The Mets’ offense finally showed some life at Nationals Park on Sunday afternoon. After losing Game 1 of a split doubleheader by a score of 3-2, New York produced an eight-run outburst in the fifth inning of Game 2. They used that to coast to an 8-2 victory in Max Scherzer’s return to the mound.
So, is the World Series back on? Depends on who you ask, of course. Some of you are probably saying, “Matt, it’s May 15th, stop spewing this nonsense.” And you would be right. Championships are not won in April and May, but they sure can be lost. If a team digs itself into a big enough hole, it can be very hard — almost impossible — to claw all the way back in the standings.
That 8-2 victory was the Mets’ 20th of the year, improving their record to 20-21. That’s not what anyone was hoping for at this point. Especially since New York was 14-7 as recently as three weeks ago.
But it’s not like their postseason dreams are dashed. The Braves, even as good as they’ve been, are only 5.5 games ahead of the Mets. And, manager Buck Showalter’s club is currently 0.5 games out of the final NL Wild Card spot.
We were spoiled with the Mets’ generally consistent results between April and August last season. Since old habits die hard, it’s easy for Mets fans to think everything is about to go down the tubes. After all, this is a movie we’ve seen in the past.
Are you in need of some statistics/recent history to make you feel better about the Mets’ chances of winning their first World Series since 1986? Then please turn your attention to the below tweet. Each National League team that’s reached the World Series since 2018 (not counting 2020) had a losing record through their first 40 games.
Thru their first 40 games of the season:
2022 Phillies (18-22)
2021 Braves (19-21)
2019 Nationals (16-24)
2018 Dodgers (16-24)
All 4 teams went on to win the NL pennant pic.twitter.com/vTSBKevV4p
— The Game Day MLB (@TheGameDayMLB) May 12, 2023
Every situation is different and the Mets still have to go out and do the damn thing (like, remember to play baseball more than once or twice a week). But still, it’s at least somewhat comforting to see this.
It also serves as yet another reminder of how long an MLB regular season is. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Starting hot would be great, but we also watched the Mets wilt last September, which led to their ultimate fate. And look at the 2022 Phillies. They nearly gave up the sixth seed (which didn’t exist in 2021), got hot at the right time, and rode that all the way to the Fall Classic.
So, no — as bad as the Mets have looked the past few weeks, the season is far from over. They’ve put themselves in a not-so-great situation, but the hole isn’t too deep yet. If they can get their collective act together, there’s plenty of time to turn things around and make 2023 one to remember (for the right reasons).
Entering Monday’s games, the Mets’ chances of making the postseason stand at 58.2%. That’s a far cry from their 77.1% odds on Opening Day, but they’re still in New York’s favor. Their odds of winning the World Series stand at 4.5%. That’s also a far cry from the 8.0% mark they had a couple of months ago, but it’s still the National League’s fourth-highest odds at the moment.
Let’s hope that win in DC on Sunday can spark them in the way everyone is hoping it will.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.