For the past week or so, the moans and groans from the fan base would indicate that the New York Mets’ season has taken a nightmarish turn.
As a matter of fact, the season has been anything but that. Currently the Mets are one game ahead of the pace they were on last year and they are coming off their fifth World Series Appearance in franchise history. Speaking towards that stat alone is something that 28 other teams wish they could claim.
More importantly, their record of 49-42 has served them well thus far, good enough to grant New York the second National League Wildcard spot – which they share with divisional foe Miami Marlins. Being tied for the second wildcard is a luxury that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Despite an abundance of injuries to their starting rotation, for instance Matt Harvey, a starter whose only taken part in 20% of the Mets’ games this season.
While losing Harvey for the rest of the season stings. It’s totally understandable to feel that way. However, when glancing at his numbers at the surface, the Mets could be better off without him. First off, his WAR is a microscopic o.1 for the season. Let’s be clear, that is nothing to fawn over. To continue, his ERA this season is 4.86. If you’ve kept track throughout his career with the Mets, that would make this season alone 1.94 runs per game higher than his career ERA of 2.94.
Because the Mets play in the National League, games are generally lower scoring and consequently closer. This indicates that any game that Harvey has pitched where the run margin has been either one or two, the Mets have wasted his start. At 6.5 games back from the division, the Mets are prime for missing the NL East crown this year, although there’s still 70+ games of baseball to be played. Even if the Mets don’t win the division that doesn’t mean they aren’t good enough. It’s because other teams are better. The Mets would be in a different position had they taken care of business against the East-leading Nationals last weekend.
Not only has the NL East grown to be more formidable than it has been in the past, but the whole National League is deeper, too. Case in point, seven of the league’s 15 teams have over .500 records. This alone would make the Mets look foolish to go out and acquire a big-time bat (like Cespedes last year), or a front-line starter (that’s self-explanatory for New York which has the third best ERA in baseball). With the Marlins improving, and the Phillies and Braves building for the future, it would be quite a risk to mortgage the farm system.
While the Mets continue to scratch and claw amidst the log-jammed wildcard race. Pending turnarounds remain: can Jose Reyes hit like he once did early in his career? Can Curtis Granderson flash the power at the plate that he so often flashed in 2015? These are questions that the Mets must answer in order to achieve a sterling second half.