By: Stache Staff

June Schedule Could Make or Break Mets


There’s no doubt that 2017 will go down as a disappointment in the history of the Mets, particularly after the highs of 2015 and 2016. Injuries were the defining memory of a season that fans will be in a hurry to forget as a decimated pitching staff led to a dramatic slump and an ERA that was the next to last worst in the National League.

However, 2018 should prove that last season was a freak. Most of their core strength remains in place and they’ve made a few upgrades in certain positions. The Washington Nationals will be their main divisional competition, but the Mets are sure to put up a stronger challenge this time around, and last year’s disappointments should mean that those who want to bet on Stakers for the Mets to win the Division or reach the NLSC or World Series should get some good odds.

One important improvement on last year is that the Mets should start this season with a fighting-fit starting rotation. Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom is a solid one-two and Matt Harvey can be expected to step up in the last year of his contract. If Zack Wheeler can get back to the form that he showed in 2014, there should be a productive four-way tussle between Rafael Montero, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman to complete a solid five.

They also go into the first part of the season with a more balanced line-up thanks to the additions of Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, and Asdrúbal Cabrera, and by the time June comes around, they should have Michael Conforto back and firing alongside Yoenis Céspedes at just the right time to take on some crucial match-ups.

Even at this early stage, Mets fans studying the schedule will identify June as a potentially season-defining month. In the space of 30 days, the Mets are set to meet two divisional rivals, four out of five of last year’s National League play-off contenders, and the Yankees.

The easiest part of June comes towards the end of the month. Home games against the Pirates and a trip to take on the Marlins offer winning opportunities, and there are two games against Baltimore early in the month that should be straightforward.

The tougher of the two divisional challenges in June will be the two matches in Atlanta. The Braves had the edge last season, and given the expected improvement from the Mets this time around, this should be a winnable pair of games, but the Braves have a roster packed with potential and they could be dangerous opponents.

The same can definitely be said of the Cubs. The Mets kick off the month with the final three games of a fourfold series against last year’s NL Central winners. The Cubs ultimately couldn’t match the Dodgers, but they have young talent in abundance and have a high scoring line-up led by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, along with a powerful starting rotation that includes the trio of Kyle HendricksJosé Quintana, and Jon Lester. If the Mets can hold the Cubs or even take the series, it would be a solid achievement.  

For many fans, the Subway Series will be the highlight of the month, and the Mets have a score to settle after being wiped out in all four games last year. The Yankees may be young and dangerous, but there may be a transition period following the departure of Joe Girardi, and with all three games at Citi Field, the home fans will be hoping for a series win to set the team up for a tricky stretch against the top three teams in the West.

Wild Card game winners Arizona are tough opponents with a big-hitting line-up, but the departure of J.D. Martinez will take away some of their threat. After four games against the Diamondbacks, the Mets head to Colorado to take on the Rockies, who also could be vulnerable given that they relied so heavily on free agents Mark Reynolds and Jonathan Lucroy last year. A solid performance in the West will tee up the toughest match-up in June, against the World Series runners-up, the Dodgers.

They already had the most talented roster in the Majors and will be looking to take their game up a level this season. They still have Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill and a deep mix of hitters featuring Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger, along with the experience of claiming the National League and a prolific farm system. They will be formidable opponents, but if the Mets can match them, that will mean confidence for the remainder of the season and a potential Dodgers rematch in the play-offs.

Let’s forget last season. This Mets team is solid, and if star men Syndergaard, Céspedes, and Conforto all fire and get support, particularly on the pitching side from the likes of Harvey and Wheeler, and the defense steps up, the division title – and maybe more – could be in their sights this year.

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