Mets Games 148, 149, 150 vs. Nationals

Nationals 3 Mets 0

Nationals 10 Mets 3

Mets 4 Nationals 3

The Nationals mathematically eliminate the Mets from winning the NL East. At least the Mets didn’t get swept.

But before we go any further, a question: have you already formulated an opinion on the Mets season? Or do you need the final 12 games to judge 2014?

Mets Game Notes

Friday night I was busy pouring wine in Boston. Saturday I was driving back from Boston and then working another event that evening in NJ. Sunday afternoon I chose to spend the gorgeous afternoon on a bike ride rather than sit inside and watch a Mets game (I guess I wasn’t buying into the idea that these were meaningful games). So there isn’t anything for me to discuss specifically about what happened in the ballgames.

With a dozen games left — half of which are against the Nationals and Braves — the Mets are 72-78. There’s a really, really good chance they win at least two of those final twelve and at least match last year’s 74-88 record. If they go at least 6-6 through these final two weeks, their record will be 78-84. If they go 12-0, they’ll finish 84-78, which could mean a second-place finish but might not mean a Wild Card spot (though, the possibility does remain).

There are a number of different ways these final dozen games can go for the Mets, and I’m curious: will you judge the club based on what happens between now and the end of the season, or have you already formulated your opinion?

Let me put it this way: let’s say the Mets completely tank and lose all 12, or at least 9, of these final games — will their resulting losing record change your perspective on who they are and what they accomplished (or didn’t accomplish)? And in the reverse, if the Mets win 10-12 of their final games, and finish with a winning record, will it change your view of the season compared to where they are today?

Or, have you already decided what this club is / was in 2014, based on the first 150 games?

Sound off in the comments.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins begin their final series against each other of the season at 7:10 PM. Jacob deGrom faces Jarred Cosart.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. hart September 15, 2014 at 4:03 pm
    It is what it is… and it isn’t pretty. The final 12 won’t change anything. On the bright side, I’m encouraged that the pitching staff may set up nicely for 2015, and I feel good about a couple of position guys, such as D’Arnaud and Lagares. But the shortstop position is still a mess, we need a corner outfield stud, and I’m still not sold on Duda at 1st. Were we a legitimate big market team, I would feel optimistic that we could add the necessary pieces. But I’m not confident in the organization’s ability to splurge on purchasing a real lower-case “d” for the uniforms of d’Arnaud and den Dekker (instead of what looks like an upside-down P), much less upgrade with the appropriate players.
  2. DaveSchneck September 15, 2014 at 8:22 pm
    My answer to your question is both. I have already formed an opinion on the Mets, but the next 12 games matter. First, regardless of the next 12, it is clear that they are far behind the Nats. Alderson and Collins constantly refer to the Mets as being close, but close to what? Competing for the wild card is not the target, it is a consolation prize. Yippee, a one game playoff to see who plays the team with the best record in the league. The first target is winning the division, followed by winning the league. The NL East belongs to the Nats, and they-are stacked with good young players, most under team control, and some more talented players in the pipeline. Getting Harvey back and tweaking the lineup will not close the gap. The Nats will likely be better next year too. Regarding the last 12 games, they matter, because this franchise is mired in losing. Putting up a 9-3 to pull to .500, and passing the Nats and maybe the Braves will leave a different taste for the potential 2015 customers as well as the psyche of the returning players and 2015 new additions.
  3. argonbunnies September 16, 2014 at 1:32 am
    Plenty of minor items of curiosity remain:

    1) Can deGrom bolster his ROY chances? Double digit wins would probably help.

    2) Any chance a huge finish gets d’Arnaud or Familia into the ROY discussion?

    3) Will Herrera provide any encore to his hot first 4 games, making the last week look like a mere slump, or will his start look like a fluke as he finishes at .180 or so? The perception of Herrera heading into the offseason will impact the press around a Murphy trade, and for all I know it’ll impact an actual Murphy trade too. Although I’m not dumb enough to pick my 2015 second baseman based on 12 games, the Mets just might be.

    4) Any more hints about who’s the real Zack Wheeler? The guy’s such a mixed bag that I update my hopes and fears after pretty much every start. If he hits the glove and finishes strong in his last two starts, I’ll feel a little better about his trajectory.

    5) Juan Lagares has had the best defensive season of any Met since Ordonez’s prime. Although dWAR is a pretty nebulous stat, a homerun robbery or a few big plays could put Juan on some “best season since the stat’s existed” lists, which I think is cool.

    6) Lucas Duda can finish in or out of the top 5 in HRs and RBIs depending on how he finishes. It won’t change my impression of him going forward, but I root for the guy and it’d be nice to see him add to his resume.

