Phillies Put Season in Perspective

With a three-game series in Philadelphia beginning today, I found it mildly surprising that the Phillies already have 81 wins — and there’s still over a week left in the month of August.

Think about that: they have 81 wins and still have 36 games to play in the regular season. So if they play just two games over .500 the rest of the way — they’re currently 37 games over that mark — they’ll finish with 100 victories. If they keep up their current pace of winning — which is a shade under 65% — they’ll finish with 105 wins on the year.

Contrast that to the Mets’ current 60-66 record. Let all these numbers sink in. Now think back to 2-3 weeks ago, when many Mets fans were still hoping against hope that the Flushing Futiles had a shot at the Wild Card. Consider also that the Wild Card leading Atlanta Braves — who the Mets play immediately after this three-game jaunt — are now 76-52. Remember that the most games over .500 the Mets have been all year is four. Gosh, what were we thinking?

Hey, but it doesn’t mean the Mets can’t take this series from the Phillies. They could even sweep them — after all, anything can happen in baseball. But it won’t matter, not one iota. This week, the Mets are not even in position to be spoilers, because the Phillies and Braves are so far ahead of the pack that three losses wouldn’t make a dent in the standings. So what do the Mets have left to play for? Pride?

Another thing to point out: the Mets have now slipped into fourth place, behind the Washington Nationals. Luckily, the surging Marlins cooled off and lost five in a row, or the Mets might be basement tenants right now. Mind you, these are the same Marlins that lost 11 straight games at one point earlier this season. I bring your attention to these facts because there are many people who keep making ludicrous statements expressing how “well” the Mets have done this year, how they have exceeded expectations, and how Terry Collins has done a tremendous job. Seriously? I’ll give you the fact that Collins has had a difficult job to do, and it’s somewhat surprising he hasn’t choked someone by now — it’s clear that he has gained patience and restraint since his last MLB managing job. And sure, the team has more “fight” and spirit than we’ve seen in a long time. But they still stink. They stink just as bad as they did in 2010. The only difference is there are more kids who provide some hope. Is that enough to keep us strung along through the end of the season? Is it enough to keep us looking forward to 2012?

I’m not sure. The Phillies are a juggernaut this year, and could have space in the budget to improve in 2012 — depending on what happens with impending free-agent vets such as Brad Lidge, Raul Ibanez, and Jimmy Rollins (among others). The Braves also are on a level far above the Mets right now, and are relying for the most part on youngsters — so they could get better simply by virtue of age and maturity. The Nats and Marlins also have promising youngsters, and may have deeper pockets than the Mets over the next few years.

OK, I need to stop now and move away from the ledge. My apologies for taking you with me on this misadventure. But this is what goes through my head as I look at where other teams in the NL East stand right now in comparison / contrast to the Mets. Those fabulous Phillies send me on this crepe-hanging path of depression.

Do me a favor: give me something positive to consider in the comments. Being in Philly has me seeing nothing but gray.

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. RealityChuck August 22, 2011 at 1:15 pm
    If you judge your team solely on making the playoffs, then you should be a Yankees fan. With the Mets, the playoffs are a bonus, and it’s far more fun to watch each game individually and see the individual triumphs and frustrations.
  2. Joe August 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm
    “many Mets fans were still hoping against hope that the Flushing Futiles had a shot at the Wild Card”

    Sarcastic names aside, there was really no reason to think they had a shot. They did not. The White Sox fan might have SOME futile hopes. Only the fantasy laden Mets fan would think they had any hope.

    Terry Collins had little to work with. The fact he isn’t an alchemist doesn’t mean he is a lousy manager. The fact the team actually managed to be credible for as long as it was with that pitching staff and crew (Wright hurt much of the time, Bay not hitting etc.) does make him somewhat impressive.

    Remember when someone here said the Pirates were such a charming story? How are they doing now?

    The honest fan doesn’t know what ’12 would bring. But, the honest fan knew ’11 wasn’t going to be that good. Not lying to yourself or making expensive moves while doing so (Bay? Zambrano? three years of Perez?) is a start in the right direction.

    I resigned to losing to the Phillies, though the trend is to win one game of three. Better than the team is managing these days. I rooting for the Diamondbacks myself.

  3. Chris from Freehold August 22, 2011 at 3:26 pm
    We ate Ollie and Luis’s contracts. We ditched K-Rod’s pot o’ gold and got a nice prospect for Beltran. We probably have more on the farm in terms of pitching at least than originally thought. We paid over slot in the draft for Nimmo. The Madoff mess is at least out of bankruptcy court and probably headed for either a settlement or trial prior to next year. We finally seem to have some mature baseball people in charge of the organization now.

    Do we stink? Yes. Will 2012 or even 2013 be any different? Probably not. And in truth, it may take several years to get out of this funk given the other teams in the NL East. But remember this: The 1983 Philadelphia Phillies went 90-72 and won the division going away. The 1983 New York Mets went 68-94. It didnt take too long after that for the worm to turn.

  4. NormE August 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm
    Slow down guys! Let’s not use the term “stink” so loosely.
    The O’s and Astros stink (neither has won 50 games, the Mets have won 60).
    I concur with the comments of the other “Joe”. The Mets projected as a mediocre team before the season started and they have lived up (down?) to that expectation.
    One would hope that as Alderson & co. build for the future we will get younger and slowly better. The biggest issue may be the budgetary restrictions imposed by the futile and incompetent ownership.
  5. hopeisagoodthing August 22, 2011 at 5:34 pm
    According to fangraphs, the Metsies should be like a top 8 MLB team if they did not have to pitch, field, or run the bases.