set from July 27-30.

Though these AL East matchups are not against division rivals, they still pose an intriguing challenge for the Amazins. The AL East has been all over the place this season, with the Red Sox quickly settling into last place and the assumed basement dwellers, the Orioles, suddenly in contention.

Let’s break down the Mets’ chances against each of these remaining teams this season. We might as well get the annoying older brother out of the way, so I’ll start with the Yankees.

Mets/Yankees prediction: Mets win two out of six games

The Yankees have had a solid start to their season, going 14-6 in their first 20 games and sitting comfortably atop the division. The bullpen has long been a strength for the Bronx Bombers and has continued to impress this season, putting up a 3.69 ERA through 20 games. However, the Mets match up surprisingly well with the Yankees in this department. Though their overall bullpen ERA is 4.62, Mets relievers have pitched to a 3.08 ERA in August so far.

Both teams have both dealt with injuries in 2020. Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, and Aaron Judge recently went on the IL for the Yankees, while Jacob deGrom has been banged up recently and Robinson Cano led the Mets with a .412 batting average before his own IL stint.

The Yankees looked far stronger than the Mets in the two “Subway Series” exhibition games. I still feel that the Yankees are a better and deeper team overall. The Mets’ best chance of beating the Yankees? Starting either Jacob deGrom or David Peterson, hoping lefty-hitting Dom Smith blasts some homers into the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium, and trusting that Seth Lugo is available in the later innings to shut down the powerful Yankee lineup.

Mets/Rays prediction: Mets win one out of three games

As for the Rays, they have proved to be particularly pesky against every team they’ve played this year. They have long had a reputation as a scrappy team built on pitching, defense, and lots of solid players rather than one or two superstars. With that said, their offense has been potent in 2020, scoring 14 and 17 runs respectively in two separate games already this season. Their lineup has had many contributors, but second baseman Brandon Lowe has led the way with a .319 batting average, six home runs, and 19 RBI through 21 games.

Before the shortened season began, many media outlets predicted the Rays to finish comfortably in second place in the AL East, and it looks as if they’re headed that way. Their team ERA through 21 games was 4.39, which looks much better than the Mets’ 5.07 ERA through 22 games. I have a feeling that the Rays will give the Mets trouble in 2020.

Mets/Orioles prediction: Mets win three out of four games

The Orioles have been a fascinating story so far in 2020. They were practically laughed out of the division before the season started, with some media outlets suggesting that the Orioles would struggle to win 10 out of 60 games. They have already eclipsed that lowly figure in just 20 games, starting the season at a 12-8 clip. Their lineup has been on a tear, with a .266 team batting average through 20 games that leads the entire American League. They have also batted .251 with RISP this season, which far exceeds the Mets’ mark of .208 with RISP.

Before the season, I would have said that the four games against the Orioles should be easy wins for the Mets. Judging by the Amazins’ past struggles with “should-beat” teams like the Miami Marlins, I’m not comfortable assuming that the Mets will win all four games. Again, their chances for success all depends on who’s starting the games. If the Orioles come back to earth by September, and the Mets have some combination of deGrom, Peterson, and ground-ball-machine Rick Porcello going against the O’s, they should be in good shape.

Mets/Blue Jays prediction: Mets sweep the three game series

Finally, we have the Toronto Blue Jays. Their lineup is filled with budding young stars like Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. They also have several players on their roster who used to play in Queens, including Joe Panik, Wilmer Font, and Anthony Kay. Though they have lots of talent, it has not quite translated into results thus far in 2020 and they have gone 7-9 in their first 16 games.

The Blue Jays rank last in the AL in runs scored, suggesting that their highly touted lineup may not quite be reaching its full potential. Still, the Mets are 7th in the NL with 97 runs scored, and yet their record through 22 games is only 9-13. The Blue Jays pitching staff also leads the AL with the fewest home runs allowed, at only 19. By comparison, Mets pitchers have allowed 32 home runs, with Steven Matz alone accounting for nine of them.

Though several comparable statistics favor the Blue Jays, they are still under .500 for the season so far. Hyun Jin Ryu, Toronto’s big offseason pitching addition, has pitched to a respectable 4.05 ERA through four starts but has not revived his Cy Young-worthy self from last year. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Mets will do very well against the Blue Jays this season, just because I’m feeling optimistic.

Overall Performance

With these anticipated results compiled, I predict that the Mets will go a total of 9-7 in their 16 remaining games against AL East teams. Taking their four-game split against the Red Sox into account, that will bring their 2020 season series record to 11-9 against the five AL East teams.

Will that be enough to eke the Metropolitans into a 2020 playoff spot? It would certainly help bring their current record closer to .500, but I’m still not sure if the Amazins have a strong enough starting rotation and enough clutch hitting to take down the rest of their NL East opponents.

Still, the Mets’ playoff chances were looking grim at the All-Star break in 2019, and they played their way back into contention. The unique rules of the 2020 season mean that the Mets technically have more than a 50% chance to make the postseason no matter how they do. I am optimistic that they’ll be at least in the running for one of the eight NL playoff spots.

Next. Three ex-Mets who deserved more playing time

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Hopefully, their AL East matchups give them enough victories to solidify their 2020 postseason chances.