Mets Meaningful Number: 19

With the Mets in a tailspin and the postseason slipping out of reach, let’s take a look at what it will take for the team to play “meaningful games in September.”

By no means is this the definitive way to figure out the “meaningful” number. Consider it a jumping off point for the more statistically-inclined among us to calculate what it will take to achieve Fred Wilpon’s version of success.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume that the Mets would need to be within five games of the wildcard on September 1, in order for their games to still be meaningful in the eyes of ownership.

Step 1 – Take the number of games remaining before September 1 and multiply by the winning percentage of the current wildcard leader.

33 x .560 = 18.48

Step 2 – Take the number of games out of the wildcard lead and subtract 5.

5 – 5 = 0

Step 3 – Add the results of Step 1 and 2

18.48 + 0 = 18.48

Step 4 – Take the result from Step 3 and round up

18.48 = 19

So assuming the wildcard leader will play at a .560 clip between now and September, the Mets will have to go 19-14 during that time to remain within five games of the wildcard lead.

The Mets meaningful number currently stands at 19.

Have a better way to calculate the Meaningful Number? Share it in the comments section.

  1. Andy July 27, 2010 at 2:39 pm
    I agree with your basic formula, but I wouldn’t consider trailing by 5 runs to be striking distance, really, on September 1. You’d have to at least be within 2 games for September games to be meaningful.

    So I’d call the “Meaningful Number” 22, not 19.

  2. loge mezzanine July 27, 2010 at 2:51 pm
    Hmm… I have to respectfully disagree. I really feel that five games back is within striking distance, because a 3-game sweep would put the Mets within 2 games of the wildcard leader.

    I see what you’re saying, but we are talking about “meaningful” and not “very close.” I guess we could open this up to a discussion on what exactly Fred Wilpon means by “meaningful.”

    Maybe the Meaningful Number can be readjusted on September 15 to calculate the number of games it will take the Mets to get within 2 games of the lead? Lots to ponder here. Great comment!

    • Andy July 27, 2010 at 4:09 pm
      Well I’m partly thinking about what it would take to overcome a 5 game deficit with only 30 games left. If the WC leader again has a .560 record over those last 30 games, then the Mets would need to go 22-8 to catch up from 5 games back. After winning only 19 out of 33, to then expect them to win 22 out of 30 seems all the more unrealistic.

      So yeah, if they gain 3 games on the leader over the course of playing 33, I might believe they can gain the last 2 over the course of playing the last 30.
      August needs to be for gaining ground, not just keeping pace. Otherwise the season is hopeless.

      • loge mezzanine July 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm
        You might be missing the point of the post. I’m not concerned with what it will take for the Mets to win. I’m trying to come up with a formula to figure out how many wins it will take for the Mets to play “meaningful games in September.”

        Are you familiar with Fred Wilpon’s quote on the subject? Here’s a link to the original quote (scroll down to find it): http://www.nytimes.com/2004/02/21/sports/baseball-piazza-works-at-first-base-wows-at-plate.html

        I think 5 games back on September 1 would suffice.

        • Andy July 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm
          I’m familiar with it, and Joe quotes it all the time. But if the Mets have no realistic chance of making the playoffs then I don’t see how we could call their games meaningful. If they are 5 games back with 30 to play, in my view, they have no realistic chance of making the playoffs.
        • loge mezzanine July 27, 2010 at 5:32 pm
          Sorry if it seems like I was doubting you. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. I would definitely say that 5 games back on September 1 gives the Mets an outside shot at winning the wildcard.

          Keep in mind, the Mets did lose a 7 game lead with 17 to play back in 2007.

        • Andy July 27, 2010 at 6:22 pm
          I remember that vividly, but I think that kind of lightning strikes only AGAINST the Mets.
        • Joe Janish July 27, 2010 at 5:50 pm
          Andy, you are an intelligent person, and therefore your idea of “meaningful games in September” likely is very different from how the Mets’ FO defines it.

          The Mets’ FO is not interested in the smartest and most diehard fans — they are focused on the lowest common denominator / mass appeal / casual fan. That said I agree with Loge in that being 5 games out on September 1 would probably be close enough for the masses to shell out dough to buy tickets to games.

        • Andy July 27, 2010 at 6:30 pm
          You may be right, but it only works for early September. The Mets’ last 7 games are at home, and if they are 5 games back on September 1 there is a good chance they will be statistically eliminated before that last homestand starts on September 27.

          Once that happens, even the dumbest and most optimistic of fans will understand the games are meaningless.

        • loge mezzanine July 27, 2010 at 8:43 pm
          You’re absolutely correct. I will make an adjustment to the formula once we are in September.

          Or maybe we can just take solace in the fact the Mets reached September in “meaningful games” territory.

          So much to ponder….

        • Andy July 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm
          I guess. If it were up to me I’d be willing to write off the rest of this season as meaningless if doing so could improve the Mets’ chances in 2011 or even 2012.
  3. Elliot July 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm
    I’d start with another set of premises. It brings you to the same conclusion, here or there.

    1) It will take at least 88 games to win the Wild Card.

    I think this is eminently reasonable, as it means that at least one of the one of the top 4 Wild Card teams play .550 or better ball (and in the case of the Giants, .500 ball).

    2) The Mets are probably good for, at best, a 19-11 September.

    That’s a .633 winning percentage, for what it’s worth; I can buy 20-10 also, but given that I’m already taking the lower bound on the 88, I’m more comfortable here with the 19.

    3) To get there, the Mets need to go no worse than 19-14.

  4. Bill July 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm
    I think your calculation is good. 5 games would still make for meaningful games as they will still be in the conversation. However, 5 games could also be viewed as a lot of ground to make up if there are 5-6 teams in front of the Mets in the standings. If the Mets are 5 out, but the Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Rockies, and Reds are ahead of them, they have to hope a lot of those teams stumble down the stretch. I just don’t know how you could account for that.
    • loge mezzanine July 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm
      Good point about the teams between the Mets and the wildcard leader. However, when dealing with a concept as vague and forgiving as “meaningful,” I’m not sure you need to account for those teams. But figuring out a way to do so would definitely add to the fun.
  5. joe August 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm
    The problem is as soon as the Mets realize that the games are meaningful, they will fall apart. This happens EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!! Just when you think they are completely out and you start looking forward to football season, they win 8 games in a row, get within striking distance, and everyone forgets that they are the same old incompeMets.

    I’m done with this year. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

  6. Rich Morey August 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm
    Despite flashes of brilliance, the Mets are a .500 team – they were 27-27 after 54 games, and, despite being 42-31 after 73 games, they were 54-54 after 108 games. Therefore, I predict the Mets will finish 81-81.
  7. Steve from Norfolk August 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm
    joe,

    Maybe the Mets should be quarantined if they are within reach of the playoffs in Sept. No newspapres, no tv sports, no scores or standings on the scoreboard. Any fans disclosing any stress-inducing information(scores, standings, news about baseball period ) to the team will be barred from Citi Field for the rest of the season and the first half of next season. In fact, any fan communicating with the team at all will be banned as aforementioned.