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A Pennant-Winning Start?

Posted By Howard Megdal On April 17, 2011 @ 9:42 am In Today's Mets headlines | Comments Disabled

Look, anyone who tells you the 4-11 start is immaterial to how the Mets will finish is lying. Those are 11 losses they cannot get back and need to make up.

But anyone who tells you the 4-11 record means the Mets are doomed to finish at the level of the 1962 and 1964 teams- the two New York teams with a start this bad- is doomsaying unnecessarily.

I racked my brain for the reason why 4-11 sounded so familiar last night. Then it came to me. The team I had in mind that started 4-11? The 2007 Phillies. And they had to win Game 15 to do it.

No, it is impossible to say that this team will be the 2007 Phillies or the 1964 Mets. Chances are, they will be somewhere in-between, since both of those teams are outliers. But it is worth remembering that the final 147 games aren’t a guaranteed drudgery. They run the gamut of possibilities- precisely the reason we watch baseball.

And with the talent on this roster, I happen to think they are a lot closer to 2007 Phillies than the 1964 Mets. No one has dramatically overperformed. Much of the lineup has underperformed, with Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino (critical for Mets against left-handed lineups) appearing close to a return.

The entire starting staff has underperformed reasonable. expectations. The bullpen has already begun to rally.

One other thing to note- they haven’t exactly been buried. Philadelphia is 9-4. The Wild Card, if the season ended today, would be the 8-5 Marlins. Did Florida really look so unbeatable last week?

All this won’t matter if the Mets keep playing like this. And their record obviously doesn’t guarantee that they won’t.

But it sure doesn’t guarantee that they will.

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