It's crunch time for the Mets, who have the easiest schedule in baseball the rest of the way
Their opposition has a combined .446 winning percentage over the club's final 37 games
Just Mets on Playback 📺
Our next live watch-along will take place tonight as Jacob deGrom takes the mound for the Mets at 7:10 PM EST! Watch the entire game and interact with hosts Rich MacLeod and Andrew Claudio live on Playback!
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets were off on Wednesday - they open a four-game series with the Rockies as part of a nine-game homestand tonight at Citi Field
Major League Baseball announced the 2023 regular season schedule which features all 30 clubs playing each other for the first time. Each team will play divisional opponents 13 times starting next season, down from 19 in the current unbalanced schedule. The Mets open the regular season on March 30 against the Marlins in Miami
Injury Updates 🏥
Drew Smith (lat strain) could soon throw a bullpen session as he progresses towards a mid-September return (SI)
Tommy Hunter (lower back tightness) threw a live batting practice session on Wednesday - he could be activated from the injured list without requiring a rehab assignment (SI)
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets are 79-46 and lead the Braves by 1.5 games in the National League East with 37 games to go. They are on-pace for 103 wins, which would be the second-highest mark in franchise history (108 in 1986)
The Mets have the easiest schedule down the stretch of the season (.446 opposing winning percentage, per Tankathon)
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 100 percent ↔️
Win the National League East: 75.9 percent ⬇️
Clinch a first round bye: 75.6 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 16.0 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (79-46) vs. Rockies (54-71)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Jacob deGrom (2-1, 2.31 ERA) vs RHP Ryan Feltner (2-4, 5.88 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY, Playback
Its crunch time for the Mets, who have the schedule on their side the rest of the way… 📝
There are 37 games left on the regular season schedule. The Mets just got through yet another tough stretch on the calendar, this time playing ten games in nine days against the Braves, Phillies and Yankees. It was an extension of a difficult schedule during which they played the Braves and Phillies 16 times in 20 days.
Over the last 20 days, the Mets have played 21 games including two doubleheaders, once against the Braves at home and the other against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, they lost two starting pitchers although they got one of them back in limited fashion on Tuesday, and lost two infielders to injury although one could return as soon as this weekend.
Still, the Mets went 13-8 during that span and a combined 9-6 against the Braves and Phillies. Over the last month, the Mets have gone 21-9. Hardly anything to shrug one’s shoulders over given what has happened in between with their roster and that there was one off-day in there (before yesterday) for them to catch their collective breaths.
But while the Mets were collecting their breaths on Wednesday, all they had to do was look at the MLB app and see the Braves once again won a ballgame, closing the gap in the NL East back to 1.5 games.
There really is no room to breathe anymore. It’s crunch time for the Mets.
The good news is the schedule gets a lot easier for the Mets starting today.
With the two off-days between yesterday and Monday, the club should be able to skip their fifth starter spot until Saturday, September 3 which gets them that much closer to getting Carlos Carrasco back in the fold. They do have a three-game series with the Dodgers next week (and if the Mets maneuver the rotation the way they should, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer will pitch in two of those three games with Chris Bassitt scrunched in there somewhere), but they’re starting a nine-game, 11 day homestand as part of a stretch run which affords them the lightest schedule of any team in Major League Baseball for the remainder of the season.
And, 22 of their final 37 games are at home.
It starts with the Rockies tonight who have been predictably abysmal in 2022 and are just 18-39 away from Coors Field, 8-14 in August and just 11-21 since the All-Star Game. As is the case seemingly every year, the Rockies offense doesn’t ever get on the plane with them in Denver - they’ve hit just .236/.294/.348 away from Coors Field this season and the club’s collective ERA on the road is 5.25, which is actually worse than that at home (5.10).
Still, the Mets are presented with the challenge of actually taking advantage of teams like the Rockies as the Braves have been able to do to teams like the Pirates as of late. Because while the Braves have a more difficult schedule down the stretch than the Mets, it’s only marginally more difficult and the Braves have been absolutely insane in general since June anyway, seemingly winning every day and certainly winning every time the Mets lose.
This part of the conversation reminds me of one thing, as long as we are talking about the Mets and Braves in the same breath.
The Mets are 37-29 against teams below .500 this season while the Braves are 26-28. Leaving the records out for a moment (ok, no, the Mets are way better against teams over .500), the Braves have played 12 more games against teams below .500 than the Mets suggesting their schedule has been significantly easier and improperly balanced over the course of the year.
Yet its the Mets with the lead in the division, albeit a slight one.
Case in point, while the Mets were playing against a championship-caliber team in the Yankees this week, the Braves were in Pittsburgh demolishing the Pirates for three days.
Anyway, it’s time for the Mets to do what the Braves have been doing which is take advantage of a schedule which contains all three last place teams in the NL in it 15 times over the last 39 games and the league’s fourth place teams 11 times.
And if they do what they’re supposed to do in these 26 games alone, it shouldn’t matter what the Braves do down the stretch of their season.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Daniel Palka (1B/DH, Triple-A:) 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Mark Vientos (3B, No. 7 Prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-4, R, RBI
Carlos Cortes (OF, Double-A): 2-for-3, 2B, RBI
Stanley Consuegra (OF, No. 23 prospect, Single-A): 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 1 R
D’Andre Smith (SS, Low-A): 2-for-3, 3B, RBI, BB, 2 R
Around the League 🚩
The Braves finished off their sweep of the Pirates with a 14-2 win in Pittsburgh - they are no just 1.5 games behind the Mets in the NL East
The Phillies finished off a sweep of their own against the Reds with a 7-5 win at Citizens Bank Park as they are now 3.5 games ahead of the Brewers in the Wild Card race
Bryce Harper hit a walk-off double in a game for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday night
Mariners rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez became the fourth player in MLB history to record a 20-20 season as a rookie on Wednesday, but the Mariners fell to the Nationals 3-1 in Seattle