04 July 2011

The Math

(Special "Ribs on the Grill, Margarita Within Reach, Buffett Wiggling Out of the Speakers, Lying in My Hammock, 4th of July/Start of My Vacation" Edition)

After a dramatic win to take Game 3 of the Subway Series, Act II, the Mets yet again find themselves at .500.  Last night, while perusing the web, I saw an internet post stating that the difference between .500 and 90 wins is only 9 games, or a scant 5% of the season.  I replied to that post, and will repeat the gist of my response here in more detail.

Yes, 9 games is the difference between 90 wins and 81.  Yes, 9 games is only slightly over 5 1/2% of a 162-game season.  The problem is, the Mets aren't working with a 162-game season at this point.  In fact they're working with less than half of a 162-game season, as 84 of those games are already in the books.  As fate would have it, the Mets are also right at .500 at the moment.  That 9-game difference between .500 and 90 wins has to be made up in 78 games.  Now those 9 games comprise 11.5% of the remaining season, a much larger portion than our original claim of 5%.

Looking at it more directly, in order for the Mets to win 90 games, they have to go 48-30 the rest of the way.  48-30 works out to .615 ball from now until the end of the season.  Only one team in all of baseball has that high a winning percentage at the moment.  The A.L. East-leading Yankees, who just took 2 out of 3 from the Mets are only at .610.  That one team that's playing .615 or better?  The Phillies, who at 53-32 are roughly one-half game above that percentatge.  Essentially, for the Mets to go on to win 90 games, they have to turn into the Phillies the rest of the way.  The Phillies have one of the best starting rotations in recent memory.  The Mets?  Not so much.

Is it possible?  Well, anything is.  Is it remotely likely?  Heck, no.  I've seen other people say that "we're only 7 out of the Wild Card, and we blew that big a lead in a couple of weeks back in '07."  The difference is 1) The 2007 Phillies only had one team to catch for the division title as opposed to the 6 the Mets currently trail in the Wild Card, and 2) sadly, we are talking about the team that blew said lead, not the one that erased it.

Enjoy the 4th, take the opportunity to listen to Vin Scully at least for a while tonight if you can, enjoy the rest of the season.  Just don't kid yourself.

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