The New York Mets are amidst an eleven game road trip that could be vital to their season even though it is only June. The trip began with a five game set in Philadelphia that ended Monday evening and will resume Tuesday at Wrigley Field in Chicago. New York will spend the weekend in the Bay Area visiting the San Francisco Giants to close out the trip.
The five game set against the Phillies was exactly what the doctored ordered for manager Terry Collins and a Mets team that went a month without winning a series (I count the Subway Series as one four-game series, not two separate two-game sets). New York outplayed the Phillies for most of the lengthy series, taking four out of five to begin the road trip. The Amazin’s have suddenly turned it on, winning six of their last seven including the final two games they took in a home series versus Pittsburgh before leaving for the road. The Mets are 7-3 in their last ten games and are now just one game below the .500 mark at 28-29.
A successful road trip is 3-3 from here on out, at worst. A series win against the Cubs would allow the Mets to lose the series in San Francisco and still come home with a 7-4 record overall on the trip. Although it would be even better to win both series and come home 8-3, which would give the Mets a winning record the next time they play at Citi Field. The Cubs have been awful this season, including a 10-13 record at home while the Giants are in first place and don’t lose games in their ballpark. San Francisco is 19-9 at AT&T Park and the Mets will have their work cut out for them trying to take two of three in that place. The Giants currently hold the best record in the National League as well.
The rest of this road trip is of substantial importance to the Mets for a few reasons. One is the fact that despite being under .500, nobody is running away with this division. Atlanta and Washington (the NL East’s two favorite) are both having their struggles while the Miami Marlins continue to hold their spot as the hottest team in the east. The Mets need to take advantage of being just 3.5 games out of the top spot in their division and hang in the race well into the summer at least. Going on a series winning streak now will sustain the Mets when the Braves and Nationals get hot and start reeling off victories, which they’re bound to do at some point.
Another important factor is that the Mets actually play good on the road and poor at home, just as they have since Citi Field opened. The Mets are the only team in the NL East with a road record above .500 and it currently stands at 15-12. They need to keep up the solid outings from the pitching staff while away from home and take advantage of being a winning team on the road, continuing that trend this week.
It’s been a great beginning to what could be one of the Mets’ more successful road trips this season. The fact that Philadelphia is a division rival makes it that much sweeter but still doesn’t allow the Mets to get too comfortable. They are still an average to slightly below average baseball team that needs to prove they have the consistency to battle for a playoff spot come September. Stringing together a couple of more series wins in Chicago and especially San Francisco would certainly be a step in the right direction.
SOME NOTES FOR THE REST OF THIS METS ROAD TRIP
-The Mets as a team could be very tired in Chicago when facing the Cubs and will need to guard against that hurting them. The five-game set in Philadelphia went a total of 57 innings including two 14-inning marathons, one of which was a Mets win. The third extra inning game was a Mets win in 11 innings.
-Zach Wheeler gets the ball in each series; first Tuesday at Wrigley Field then Sunday at AT&T Park. The matchup with Tim Lincecum in San Fran is interesting because Wheeler is facing the team he was traded to New York from. Also, that game could shape how successful the Mets road trip ends up being.
-The Cubs are 4-6 in their last ten games while the Giants are a league-best 8-2