Last year the Mets had month after bad month, and the schedule was certainly not their friend.
In June and early July there were two stretches when the Mets played 20 games in a row, and August it got worse, with the Mets playing 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 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
Yes, they certainly have taken great advantage of the abundance of April home games, but make no mistake--those games were against some of the best clubs in the National League, even if some of those clubs aren't playing that way at the moment.
April Opponents and 2009 Winning Percentage:
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 had two opposing forces to begin the year--a plethora of home games, yet those games were against the best teams the senior circuit has to offer.
Bottom line is the Mets did what they had to do--they used the scheduling advantage in their favor. With one more April game remaining, the team is 4 games over .500 and sits atop the NL East.
Looking ahead to May we can see that it will be a challenging month from a schedule perspective.
- 17 road games against 12 home games.
- 5 games against the Phillies
- 3 games against the Yankees
- 3 games against the tough SF Giants
- 4 games against the Marlins
No easy task, but as long as the Mets continue to play well as a true team, they will continue to do well.
One thing is for certain--the first hump was met and the team kicked it right on its ass.