No team has ever been as bad as the Mets are playing right now. It’s foolish to think that this stretch is more representative of the team than the previous 80 or so games that came before it, where they were playing fringe-playoff level baseball. The Mets will turn it around soon. Someone will get really hot with the bat, someone else (maybe the Diamondbacks) will get really poor pitching. The randomness of baseball will fall in the Mets favor and they’ll win some of these games.
It might be too late, especially considering the Mets have lost five starting pitchers to injury and ineffectiveness (Schwinden, Batista, Santana, Gee, Pelfrey), to make the playoffs, but they can still have a good run the rest of the way. You never know when a playoff spot falls into your lap. The Tampa Bay Rays were 6.5 out at this point last year, and 9 behind the team they ultimately beat out for the spot. Ultimately it’s about playing good baseball to keep yourself in a position to capitalize on opportunities to make the playoffs. This is why full rebuilding mode rarely works out; by the time the team has been rebuilt, it’s full of it’s own set of maybes and what-ifs that leave you wondering if they’re good enough. Building a baseball team is a very fluid process full of dozens of unseen pitfalls for even the smartest of general managers.
So if you’re one of those fans or writers that looks at winning streaks with a “This will never last” attitude, and are quick to tout preseason guesses to the Mets record whenever they struggle, pipe down. Preseason predictions are merely something used to fill columns and pass the time while we wait for the season to start; no one should take them seriously, particularly not over a 90-100 game sample of real data. Similarly, if you were treating this season like a rebuilding year and didn’t count the results.. pipe down. It’s okay to have no expectations, you believe what you believe, but it doesn’t make you a better fan to stubbornly ignore the actual purpose of the season. Playoff teams sneak up on you all the time, and the Mets had plenty of opportunity to seize a hold on one. Just because you’ve decided that 2014 is the first year the Mets have a chance to compete and Sandy Alderson is some magical genie that will defeat all the unpredictable ups and downs of prospects, players, and injuries doesn’t mean we should ignore 2012 and 2013 and all the random excitement it brings. These are not exhibition games.
The Mets will get back to their winning ways and rattle off a nice winning stretch of games. They very well might yet finish above .500. It’s not even completely out of the question that they win nine of 10 games and shrink the wild card lead. It’s not a given that the wild card teams are all going to play as well as they’ve been playing. It’s not even a given that the Nationals will continue their 96 win pace. That’s a lot of wins. While things aren’t looking great now, everything’s still just a solid win streak away.