Prior to Opening Day 2011, I called the upcoming year The Season of “If” — if everything fell into place, the Mets could have competed for the post season. Of course, not everything falls into place, so I thought the Mets would finish 81-81, in third place in the NL East. Instead, they were 77-85, good for fourth place.
Last year, I thought the Mets could finish third (with 84 wins) and compete for the brand new second Wild card, as long as the starting pitching remained healthy. If not, they would lose 89 games and finish last. Halfway through the season, it looked like my positive prediction would become a reality. But then my worst case scenario came true — Johan Santana and Dillon Gee went down, and the Mets stumbled to a 74-88 record, again finishing fourth.
So perhaps I was overly optimistic the past couple of years, but I will not make that mistake again. The Mets will be lucky to repeat their record of last year. I predict they will finish with a record of 71-91 and land in fourth place for the fifth straight year. Thank goodness for the Triple-A caliber Marlins, or the Mets would be last for the first time in a decade.
This is the most pessimistic I’ve been about the Mets in a very long time. The starting pitching is already in shambles and the outfield is simply a joke. Outside of David Wright, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy, the lineup is anemic. The bullpen looks promising, but so did the pens prior to the past couple of years, but then the seasons began.
I would be love to be wrong about this. I hope the Mets can somehow put together a good season. But common sense tells me it just is not possible. It is the same poor team as last season, minus a 20-game winner and a 20-homer guy. How can the Mets possibly be better?
Yes, Matt Harvey will get a full season, and we will get half seasons (or maybe more) out of Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud. But who knows if they will live up to their promise?
This is going to be a long season for the Mets and their fans.
Elsewhere in the NL East, I predict the Braves will win the division. They are just excellent from top to bottom.
I am going against conventional wisdom and picking the Phillies second. They still have the pitching and their big hitters are healthy. I think they will make one last push before they begin rebuilding their aging team.
Also against the experts, I have the Nationals third. They have solid hitting and pitching, but I just don’t think they will repeat. Maybe it’s karma for shutting down Stephen Strasburg; you’ve got to seize the opportunity when it arises because you may never get it again.
My surprise National League team once again is the Padres. I might have jumped the gun with that prediction last season, but they did win 76 games, which surprised everybody. They probably won’t win a stacked NL West, but I think they will finish above .500 and contend for one of the Wild Cards.
I wish I could say the same thing about the Mets.