Why Mets Must Start Strong

There is an obvious reason the Mets must start the season with a bang — the team is desperate to sell tickets and generate revenues. But there is another factor that comes into play, and it has nothing to do with money.

After looking at the Phillies’ soft schedule to start the season, I was intrigued enough to see what the Mets had in store during the same stretch. As it turns out, the first five weeks may be the Mets’ easiest of the year.

In the month of April, the Mets play teams that had a combined winning percentage of .485 in 2010. As mentioned in the previous post on the Phillies, teams can improve after an offseason, so there’s no guarantee that the teams the Mets play will be as bad as they were last year. But let’s look at who they face between now and the end of April:

Rockies (4 games)

Granted, there are some tough teams in there, most notably two stints against the Phillies, a set against the Braves, and a four-games series against the Rockies. But this may be the team’s easiest month, and so it will be important to start out with a full head of steam. In May, they finish a series with the Phillies, then play the Giants, Dodgers, and Rockies; get a bit of a breather against the Astros, Marlins, and Nats again; then play the Yankees, Cubs, and Phillies before drawing the Pirates to finish the month.

And guess what? June is looking even tougher — probably their toughest month of the year — as they enter interleague play against the Angels, Athletics, Rangers, and Tigers, while mixing in two three-game sets against the Braves. Luckily, they also get the Pirates for six games and three more with the Brewers, but otherwise it’s a pretty difficult draw in June.

If the Mets start the season well, it will go a long way — particularly in terms of confidence and momentum — as they enter the tougher part of the year. Conversely, if they stumble through April, it could quickly shape up to be a long, long season.

What’s your thought? Do you think it is important for the Mets to get off to a hot start? Why or why not?

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. Gavin April 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm
    A hot start would be nice but it’s not imperative. We had an appalling start last season and were in 1st place by mid-June.