Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Friday, July 24, 2015 at 12:34 PM
Wayne Root: Checking in on the New York Mets
The New York Mets begin a four-game gut-check series with the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday night that could make or break their season. It's been awhile since I've checked in on the Mets on these pages. You regulars know I follow the New York sports very closely since I grew up there as a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher in Mt. Vernon, NY!)
Earlier this season, I expressed some hope, but more skepticism about the Mets making a playoff run. Since then, they've mostly been treading water. That's better than sinking! But, they're mostly in the playoff picture now because Washington is playing below expectations...and because the top Wildcard threats have been inconsistent. It's great to be in the playoff race...but being just a little bit over .500 as you approach the 100-game mark means you're probably not really a playoff team.
That all could change if the Mets impress this weekend against the proven Dodgers. The media is sure showcasing this high profile series. Here's the TV coverage...
Thursday: MLB Network
Saturday: Part of FOX regional coverage
Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke in the Big Apple...BIG NEWS!
I'm not going to talk about who I may or may not be picking game-by-game in this series. But, I did want to take a closer look at the Mets. Let's see if they have what it takes to win this weekend and make a run at either their division or a Wildcard spot.
STRIKES AGAINST THE METS
There's a long list of them unfortunately for Mets fans...
*Negative run differential (playoff teams have positive run differentials)
*A dismal road record of 17-32 (playoff teams aren't that helpless on the road)
*A horrible record of 15-28 vs. teams at .500 or better exposes them as a pretender
*An unimpressive record outside the division of 25-29 (they play in a weak division)
*An 8-1 record against helpless Philadelphia is the only reason they're over .500
Sorry...handicappers have to be honest because picking winners comes from understanding what's actually happening. The Mets AREN'T a playoff caliber team...and that would be much more obvious if they weren't getting so many divisional games in the disappointing NL East. They're 15-28 against .500 or better opposition even counting what's happened on what's been a strong home field!
Now...it IS possible for teams who aren't "playoff caliber" to still sneak into a postseason. That's true in all sports...and more possible these days in MLB with the expanded Wildcard. Could the Mets still sneak in?
IN FAVOR OF A PLAYOFF RUN
*Fantastic starting pitching (great arms can carry a mediocre team)
*Playing in a weak division gives them a shot to win that division at least
*A great home record of 32-14 should prevent long slumps from happening
*There's always a chance the team could get BETTER
*Pitching rules baseball...and the Mets have the #3 ERA in the NL entering this series.
Right now...I'm not buying them for an October appearance. But, I'm certainly open to the possibility that this young team gets better during the final third of the season in a way that pushes them into the playoffs. If they get better while Washington continues to disappoint, it's possible. Not probable...but possible because of what a quality pitching staff can do to a weak division.
Given all that, it's difficult right now to be optimistic about this weekend series against a league power who also has great pitching...particularly the games superstars Kershaw (Thursday) and Greinke (Friday). The Mets just went 2-4 on the road against probably playoff-bound Washington and St. Louis. But, these games are in NY where the Mets have sparkled this season. That gives them a fighting chance to at least split the four-game set and hang around for awhile longer. If the Mets go 1-3 or 0-4...then you can probably stick a fork in them. Three-and-one or better...and I just might be jumping onto this bandwagon because of the soft divisional schedule that still awaits.
Enjoy this big series! I just might be getting involved myself. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my long term programs best suits your individual needs, please talk to my representative in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS during normal business hours. Note that NFL training camps open next week. Be sure you ask about football when you call!
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