Supposedly the Mets have a difficult schedule coming up. To think this is some make or break period though is a little silly. All games count, but there is still so much time left after these games that they don’t quite mean that much in the grand course of the schedule, unless they did something crazy like win 25, or 75, percent of them. I suspect what people are really saying when they tell you about the difficult schedule is that if the Mets can get through another stretch of games and stay in the playoff picture, they’ll start believing.
I say you believe now. It’s more fun. Still, let’s take a look at this so-called difficult schedule. (The New York Football Giants laugh at your strength of schedule arguments btw) Carlos Beltran and the St. Louis Cardinal are next. They’re pretty good, although one game worse than the Mets so far. Nationals up after that, who are leading the division right now but merely 1.5 games up. This is the biggest series of the bunch, for obvious reason.
Then it’s interleague play, which always matters less because the opposing team is not competing for the same playoff spot. The Yankees are currently 1.5 games worse than the Mets and the Rays are only one better. The Reds have one less loss than the Mets and the Mets have already split two with them, and the Orioles are a team picked to finish last like the Mets. (that should be a fun one if they’re both in first)
Not to say this isn’t a tough stretch, but these teams are not teams that are playing better than the Mets, they’re teams playing much like the Mets. Equal competition, not better, unless you’re a non-believer. The only teams truly dominating right now are the Rangers in the AL West, and the Dodgers who the Mets will play at the end of June.
The Mets have actually played well against good teams. In fact they lead the league with 18 wins against teams above .500. Their worst showing of the year was against the hapless Houston Astros. Clearly the Mets have proved they can pretty much play with anyone. Anything could happen going forward but to expect the Mets to falter based on opponent is to have not been paying attention to the first 50 games.
50 seems like a fairly substantial sample size and the Mets have the third most wins in the National League. They have two top flight pitchers at the top of their rotation, one of the best players in baseball at third base, and an offense that seemingly manages to have good at-bat after good at-bat, even when dealing with slumping players and injuries. The bullpen is streaky, but Bobby Parnell and Ramon Ramirez are pretty good, and Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco get the job done more often that not. That’s more than you can say about most bullpens. They’ve been in the money for a playoff berth for most of season and there is no reason to think that’s going to change in the immediate future.