Managing Metspectations

Underdog_mets.jpgLess than a week ago, I was rooting for Willie Randolph, since he had assumed the role of underdog. And that is the natural inclination of a Mets fan.

Now Randolph is gone, and the team is mired in fourth place, a game under .500. To win 90 games, they’ll have to play better than .600 baseball going forward. In fact, they’ll have to go on a tear that has them playing almost 30 games over .500 to reach that magic 90-win mark. And 90 wins might not even be enough to get a wild card berth, much less win the division. In short, the Mets have little realistic chance of getting to the postseason.

But don’t take it from me what do I know? Listen to the “professionals” — the oddsmakers in Las Vegas. They have adjusted the odds of the Mets going to the World Series:

For the Mets, once they picked up standout pitcher Johan Santana during the off-season, they were immediately installed as a heavy favorite for the NL pennant. Just look back to February when New York was listed at +175 at, the best odds of any team to represent the NL in the World Series.

The Mets were even made a strong favorite to win this season’s World Series with 5.5-1 odds at Only the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox had better numbers at 3.5-1.

But by the time the Mets replaced Randolph with interim Manager Jerry Manuel on Tuesday, their odds had already dropped to 6-1 to win the NL pennant, behind Chicago (9-4), Arizona (4-1) and Philadelphia (9-2).

(Admission: I never bet and am not entirely sure what some of these numbers mean. But I get the gist of it.)

Call me crazy, but I’m liking the odds stacked against my team. I’m starting to feel like a Mets fan again.

[nms:rusty staub mets signed,2]

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. Micalpalyn June 19, 2008 at 10:37 am
    But by the time the Mets replaced Randolph with interim Manager Jerry Manuel on Tuesday, their odds had already dropped to 6-1 to win the NL pennant, behind Chicago (9-4), Arizona (4-1) and Philadelphia (9-2).

    ………..So we are statistical favorites for the WC?

  2. joe June 19, 2008 at 10:55 am
    Like I said, I don’t understand the numbers, but I don’t think 6-1 odds makes anyone a “favorite”.
  3. isuzudude June 19, 2008 at 11:02 am
    haha…good way to look at it, Mic.

    I like the underdog status the Mets are currently occupying, and – despite my disagreements with how they handled Willie’s firing – I’m still rooting for them to succeed. However, being realistic, I hope the team realizes that their chances of making the postseason are going to be very slim if they haven’t made a significant run by the allstar break. I would say they need to be nowhere farther than 5 games behind the division leader, or 5 games under .500. If either of these two things come to fruition by the allstar break, management must realize it’s time to cut bait on 2008. The team’s future must be put ahead of the unlikely event that the Mets do a 180º turn. And with 1B, LF, and numerous rotation slots up-for-grabs in ’09, it would really behoove Omar and company to focus on rebuilding for the short-term and trading away the impending free agents, instead of “standing pat” while putting yourself behind the 8-ball in preparing for 2009. I hate the thought of giving up on a season, but there are bigger things at stake here than just missing the 2008 playoffs – like the success of the franchise for the next 5 years.

  4. JIMMYJ723 June 19, 2008 at 11:06 am
    We’re 5 and 1/2 games behind the Phillies with more than half a season of baseball to play. Maybe I’m crazy but that doesn’t exactly sound like an insurmountable lead to me.

    Now that the players have a manager they actually want to play for, we’ll see what this team can really do.

    Let’s go Mets !!!

  5. sincekindergarten June 19, 2008 at 12:05 pm
    Gotta agree with Jimmy on this. Guess where the Angels play next? Citizens Bank Park. Guess which team has the best road record in MLB? The Angels. This could be an advantageous series.
  6. Micalpalyn June 19, 2008 at 12:24 pm
    I like that statistical ‘clarification’ because:
    a. The Mets are at .500, basically there are 90 games left, if they go 10 over 50-40 they could well get that WC.
    b. we are competing for the WC with Atlanta, Florida and St Lou. St Lou have 42wins playing with Pinero and Lohse at the top of the rotation. Pujols is out and i have no idea how they have that many wins…but i doubt it will last.
    c. The Mets have a strong enuff team, good enuff SP and BP depth to outlast there competition.
    d. Logic tells me that CB, Del, DW and Reyes can play better. Santana, Ollie and Maine will pitch better in the 2nd half plus Alou and Church should provide a lift when they return.
    e. How many wins did St Lou have in that regular season of 2006?
  7. joe June 19, 2008 at 12:48 pm
    If the Mets win 50 more games, it puts them at 85-77. Yes of course it’s possible that will be enough to get into the postseason. I hope they can pull it off. But the point of my post is I’m not expecting it.

    After last season’s collapse, which as a nutcase Mets fan made me depressed for most of the winter, I feel a lot better about not expecting to see them in the playoffs this year, and then letting them surprise me. It doesn’t get me down to feel that the Mets aren’t going anywhere — much the opposite, in fact. For the last two years, I’ve felt like a Yankee fan, which made every Mets game tense (for me) and every loss extremely frustrating. There’s a fine line between “hope” and “expectation”. I haven’t lost hope, I’ve lost expectation.