NL Wild Card standings by run differential: Mets right where they belong

A different look at the NL Wild Card standings doesn't help move the Mets any higher than they already are.
New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Run differential can sometimes be a good way to determine how lucky or unlucky a team has been. Last year, the Miami Marlins had a -57 run differential and yet they were a playoff team. The New York Mets, meanwhile, with 9 fewer losses were at only -12. They’re actually already worse this year at -16 after losing to the Marlins who improved their run differential to -79 with an 8-0 win on Friday versus our Mets.

Wins are what matter most and in the very tight NL Wild Card standings, you don’t need a winning record to have some air. The San Diego Padres at 23-24 hold onto the third spot with the Mets and four other teams less than 2 games behind.

What if the NL Wild Card standings were a little different? How would it look with run differential?

The NL Wild Card standings by run differential doesn’t do anything to help the Mets

It doesn’t look like we need to ask Rob Manfred for a change here as the Mets with a 20-24 record and -16 run differential don’t benefit from any Mickey Mouse rules. Here’s how the NL Wild Card standings look if it was based only on run differential

Atlanta Braves +46
Chicago Cubs +8
San Diego Padres +6
Arizona Diamondbacks +2
Cincinnati Reds -2
Washington Nationals -12
New York Mets -16
Pittsburgh Pirates -27
San Francisco Giants -41
St. Louis Cardinals -46
Colorado Rockies -60
Miami Marlins -79

The first four spots are an exact match to what the standings truly are with the biggest leap coming from the Cincinnati Reds whose 19-26 record is much worse than the -2 run differential. The Mets, currently in a tie but two percentage points behind the Pirates and Giants, don’t move up. They’ve played two fewer games than the Pirates and Giants and to get even in the actual Wild Card standings they only need to go .500.

Very much in the thick of the NL Wild Card standings, we do see how much further behind the Mets may actually be but also how more regularly they’ve been playing competitive games than teams like the Pirates and Giants. 

The situation in the American League is far more complicated. The Tampa Bay Rays have a -27 run differential and are a game out of a Wild Card spot. The Seattle Mariners at just +3 lead the AL West with the +8 Texas Rangers trailing. Then there is the surging Houston Astros at 20-25 with a  -9 run differential and 6-game winning streak. Maybe the Justin Verlanders aren’t finished yet.