Just when you begin to get the warm-and-fuzzies about the New York Mets, they lose a series to the Miami Marlins, a team they trailed by just a game starting the week.
Granted, third place in nothing to raise a banner over, but it is better than fourth. Also, at the end of last week, they trailed Atlanta by 2.5 games with a chance at second … small steps for a team learning to walk with the big boys.
However, none one of this changes the fact the Mets have a way to go to reach true competitive status.
The Mets lost their 29th one-run game Wednesday night – they are 25-29. They played an additional 23 two-run games. That’s 77 games that could be considered close.
So, in 48 percent, or roughly half their games, the Mets were competitive.
Of all the numbers defining this season, 77 might be the most telling. More so than what they hit with runners in scoring position; team batting average; or any of the fancy Sabremetrics numbers.
Also important is their 30-35 record within the NL East, which includes 3-13 against the Nationals (with three remaining in Washington).
Quite simply, for the Mets to become a winning team (seven games under with nine to play) they must improve in those two areas. Using the Mets’ .477 winning percentage, if they played at that rate in their 77 “close’’ games, that’s 36 more victories for 109 total on the season and the best record in the Major Leagues.
That’s an unrealistic jump to expect, but I point it out to illustrate they are on the cusp of turning the corner. Should Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler pitch to expectations next season, Jon Niese does the same, and with the return of a healthy David Wright, the Mets could be in the wild-card mix in 2015.
Assuming all that happens, another at least another ten victories is possible. It could happen.
Dillon Gee was auditioning last night to attract the attention of a team for 2015 under the assumption he wouldn’t return to the Mets. Gee, a No. 5 starter at best is 7-8 with probably one more start.
Banking on the return of Harvey, plus Wheeler, Niese, Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon, there’s no room for Gee. The numbers don’t work.
LAGARES INJURED: Outfielder Juan Lagares has a right-elbow sprain and will likely miss three or four games. With nine games remaining, is there time for him to play again?
“I can’t answer that,’’ Terry Collins told reporters yesterday.
Lagares has been ailing since the Cincinnati series the first game in September.
WPIX RE-SIGNS WITH METS: Television station WPIX extended its contract with the Mets through 2017. The package includes 25 regular-season games and four in spring training.
UPCOMING SCHEDULE: The Mets are off today then begin a three-game series this weekend in Atlanta.
Wheeler (10-10), Niese (8-11) and deGrom (8-6) will start for the Mets.