The Mets have won an inordinate number of close games this season: They’re 11-3 in one-or-two run games. They have not fared as well in blowouts, 0-5 in games decided by six or more runs.
Because the Mets have won so many close games and lost a number of blowouts, they have been outscored by 18 runs. Over the course of a full season, it’s difficult for a team to have a winning record and allow more runs than they score. In the last five seasons, only six teams – the 2011 Giants, the 2009 Tigers and Mariners, the 2008 Astros, and the 2007 Diamondbacks and Mariners – were able to do just that, and only the Diamondbacks topped 88 games and made the postseason. Basically, good teams tend to blow out bad teams, the reverse rarely happens, and close games go either way. So if this Mets team isn’t blowing anyone out . . .
Think of it like the Knicks-Heat games over the last two seasons: Miami has taken nine of the 12 meetings, and the Heat have won by margins of eight, eight, ten, ten, 12, 14, 17, 22, and 33 points. Meanwhile, the Knick’s three victories against the Heat came by two, five, and five points. Maybe you could argue the Knicks are better at winning close games. But would anyone argue that the Knicks are better than the Heat? When everything clicks for Miami, they win a blowout. When everything clicks for New York, they win by five in the last minute.
The scoring in the Mets’ season has followed a similar pattern. They win the close ones (of their 18 wins, 14 have come by one, two, or three runs) and lose the blowouts (of their 13 losses, nine have come by four or more runs). That type of scoring pattern tends to be unsustainable, because teams that only win close games and then lose blowouts tend to prove less talented than their opponents in the long run. If the Mets are outscored by 18 runs over their next 31 games, they probably won’t go 18-13 again.
On the other hand, it’s only 31 games, so small sample size warnings still apply. We’re at the point in the season where you can find the numbers to support any argument regarding a team or a player or whatever. The Mets are both good and not good, so you’ll just have to poison a cat in a box to find out which.