Bottom dwellers help sink Mets

Posted on August 21, 2010 by

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After last night’s 7-2 win over the last-place Pirates, the Mets evened their record for the season at 61-61, the only .500 team in the majors. But should the Mets be .500 and how exactly did the club get to be in this position?

If you look at just runs, the Mets should be slightly better than they are. They have a +18 run differential, which works out to a 64-58 mark. Of course, things have really gone south for the club since the All-Star break. In the second half of the year, the Mets have been outscored, 130-99. That run differential should work out to a 12-19 record, a win worse than they have actually been.

So, after underperforming their Pythagorean record by four games in the first half, the Mets have actually outperformed Pythagoras in the second half. A pitching staff that has allowed two runs or less in 15 out of the last 34 games, has certainly helped.

But let’s look at something besides run differential. Instead, let’s focus on how the Mets have done against the best and worst teams in the majors. The Mets have played five of the six division winners, having not played against the Texas Rangers this year.

Against the Yankees, Twins, Braves, Reds and Padres – teams with a combined 362-247 record and a .594 winning percentage – the Mets have gone 16-16. On the flip side, against teams with the worst record in baseball, the Mets have not cleaned up.

When facing Baltimore, Cleveland, Washington, Pittsburgh and Arizona (the Mets did not play Seattle this year) New York has gone 13-12. This is against teams with a 233-379 record and a .381 winning percentage.

The Mets swept Baltimore and Cleveland and so far are 1-0 against the Pirates. The trouble came against Arizona (1-5) and Washington (5-7). Against two teams with a combined .352 winning percentage, the Mets are 6-12. The rest of baseball has a .665 record against the Diamondbacks and Nationals. The Mets play at a .333 clip against them.

If the Mets played as well against those two squads as the rest of baseball, they would have gone 12-6 rather than 6-12 and their overall record would be 67-55. That record would put the Mets five games out and within striking distance of the Braves in the NL East and 2.5 games behind the Phillies for the Wild Card.

The Mets do not play the Diamondbacks the rest of the season. However, they do have six games left with the Nationals. If the Mets hope to finish above .500 this year, they will have to beat teams like Washington like the rest of baseball does. New York also has five games left against Florida, which has defeated the Mets eight times in 13 tries this season.

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Posted in: Perspectives