The New York Mets completed the first half of the 2021 season in first place with a decent cushion ahead of the other National League East teams. Even when they’ve gone into slumps, the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals have had a tough time making anyone nervous.
However, the second half schedule may make things a little more difficult. The Mets remaining strength of schedule is one of the toughest in baseball. One of the easiest belongs to the Phillies.
And according to Baseball-Reference’s predictions, this might be just enough for the Mets to fall to Philadelphia down the stretch.
The Phillies, not the first place Mets, are the odds favorite to win the NL East
The Mets have a 26.5% chance to earn a playoff berth this year. It’s good. But it’s not Philly-good.
The Phillies, a team often caught chasing their own tail, have a 35.9% chance. The numbers seem to believe they have caught up close enough to the Mets to take advantage of a weak final two and a half months.
Average win totals for both teams are 82.4 for the Phillies and 81.3 for the Mets. In other words, the Phillies might be favorited but it’s only by a hair.
These measurements do not take a lot of factors into account. Injuries even Nostradamus didn’t predict will happen. Then there are trades, hot streaks from individual players, and so many other elements at play. Strength of schedule only works in one area: predictions.
Something essential that did catch my eye is a missing game for the New York club. At best, the Phillies are expected to finish 89-73. Add them up and you get 162.
Meanwhile, the Mets have an expected-best record of 88-73. Where is that missing game?
We know how important every game is. With these predictions, we get a strong reminder.
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The schedule may not favor the orange and blue in the second half. This doesn’t mean it’s time to wave the white flags. If they could win games with Cameron Maybin hitting in the middle of the lineup in May, imagine what a healthy roster with the season on the line can do in September.