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Mets

Mets 2020 schedule recap and predictions

Mets first baseman Pete Alonso at the 2019 All-Star Game. Photo by Ian D'Andrea via Flickr.

The Mets now have their full schedule for the 60-game 2020 season. They’re scheduled to start the season at home hosting the Atlanta Braves, and Opening Day will be on July 24. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN, not SNY.

The Mets begin the season with a 13-game in 13 days stretch before they get their first off-day on Aug. 6, and then play 17 games in 17 days before their next off-day on Aug. 24. After that though, they will have just one more stretch where they will play more than 10 games in a row without a day off, a 13-game stretch to end the season.

Their schedule is tough all around, but the beginning and end are easily the most challenging. See, their games vs. the Marlins, Orioles and Blue Jays all come pretty much come in the middle of the season. 

To start though, they’ve got the Braves, Red Sox, Braves again and then the defending champion Washington Nationals. The Red Sox are clearly the worst of the bunch seeing as they have probably one of the worst pitching staffs in the entire league, but their lineup can still hit with the best of them.

Then to end the season Phillies, Braves, Rays and close it out with the Nationals, all teams that could be fighting for a playoff spot still. If the Mets struggle though during the initial stretch of the season, it might be hard for them to be one of those teams competing for the playoffs in the final week.

But now onto some predictions.

Atlanta Braves
Games: 10
Optimistic record: 7-3
Pessimistic record: 3-7

The Braves were probably the favorites to win the NL East heading into the first spring training. However, the defending division champs have taken one of the hardest hits of any team due to COVID-19. Franchise icon Freddie Freeman tested positive for COVID-19 along with three other members of the team, one being offseason acquisition Will Smith. Then, veteran Nick Markakis opted-out of the season, hurting their outfield. They’ll still be good, but a lot of their season will ride on if Freeman can play in 2020. If they lose half of the one-two punch that is Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr., their championship aspirations will take a serious hit.

Washington Nationals
Games: 10
Optimistic record: 8-2
Pessimistic record: 4-6

This might not be a hot take, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the defending World Series champs don’t make the playoffs this season. They were simply a Wild Card team that got hot at the exact right time last season. They were not the most talented team in baseball, and there’s a reason they didn’t win the division. Then, they proceeded to lose their best bat to free agency in Anthony Rendon. Yes, they still have Juan Soto, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Trea Turner and other good players so they’ll compete, but they are by no means one of the best teams in the league. Plus, their franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman opted out of the season, and while he’s not what he was in his prime, it’s still a hit.


Philadelphia Phillies
Games: 10
Optimistic record: 8-2
Pessimistic record: 4-6

The Phillies are one of those teams that could be sneaky good in 2020. With all the hype in NL East centered around the reigning division champ Braves and World Series champ Nationals, the team that has made perhaps the most upgrades out of anyone in baseball over the past two seasons looks like they’ll be able to hang with the best of them. Are they one of the best teams in baseball? Absolutely not. But they have talent, and perhaps more importantly in a season as unpredictable as this, they have veterans. Their team includes the likes of Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Nola, Jake Arrieta and Zack Wheeler. That’s experience right there, and that’s a team that can beat anyone on any given day. 

Miami Marlins
Games: 10
Optimistic record: 9-1
Pessimistic record: 5-5

Ah yes, we’ve reached the Marlins. The clear worst team in the division. The only team in the NL East that doesn’t have a real chance to make the playoffs. The NL East crown might come down to whoever can beat up on the Marlins the most. If a team stumbles and loses the season series to the fish, that easily could sink their entire season. A sixth of the Mets, Braves, Nationals and Phillies schedule is against Miami, and they need to take advantage of it.

