There may be 129 games left to play, but it’s not an overreaction to say that the Mets are at a critical juncture of their season.
After a pleasantly surprising start to the season, the Mets lost Wednesday to fall back under .500, an event that has proven to be a death knell the last couple years. In 2012 our collective hopes were kept up until July 22nd before a loss pushed the team below the even mark and into the abyss. Last season’s warm feeling was much more fleeting, as the Mets fell to 10-11 on April 26th and never recovered.
Of course, .500 is a fairly arbitrary, and, by definition, average percentage. And being at, above or below that mark in May probably doesn’t mean much over an extremely long season.
But with the rival Phillies coming to town, followed by a rough stretch of games with the Yankees, Nationals and Dodgers, hovering at or above .500 could be a huge psychological boost to a team that just suffered three walk-off losses in a week. It will help bring more fans to the park as the weather warms up, keep the Mets out of cynical back page puns in the daily tabloids and bring back the confident vibe the team seemed to have just a week ago.
Mets third baseman David Wright spoke about this juncture in a season after Wednesday’s game. “This is where we’ve gotten ourselves in trouble in the past. We allow these things to kind of stretch out for a couple of weeks rather than a series here and there.”
“But this is where we need to stop it here. There’s an off day tomorrow and then regroup. We’ve been playing better at home as of late. So, hopefully, we can take care of business at home. Hopefully the difference between this year and the last couple of years is when we go in these little slides we stop it at a series or stop it at two series rather than let it carry over and turn into a couple-week thing.”
Like most people, I didn’t and still don’t think the Mets will be very good this year. But they are at a crossroads of sorts in terms of the 2014 season. The Mets can rebound from this brutal past week and make the year fun for as possible, or they go into the downward-spiral mode we have become all too familiar with before Memorial Day.
Let’s hope that when all is said and done, however it plays out, we aren’t saying that May 7th was the beginning of the end of the 2014 Mets season.