NY Sports Dog: Mets April Schedule Could Determine 2010 Success

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mets April Schedule Could Determine 2010 Success

There's something about the Mets schedule each year that always seems a bit disconcerting.

Last year there was June and early July when the Mets played 20 games in a row, and August, when the Mets played 29 games with one day off.

I chronicled the scheduling issues quite a bit last year, including this piece on 20 games in 20 days.

In 2009 the Mets got off to a sluggish start in April, only to turn on the jets in May and take what was their only division lead for the year.  In June the wheels fell off as the injuries mounted, and we were all left to think what could have been as one frustration piled on top of another all the way to the merciful end.

Still, with all of the challenges of 2009, the team was far better at home than on the road:

2009 Home/Road
2009 Month by Month

This year's schedule is quite a bit more balanced:
  • April:  16 home games, 7 away games, 3 off days, 16 games in a row
  • May:  12 home games, 17 away games, 2 off days, 17 games in a row
  • June:  12 home games, 14 away games, 4 off days, 9 games in a row
  • July:  11 home games, 15 away games, 5 off days, 11 games in a row
  • August: 13 home games, 15 away games, 3 off days, 13 games in a row
  • September: 14 home games, 13 away games, 3 off days, 10 games in a row
  • October:  3 home games, 0 away games
The real question surrounding the 2010 schedule is a simple one, "can the Mets take advantage of of the abundance of April home games?"

It's possible, but when we look at the Mets opponents in April, the home field advantage becomes obscured as the Mets play some of the best teams in the NL.  In fact, other than the Nationals, the Mets go up against the cream of the crop to start the year, including games against all four playoff teams.

April opponents:
3 vs Dodgers (.586--won division)
1 vs Philly (.574--won division)
3 vs Colorado (.568--wild card)
3 vs St Louis (.562--won division)
3 vs Florida (.537)
3 vs Atlanta (.531)
4 vs Chicago (.516)
3 vs Nationals (.364)

So the Mets have two opposing forces to begin the year--a plethora of home games, yet those games are against the best teams the senior circuit has to offer.

When you're a losing team, the schedule always looks tougher than it probably is.  But make no mistake, the Mets are going to get challenged early and often, and though the season is certainly a marathon, the first month might just tell us a lot.
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