Most pro baseball players long to have a few days off at the All-Star break in mid-July each year.
It’s a total grind to play almost every day for three and half months, so the four-day break is well-deserved.
But for the Mets this year, the All-Star break came at the worst possible time. The team was scorching hot, but that hot-streak has since flared out in the seven games after the break.
The Mets were the hottest team in the National League to end the unofficial first half at 8-2 in their last 10 games. They were only five games under .500, and the feelings around the team were very positive for a change.
The team was pitching and hitting well and finding ways to win games late. There were a few come-from-behind wins, and the team rose up to the challenge against some All-Star pitchers including Yu Darvish, Julio Teheran and Henderson Alvarez.
Sometimes, the best method to continue a hot streak is to keep playing continuously. You’re in the zone, and you just keep riding the wave of success.
But the All-Star break really crushed the momentum of this team. Yes, they’re on a difficult road trip, but they have barely touched the ball offensively after clicking on all cylinders right before the break.
They’ve scored only 15 runs in the seven games since the break, which averages to 2.14 runs per game. Even with a strong pitching staff, that amount of runs will rarely be able to sustain a long winning streak.
And on a night like last night where Dillon Gee implodes, there’s virtually no chance of winning.
Maybe this recent stretch is the team returning to normalcy. It could also signify the Mets being sellers at this year’s trade deadline.
But on the other hand, the Mets showed the potential that they have right before the break. Sure, basically everything has to be perfect every night, but if the team showed it could rattle off eight wins in 10 games, what’s to say they can’t do that again?
The All-Star break is usually the deciding factor of which teams are in the race and which are beginning to look ahead to the next season. But with the second Wild Card spot, teams on the fringe are hanging on to every possible hope of playing postseason baseball.
As of today, the Mets are 8.5 games out of the division and 7.0 games out of the Wild Card. There are plenty of divisional matchups left to make up some ground in the division, but earning a Wild Card spot would require jumping over five teams.
Really the next week before the deadline is going to be critical. If this team can find ways to win, maybe they look to acquire some help right now. But if the recent trend of an inept offense continues, it’s time to regroup towards next year, which would include bringing up some of the young arms to see what we’ve got.