As I thought more about last night’s 4-3 loss to the Astros, a game lost by the bullpen, the phrase kept coming back to me- wasted opportunity.
Let’s put it this way: the Mets are 13-10, but they haven’t really played like a 13-10 team. Their Pythagorean record, based on runs scored and runs allowed, is actually 9-14. They are actually playing at a 63-win pace per production, but winning at a 91-win pace. If you are betting on what is likelier to happen going forward- continuing to outpace production, or regressing to that production in their results- the smart money is on the latter.
So really, they must, must win those games like Monday night to bank wins. Inherent in even the performance to date is an offense that really might be overachieving. So far, the Mets have received better than league average production (an OPS+ of greater than 100) at every position but first base-at some positions, much more than league average. Six Mets are at 114 or better. ZIPS projections, however, had just five Mets above 100, and none above 116. So either ZIPS is way off, or the Met offense is due to regress in a big way.
In the rotation so far, three of the five Mets starters have an ERA+ 126 or better, and one of those three, Mike Pelfrey, won’t throw another pitch this season. ZIPS had Santana at 108, Dickey at 102, and everyone else below league average.
But the bullpen: that’s performing just about as expected. And that’s too bad.
If the bullpen had held, New York would be 14-9. That’s not enough to guard against all that regression. But if at least some of the early production is for real- and for my money, Ruben Tejada and Lucas Duda are two examples of players who appear ready to bull through their mean projections- they’ll need to bank all the wins they can get. It’s still going to be hard in this division.