New York Yankees
Games: 6
Optimistic record: 4-2
Pessimistic record: 1-5

The Subway Series will be on its biggest stage in 20 years this season, with a tenth of each team’s game coming against their crosstown rival. In a 162 game season, that’s the equivalent of the Mets and Yankees playing each other 16 times as opposed to the usual four or six. The Yankees probably have a better team on paper, but they took two massive hits over the past week. First, starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive which now has his status for the start of the season unclear. Then, second baseman and 2019 breakout star in DJ LeMahieu tested positive for COVID-19, so his status for the 2020 season is also up in the air. If they miss an extended period of the season, it would be a huge loss for the Yankees.

Boston Red Sox
Games: 4
Optimistic record: 4-0
Pessimistic record: 1-3

The Red Sox have almost no pitching. They had a very mediocre bullpen last season that didn’t really get better this offseason and a below-average starting pitching staff that is currently down its two best arms. Chris Sale is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and Eduardo Rodriguez recently tested positive for COVID-19, so that would leave their ace as, uhhh ~checks notes~ Nathan Eovaldi. That’s not great. Sure, their lineup is still very good even with the loss of Mookie Betts, as Xander Boaegarts, J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers and company are sure to cause problems for whichever pitcher they face. Though no matter how good their lineup is, they won’t be able to do anything with a pitching staff this bad.

Baltimore Orioles
Games: 4
Optimistic record: 4-0
Pessimistic record: 2-2

I almost want to copy and past the first couple lines I wrote about the Marlins. Though honestly, the Orioles might be even worse. At least the Marlins have solid bats like Brian Anderson and Corey Dickerson, the Orioles are pretty much devoid of talent all around their roster. Hanser Alberto is OK I guess. Renato Nunez probably won’t be the worst DH in the league. Chris Davis is, well, Chris Davis. Really, every game someone loses to the Orioles this year will be a huge disappointment. In only 60 games, every game matters so much more, and they can’t let this team be the one keep them out of the playoffs.

Tampa Bay Rays
Games: 3
Optimistic record: 2-1
Pessimistic record: 0-3

The Rays are a very good baseball team. Are they a great baseball team or a championship-caliber baseball team? Only time will tell, but I have my doubts. Their rotation, headed up by Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, is very good. Their bullpen is one of the best in the league and their lineup has solid players from top-to-bottom. They just lack a star, that one player who when the team needs him the most can save the day. There’s hope Austin Meadows can get there, but other than him no one in their lineup really scares me. Though with their great pitching, they might not need great hitting to go far.

Toronto Blue Jays
Games: 3
Optimistic record: 3-0
Pessimistic record: 1-2

The Blue Jays are young, fun and totally not ready to compete yet. Even with big strides from Valdimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, it will be hard for them to even sniff the playoffs. The rest of their lineup overall isn’t up to par and their pitching staff is below average, even with the addition of NL Cy Young runner-up Hyun Jin-Ryu. The 33-year-old is a very good pitcher but I’m betting on his 2019 being a career year, and other than him the next best starter on their staff is either Tanner Roark or Matt Shoemaker. They’re on their way up, but they still have a long way to go.

Overall
Games: 60
Optimistic record: 49-11
Realistic record: 35-25
Pessimistic record: 21-39

I want to make this abundantly clear: By no means do I think it is realistic for the Mets to win 49 games this season. Could it happen? Sure. But there’s also probably about a dozen teams that could also do that if they get hot. No one knows what to expect in a 60 game season. The optimistic record is simply what I think could happen if everything — and I mean everything — breaks the Mets way. I also don’t think they’ll only win 21 games. They’re too good of a team to do that. The pessimistic record is what I think will happen if everything goes wrong for the Mets.

There are too many variables to accurately predict a normal season, much less a season like this one. That’s why I figured the best way to do it was find a best-case and worst-case scenario and average them out, and that’s where the 35-25 record comes from. I think they’ll end up right around 35 wins, give or take five. Will that be enough to make the playoffs? No one really knows. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see teams with some of the highest winning (and losing) percentages in MLB history this season, and I also wouldn’t be shocked if a lot of teams end up hovering around the .500 mark for the entire season.

It’s going to be a wild and unpredictable ride, and I can’t wait for it to get started.

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