You can compare 2013 to 1973 all you want, but the only real similarities are that it’s 40 years later. The Mets miracle run in ’73 got a lot of help from the rest of the teams in the division; something that’s not happening this year. Right now the Braves are too far ahead for the division so that’s out. There are only three teams that they’d need to beat out for the Wild Card, but while the Nationals are catchable, they’d need the Diamondbacks to go 24-25 and the Reds to top that with 19-29 just to force a tie and that’s only if the Mets were able to able to go 30-20 to get to 82 wins.
Those things aren’t impossible, but they’re so unlikely it’s not something you can even dare hope for in early August. So what should we hope for?
Second place isn’t much, but it’s a step up over the last couple of seasons. If the Mets can finish strong, and there’s no reason to think they can’t, they can stay ahead of the Phillies and catch the Nationals who are only two wins ahead. It won’t be easy, as both teams do have some talent and equal ability to finish strong, but it’s something to shoot for. Any measure of improvement in the standings is a good sign.
Getting to .500 is another possible goal. They’d need to go 29-21 to do so. They’re 28-22 over their last 50 games, so that’s certainly doable too. Especially if Ike Davis continues to hit, and the rotation continues to dominate like it has. I think this is a bigger goal than just getting second place, because it says more about the Mets and less about the rest of the division. It also won’t happen if the Mets have a bad week or two where things fall apart, but perhaps the Mets of May, of Rick Ankiel and Collin Cowgill, are behind us.
Development. It’s clear the Mets have been evaluating guys all year, and while keeping Omar Quintanilla up instead of Ruben Tejeda makes little sense, the time they’re giving players like Eric Young Jr and Juan Lagares to really showcase what they can do is telling. Zack Wheeler is here now and starting to settle in, and Jenrry Mejia has looked good too. Jon Niese will return this weekend to prove that he can pitch with the slight tear in his shoulder and it’s creating a log-jam that necessitates a 6-man rotation. Travis d’Arnaud was just promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas and will probably make his Major League debut before too much longer. Wilmer Flores and Josh Satin are getting some playing time to prove they’re big league players.
Indeed the future is bright. The playoffs aren’t a realistic possibility this year, but have patience because things are certainly looking up.