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Coleman: Time For Mets To Take Advantage Of Soft Schedule

May 13, 2019 - 4:19 pm
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By Ed Coleman

Well, we're at the Quarter Pole of the Major League baseball season -- 40 games into a 162 game schedule. So what can we glean from the standings at this juncture of the season?  Not a lot of definitive information, except maybe that the National League East has shaped up more like the National League Least thus far. There was talk that the N.L. East could be like the N.L. Central last year, when 4 teams - the Brewers (96), the Cubs (95), the Cardinals (88) and the Pirates (82) all finished over .500.  Early returns from the East this year don't portray that, but yes, it's still early.

Let's put the Marlins aside for now and get to them later. The Phillies are on top, 7 games over .500, and they've also been the best team by far versus opponents over .500 (7-2). Everyone else in the division is under .500, the Mets sit at 9-15, but Philadelphia has also played way less games against quality opposition. The Phils have taken advantage of Citizens Bank Park (14-7) and have played .500 ball on the road. They still have issues defensively, as do the Mets, and I think a now apparently healthy Jerad Eickhoff will boost their starting rotation.

The Braves probably translate to exactly where they should be right now. They're a game over .500 (21-20), are 10-10 at home and 11-10 on the road, and have scored exactly one more run than they've allowed (196-195). There's a lot to like about Atlanta, but can a team which took a quantum leap last year take that next step the following year or, as often happens, does it regress a bit before eventually moving forward.

The Mets need to take advantage of a soft spot in their schedule which they're currently in and they got off to a good start, taking 2 games at Citi Field over the weekend before a rainout on Sunday. They have 7 games with the struggling Nationals, 3 more with Miami and 3 with Detroit before they head out west to face the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. The Mets need to get and stay healthy, cut back on the errors (33) and keep the pitching progression moving upwards like it has been.

The Nationals have been the enigma in the East thus far. Beset by multiple injuries and some infighting as well, the Nats have stumbled to a 16-24 record thus far, 4 under both at home and on the road. Their infield has been decimated. Trea Turner has played in just 4 games, Anthony Rendon just returned after missing 15 games, and Ryan Zimmerman has been out 18. They still have a big 3 in their rotation -- Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin -- but also a bullpen which makes you cringe.

And now back to the Marlins.  Everyone's favorite theory is whichever team beats up on Miami the most will likely be the winner in the East. The Phillies (15-9) and the Mets (13-8) have overall been the best against division opponents. Only the Nationals (1-2) have been sub-standard versus Miami. Everyone else's Whack-A-Marlin meter is in sync.  The Phillies are 5-2, the Braves are 5-1 and the Mets are a perfect 5-0, with 3 more on tap this coming weekend. Take advantage!