Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 Mets: Time to break some streaks!

Six straight losing seasons. Eight straight years without a postseason. And, as Joel Sherman recently noted, only one season out of the last 23 in which the Mets had a better record than the Yankees - and that year was 2000.  Finally, there's actual hope that one or more of these streaks will come to an end.

In 2006, the Mets had the same record as the Yankees - 97-65 - and got further in the postseason. Both teams finished 89-73 in 2008, with both missing the playoffs.  So it's a little misleading to say that the Mets have been second fiddle for 23 straight years. But it's been a pretty bad stretch on our side.

In 2015, the stakes are not quite as high as they were in 2006, when the Mets and Yankees tied for the best record in all of baseball. This season, both teams are generally predicted to finish around .500 (I said 84-78 for the Mets), with playoff hopes enhanced by an expanded postseason.

Before spring training, I would have said that the Mets had too many question marks to even think about contending. Now it looks like the biggest question mark, Matt Harvey, could be an exclamation point.  But the other question marks remain. Can David Wright and Curtis Granderson rebound? Can Michael Cuddyer stay healthy and at least perform at his Minnesota level? (I remain skeptical that he will come anywhere near his Coors numbers.)  Can Lucas Duda hit 30 homers again?  Can Travis d'Arnaud fulfill his potential? Can Wilmer Flores succeed at shortstop? Can Jacob deGrom do it again?

If Harvey's fantastic spring carries over into the regular season, the Mets will be a transformed team. But unless some of the other question marks pan out, the transformation will be limited.  Despite Harvey's dominance in 2013, the Mets' record after his last game that season on August 24 was just 58-69.  It's going to take more than a return to form from Harvey for the Mets to have a successful year.

It's not a coincidence that Subway Squawkers started in 2006 when the Mets and Yankees were on equal footing. Finally, the Mets once again have as much or more hope than Yankees, who are reduced to hoping Masahiro Tanaka doesn't blow out his elbow and may actually need to count on A-Rod in their ancient lineup.  Our fat pitcher (Bartolo Colon) is better than yours (CC Sabathia). And we had Carlos Beltran when he was good. But don't worry, Squawker Lisa. At least the Yankees will be retiring some more numbers this year.

Let's Go Mets!

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