Okay, maybe “make or break” is going a little too far for the first month of the season. But hear me out.
Looking at the team’s April schedule, there’s no denying that this will be an important month for the New York Mets. This could legitimately be the most important April in recent franchise history.
The Mets have a schedule of exclusively intra-division games until May 7. In other words, the first 32 games of the Mets season will be played against NL East teams.
This included six games against the Nationals, ten against the much-improved Braves, six against the punching-bag Phillies, and seven against the Marlins. Five of those games are already in the books and the Mets are 2-3 in those contests against the Braves (2-1) and the Marlins (0-2).
It’s going to be a while before the Mets have an extended opportunity to beat up on teams in their division again after this stretch. They have just seven division games from May 9 through June 25, and none from May 8 through June 8.
Many fans have a tendency to say “It’s just April” when it comes to early-season matchups, but there’s no downplaying the importance of this schedule for the Mets. They could actually propel themselves to the top of the division and bury some opposing teams right from the get-go if they come out of the gate strong. It may just be April, but this is the only month of the season where matchups are to be played exclusively against division rivals.
The Mets were 40-36 against NL East teams last season, far worse than the 47-29 mark the NL Champion team of 2015 put up.
The East could also be a tougher division this season with a very strong Nationals team, a much-improved Braves team, and a Marlins team that was in Wild Card contention for much of last season. So winning against these teams will be of heightened importance for the Mets, meaning this April will be more important than most.