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The Mets Stumble Into the Break

In this week's magazine, we wrote a sprawling, slobbering, big-hearted, up-with-people piece about the 2012 Mets. Our argument: Mets fans don't want to jinx anything — and they've certainly been hurt enough that you can't blame them for protecting themselves — but everyone should get on board with this team. They're fun, they're SCRAPPY!, they're fighters, and, dammit, they're winning. Sign up, come on in, the water's warm. And then the Mets, just to vex our column, went out and lost two of three to the Cubs, one of the worst teams in baseball, at home.

Yesterday's rubber game was the ugliest of the three, with the Mets being shut out by Ryan Dempster 7–0. As Jason Fry at Faith and Fear in Flushing put it, the Mets weren't exactly engaged yesterday. They looked like they were ready to get to the All-Star break. Hey, everybody other than R. A. Dickey and David Wright is getting a few days off.

It's probably just best to shake off the Cubs series: It was really hot out, and strange things happen when it's that hot. (We're going with that.) Let's look instead at how the Mets are configured heading into the break.

They're not in the playoffs as of this second: They're in a three-way tie, a half-game back of the two teams tied for the two wild card spots. (Whew. The wild card is so complicated this year.) Here's how it looks:

Cincinnati Reds          —
Atlanta Braves             —
New York Mets        1/2
St. Louis Cardinals      1/2
San Francisco Giants  1/2

So, there are two spots waiting there, and we're among those who think the leaders in every National League division (Washington, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles) are due for a steep second-half drop-off. So the Mets are not only still in this, but they seem to have as good a shot as anybody. Baseball Prospectus gives them a 37.8 percent chance of making the playoffs (or at least the wild card coin flip game). 37.8 percent at the All-Star Break. Man, who wouldn't have taken that preseason? C'mon, get excited, it'll be all right.