As of tonight’s off night, per the current non-operative schedule, the 2020 Mets would have played eight games already. They were slated for nine, but the second of them, on Saturday, March 28, would have been rained out. I can’t prove that — I can’t prove anything where the 2020 Mets are concerned — but it rained all day in New York two Saturdays ago, and not even the large gate attached to a Pete Alonso Bobblehead Day seemed likely to pull the tarp from Citi Field’s diamond. In context, the rainout would have caused consternation and chaos in modest doses. Context ain’t what it used to be.
So let’s say the Mets would have played eight games by now. Let’s figure BobblePete would have found a makeup day to nod agreeably. Let’s assume, which you can never do in normal times, whatever those are, that the pitching would have been pushed back to a point, meaning the optimal utility of Jacob deGrom, whose Bobblehead Day dawned dry enough to play on March 29, didn’t get leapt over during the season’s second week, which, if you’re not scoring at home (though you’re likely doing everything else there), was just last week. I know, I know; who can tell anymore?
DeGrom in the Opener. Stroman that succeeding Sunday, which was three days later. Then Porcello, Matz and I gotta believe deGrom again, because you don’t want him sitting and waiting for a week. Wacha in Washington for their disgusting flag-raising and so forth. Then it’s another day off, followed by Stroman on Saturday, going on five days’ rest and, I guess, Porcello Sunday, a.k.a. yesterday. We arrive in Houston, packing righteous indignation and who to pitch? You can use deGrom on proper rest tomorrow or you can keep Matz from going altogether stale.
You’d use deGrom, right?
I don’t know who Rojas — and the calls Rojas would have gotten from Van Wagenen that Rojas would already be getting a little edgy from — would have chosen. I don’t know what would have happened in the eight games the Mets would have played by now. Without indulging in the well-meaning simulations out there that I can’t bear to look at, I have a hunch the Mets would be somewhere between 3-5 and 5-3 after eight games. It’s just a hunch. The Mets haven’t been 5-3 after eight games since 2017, 3-5 since 2016 or 4-4 since way back in 2011 (I’ve lived long enough that 2011 now qualifies as “way back”). It just feels right that these Mets would be settling in somewhere between a little better than .500 and a little worse than .500.
I could be wrong. I could be absolutely wrong. The Mets were 7-1 two years ago, 6-2 last year. They’ve never been 8-0, but there are six instances of them being 2-6 (most recently way back in 2010) and three times when all they had was one or zero wins. But I’m a little too hypothetically optimistic to think they’re as bad as they were in 1962, 1963, 1964 or, for that matter, 2010. Just call me wide-eyed. Or Zoom me any adjective you like.
The Mets are 3-5. We are healthily panicked, just ill at ease enough to fit the circumstances. Three wins and five losses after eight games is not a good look. We are reminding ourselves multiple times a day that there are still 154 games remaining, and even if somebody among Washington, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Miami (hey, you never know) is off to a 7-1 launch, well, there are still 154 games remaining. After losing five of eight to start the season, we are trying to not doubt Luis. We are trying to not doubt whichever element of the staff, starting or relieving, we deem culpable for 3-5. We’ve probably called for and will receive by tomorrow night some change to the batting order and maybe somebody who’s been mostly glued to the bench entering the lineup. Just a scheduled off day for Cano, Luis will say. Just letting Amed clear his head, maybe. Say, how’s Conforto’s oblique, anyway?
The Mets are 4-4. We’re not thrilled, but we’re not overtly hostile. Four wins and four losses after eight games is what our record says it is. It’s OK. It’s not great, because we’ve already experienced the agony of defeat four times, and that’s three times too many. Jason or I wrote that first “so we won’t go 161-1” column and we all ingested easily enough the reality that there are a third you win, a third you lose, et al. But a team we fancied jumping up to immediate playoff contention muddling along doesn’t strike us as a an adequate break from the blocks. Somehow 4-4, doesn’t feel 125 percentage points better than 3-5. Not much of a sample size there from to which to judge, of course. Then again, we have zero sample size in actual 2020, so I’d take 4-4 over 0-0 ASAP as long as nobody spreads or catches anything from it.
The Mets are 5-3. That’s not bad. That’s more than not bad. But if we’re 5-3, why aren’t we 6-2? You know if McNeil had gotten that base hit with the sacks full, we’d be 6-2. You know Alonso is gonna finally belt one and more will follow once he loosens up, and it’s pretty good that we’re pretty good with the Polar Bear obviously trying a little too hard. Familia’s weight loss has made a difference. Brach may be the secret weapon. And what about that running grab Marisnick made? Luis putting him in for defense really paid off. Still, it feels like they could be better than 5-3. But we shouldn’t be complaining. It’s just eight games.