Despite the Mets best efforts to throw away last night’s game against the Braves, this team really isn’t as bad as their 37-46 record suggests.
At nine games under .500, their .446 winning percentage places them 10th in the National League and 23rd in all of Major League Baseball. While a bottom 10 spot does put them among the bottom feeders record-wise, their run differential is only -3 on the season (323 runs scored, 326 runs allowed).
A .500 team, in theory should score as many runs as they’ve allowed. At -3, the Mets should really be much closer to the .500 mark, which is where I felt they would be at 81-81 before the season started.
We all know that the Mets have difficulty scoring runs, and with 323 runs scored, they’re 19th in all of Major League Baseball, which is in the bottom third. They have also allowed just 326 runs, which is 12th best, or just outside of the top 10. With the re-vamped bullpen and the transfer of Jenrry Mejia from the rotation to the pen, the pitching staff is stronger as it is currently constituted than the 12th best figure implies.
There are currently 14 teams with a positive run differential and 16 that are negative. At a -3 run differential, the Mets are 15th best in all of Major League Baseball – or smack in the middle of the pack. The very definition of a .500 team.
So what is separating this current squad from a .500 record (which would have the Mets right in the playoff hunt)? Timely hitting and contact.
How many one-run games would the Mets have won this year if they had just managed to get the runner in from third base with less than two outs? That -3 differential would be a positive number and we’d be talking very differently about this team. They really aren’t that far off. The pitching is here, and this is without Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero in this rotation.
Of the seven teams with worse winning percentages than the Mets, all of them have worse run differentials than the Mets. The only one with a run differential close to the Mets are the Cubs (-8). The other teams with worse records than the Mets are the Rockies (-18), Rays (-36), Phillies (-40), Astros (-58), Padres (-58), and Diamondbacks (-68).
There are presently only two teams with negative run differentials that have winning records. The Pittsburgh Pirates are at (-9) with a 42-40 record and the Yankees are at (-33) with a 41-40 record.
While the record may not show it, the Mets aren’t that far off. They are only a bat away from some serious contention and a little contact from the current lineup wouldn’t hurt. But if the Mets faithful need any solace, the Yankees don’t look to be going anywhere this season, either.