2 reasons the Mets will finish above .500, 2 reasons they will finish below

The Mets have played .500 baseball in their first 36 games. Will they end the year over or under the even mark?
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals
New York Mets v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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After their series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the New York Mets record is now even at .500. Sitting at 18-18 in a deadlock tie with the Washington Nationals for third-place in the National League East isn’t ideal and yet what matters more than anything else is where the Mets are in the Wild Card race.

You might be surprised to discover that a .500 record is all it takes to have the third Wild Card spot right now. The San Diego Padres at 20-20 are technically ahead of the Mets and of course they’re sharing the spot along with the Nationals with a duplicate record. The National League is still a top-heavy one with the Mets right there in the middle.

The mission isn’t to just finish above .500. Their aim is for far more. There is a case for them to end the year over the even mark. There is just as much of one to believe they’ll be under. Which do you believe? Let’s look at cases for both scenarios.

The Mets will finish above .500 because of their pitching talent and depth

The Mets pitching this season has been good even with some deception. The staff’s ERA would be even more impressive if not for Adrian Houser and a couple of relievers who’ve come and gone and come back again.

Pitching has been a source of strength. The limited number of innings from the starters has been overcome by the success of the relievers. With a couple of longer outings from the starters of late, they can avoid the catastrophic problem of burning out the bullpen arms too quickly in the season. Three more outs more regularly is all we’re asking for boys.

The talent is there. Equally as important is the depth. Beyond the current starter five, the Mets have a slew of other arms capable of getting big league outs. We have yet to see Kodai Senga. Tylor Megill is on his way back and let’s not ignore how hyped he was coming into this year. What about David Peterson? He’s no complete pushover. Neither is Joey Lucchesi.

There shouldn’t be a point this season when the Mets have to exhaustively put a starter on the mound who isn’t getting the job done. All of the optional players should head immediately back to the minors if they are struggling. As they did with Houser already, the veterans should have a quick hook.

Failing relievers will be tougher to manage, but already we’ve seen them strike gold with Reed Garrett. Jorge Lopez has been pretty awesome, too.

The Mets pitching staff was the reason why many doubters pointed at this team as one destined to finish below .500. Luis Severino has been superb. Sean Manaea is better than usual. And a whole cast of characters slotting in behind them should keep the Mets over .500 by the time the year is through.