Labor Day is officially in the rearview mirror, folks. The final stretch is upon us for the MLB regular season with the playoffs looming. Over the past five months, the Mets have produced unlike many teams we’ve seen in franchise history.
Sure, nothing is in the bag despite an 85-50 record since the Braves are only one game behind them in the National League East. Winning the division has always been important. However, with the expanded playoff format allowing 12 teams to play in October and a bye for the top two seeds in each league, winning the division has never been more crucial.
To reach those heights, consistency in various situations and head-to-head matchups is key. That’s what the Mets have done so far. Let’s see exactly how good this team is compared to some of the organization’s other successful teams since 1962.
What we’ll be looking at for the Mets’ performance
As we sit here on Tuesday with the Mets preparing to face the Pirates, they’ve shined in just about every situation you can think of. Seriously.
New York has enjoyed home cooking this year, evidenced by its 46-23 record at Citi Field. Manager Buck Showalter has steered the ship of some road warriors, too. The Mets are 39-27 on the road.
They’ve also taken care of business against all National League divisions, whether we’re talking about the East (44-21), Central (15-5), or West (19-14). And if we look at the Mets’ monthly splits, they’re above .500 in each month between April and August:
- April: 15-7
- May: 19-10
- June: 13-12
- July: 17-8
- August: 19-11
How many Mets teams in franchise history have produced a winning record in each of these situations? As you might’ve guessed by now, the answer is not many.
The Mets have put themselves in rare company
First, let’s look at these splits separately before trying to put them all together.
Watching the Mets post a winning record at home and on the road has been more common than I expected. It’s happened 15 times in franchise history, including five times since the turn of the century. New York hasn’t accomplished this feat since 2016, and unless the bottom completely falls out over the next month, that drought will soon be over.
Regarding New York’s performance against various National League divisions, they’ve posted a record above .500 against each in the same season 13 times. It’s been a little while since this one has happened, though. If we want to loosen the rules, the 2008 Mets were the last team to do it, but this included an even .500 record against the NL Central (20-20). Outside of that, the last time this happened was in 2006.
The rarest occurrence out of these three scenarios is finishing each month of the regular season with a winning record. It’s happened just twice in club history: 1986 and 1988. These seasons represent two of the three times New York has ever posted campaigns with 100-plus wins (the other being 1969).
Now, the big question is this: how many Mets teams have posted a winning record in all of these scenarios? If the 2022 club can keep things up over the final month, they’ll become just the third Mets team to ever have a winning record in every month, at home and on the road, and against every NL division, joining the ’86 and ’88 clubs.
Although the start of their month hasn’t gone how people hoped, one would think that a soft September schedule will allow them to achieve this.
Looking ahead to October
Will the Mets play well enough to secure their first NL East title since 2015, enabling them to earn a bye and have a rested squad for the NLDS? It’s not going to be easy since it seems like the Braves never lose these days. Without thinking about Atlanta, New York’s own consistency should be a source of confidence — especially if everyone is healthy.
Would it be ideal to use Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer in the best-of-three Wild Card series and not have them ready to pitch in Games 1 and 2 of the NLDS (should they advance)? No, not at all. However, Chris Bassitt has proven to be a solid number-three option.
Plus, there’s more rotation depth that could give Showalter multiple innings if necessary. This includes Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, Taijuan Walker, and Trevor Williams. And if Tylor Megill comes back in time to join the bullpen, that’d help strengthen an area of potential weakness for New York throughout the playoffs.
What’s most important for this club as they prepare for October is their collective resiliency. So far this year, they’ve bounced back each time after getting knocked down. We’ll hopefully see that happen in Pittsburgh after a rough showing against the Nats. But New York’s consistent success against all NL opponents, at home and on the road, and through each month of the regular season is a good sign moving forward.
Especially when we know that the only other times they were this consistent was in ’86 and ’88.
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Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.