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The Road Beyond 4,000

If you had money on the Mets pummeling Braves ace Julio Teheran [1], well, I hope you dropped by the corner store and bought a whole bunch of Lotto tickets. The Mets scorched Teheran from the get-go, when Curtis Granderson [2] drove one off the facing of the Pepsi Porch. They kept it up with Daniel Murphy [3]‘s RBI double and a line drive by David Wright [4]. They scored when Eric Young [5] Jr. wasn’t fooled by an eephus pitch and when B.J. Upton [6] didn’t feel like giving it his all in center field. They collected 18 hits in all — that’s the most in Citi Field history — through liners and funny bounces and everything else you’d want to scratch off in Laugher Bingo. Teheran stalked around the mound out of sorts and was excused in favor of Davids Hale and Carpenter, who didn’t fare much better. On the other side of the ledger, the Mets rode Jacob deGrom [7] and his high riding fastball, and chipped in some super defense from Wright and Young.

All in all, it was a lot of fun [8] — the kind of game that makes you look at Mets hitters making good and that +3 run differential and think maybe Sandy Alderson isn’t completely crazy when he claims those Mets in the mirror are closer than the standings would appear. Of course, this is the kind of giddiness to which one often falls prey after a team hits a division opponent early and often. It lasts until approximately the next lousy start, boneheaded play or pop-up with runners in scoring position.

For those who like milestones based on the fact that we have 10 fingers, it was the Mets’ 4,000th regular-season win, which would make it their 4,043rd win in games that matter. (I used this same logic in doing the count [9] for Johan Santana [10]‘s no-hitter.) If you’re into milestones, our pal Ed Leyro looks back at wins 1,000, 2,000 and 3,000 here [11], plus perhaps Greg will have something to say on the subject.

I was more struck by something else discussed by Gary and Ron, though — on Monday the Angels beat the Blue Jays to even their all-time regular-season record [12] at 4,272-4,272, the first time they’d been at .500 since starting their inaugural 1961 season at 1-1. (They’re losing tonight, though.)

The Angels are the first expansion team to reach the .500 mark. What would the Mets have to do to equal them? A lot, I’m afraid. The Mets are now 4,000-4,374, which means if they started playing 85-win ball year in and year out, they’d need more than half a century to reach lifetime mediocrity. On the other hand, hey, the Angels were 213 games below .500 when Mike Scioscia [13] took over the managerial reins 15 years ago. If the Mets start winning 100 a year, they can erase their deficit in about a decade (and make me very happy in the process).

Teams’ all-time records [14] may surprise you: The Cubs, for all their pain, are 451 games above .500, which really ain’t bad at all if you take a very long view. The Phillies, on the other hand, really are baseball’s worst franchise: They’re 1,084 games under .500, a tradition Ruben Amaro [15] Jr. seems determined to uphold. (Second-worst: The Orioles, at 863 games below the surface.)

The best team all-time? You probably guessed it, but yeah, it’s the Yankees. They’re 2,379 games over .500, which means if they stopped winning games tomorrow they wouldn’t fall to .500 until sometime in 2029. They’re also eight games away from celebrating their 10,000th win, which I’m sure will be commemorated with grace and humility.

So, yeah, there’s work to be done. More games like tonight would help.