    7) How good is the team’s mental endurance? Once all hope is officially lost, will they continue to play watchable ball, or will everyone loaf and start booting balls? If the latter, will Collins’ job security diminish?

    8) Which pitchers will get how injured? I am already not expecting much out of Black next year, but continuing to pitch with a spinal injury might knock him out more decisively.

    As for the Mets overall, they are exactly what they were predicted to be, and for every bit of bad luck that Alderson can point to, there was a bit of good luck to balance it. Just because you have a lot of young guys doesn’t mean every improvement is a given, or lasting, or a step toward stardom. Don’t bank on shutdown 8ths from Familia, 30 HRs from Duda, or the best D in the game from Lagares again in 2015.

    • Joe Janish September 16, 2014 at 10:15 am
      Your last two sentences speak volumes. There is this assumption by many Mets fans that everyone is going to get better and better. Maybe, maybe not. Duda is the most difficult one to judge, considering his age. Is this a breakout year that will lead to four or five more like it? Or is it more about him being in his physical prime and, at age 28, he’s peaking? How many power hitters in the post-PEDs era keep mashing beyond age 30? Without HRs, Duda doesn’t have much value, and he turns 29 in February.

      The pitching injuries are also a big question mark; we KNOW at least one or two pitchers will go down at some point, and it could easily be more than that. What will the Mets have going for them if, say, Wheeler, Niese, and Gee go down? And now that the plan is to shut down Harvey for the winter, who knows how his return will go?

      • argonbunnies September 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm
        It looks to me like Duda is pretty much the same guy he’s always been, except that, mixed in with slumps and competent stretches, he finally got red hot for a bit this year. Most hitters like Duda have a week or two where they’ll mash homers, but Lucas hadn’t really done that in his MLB career before this year’s surges in late July and mid August. Outside of those 15 games, his line is .241/.349/.415, not far off his career .246/.342/.424 line. So the question for 2015 is really about whether he can carry the team for a couple weeks to make up for otherwise being the same guy the Mets weren’t sure deserved to be a regular.

        From a slow first baseman, is that an asset? I don’t know.

        I continue to think he should be platooned. Hand those hopeless 100 ABs vs lefties (.170/.259/.210) to Campbell and our 1B production would start looking like a real strength.

        You mentioned Duda’s age — I think it’s also worth mentioning that this is Lagares’ NINTH year in pro ball, and he turns 26 in March. He’s probably closer to his ceiling than most 2nd year big leaguers.

        Familia’s BABIP before the Marlins series was .257. He was pretty much due to give up 4 hits in 5 batters — that’s gonna happen sometimes when your K rate is merely average.

    • DanB September 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm
      The decision to trade Murphy is a financial one. The Met’s payroll will never go up, not even if magically they improve attendance, until the development around Citi Field is done. They also have the $600 million in SNY loans to refi next year. As long as the Wilpons own the Mets, they own the development rights to the area. So it doesn’t matter what Murphy or Herrera do, it is how do they manage a $85 million payroll?
      • Joe Janish September 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm
        Is there any way the Wilpons can sell the club and hold the development rights? Their true business IS real estate, after all … reminds me a little bit of McCourt’s desire to own the parking lots around Dodger Stadium (did he hold onto those rights?).
        • DanB September 16, 2014 at 4:45 pm
          Anything is possible but I don’t see potential owners wanting to give up control of the surrounding area. The Wilpons don’t have the money to build it, they will need investors. But retaining the rights to the land puts them on equal footing. What I hope for is Jeff Wilpon losing control. If they are going to be a small market team, at least be a well run small market team.
  4. argonbunnies September 16, 2014 at 1:34 am
    Oh, and the draft pick! I’m rooting for the Reds, Padres, etc. to out-win the Mets so we draft in the top 10 and deny management the “lose a draft pick” excuse for not signing free agents. Plus, somewhere between 8 and 12 is often the cut-off line between A and B+ prospects.
    • Joe Janish September 16, 2014 at 10:18 am
      I think Mets management is rooting for wins mainly to sell tickets and prevent a protected pick, and secondarily because they care about winning. If they have a protected pick, there will be zero excuse not to sign Han-Ram at minimum.
      • DanB September 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm
        Finishing in the top ten is meaningless because even the most pollyanna Met fan doesn’t believe the Mets will spend more the $15 million/year on a free agent and that will be the going rate for a qualified FA. Even Alderson is no longer pretending they will spend money next year.
        • argonbunnies September 18, 2014 at 5:01 pm
          Yeah, but the more transparent the cheapness, the more upset fans the media will have for quotes about why they’re not going to games, and the greater the chance that the Wilpons will finally resign themselves to spending first and fans coming second.