The fact of the matter is this. If the Nats sweep the Mets the Mets will be 10.5 games behind the Nats. Can a team make up 10.5 games in 5 months? Sure! It's not easy but it can be done. This is especially true for a team that you think is good and looks a little unlucky chasing down a team that you don't really like and who has looked a little lucky. Like say if the Dodgers had to make up 10.5 games to catch the Rockies.
But it's not the Dodgers and the Rockies, it's the Nationals and the Mets. You may have liked the Mets better than the Nationals, maybe. I didn't, but maybe you did. But did you like them to finish 10.5 games ahead of the Nationals? No one did. And now they'd have a month less time to play that much better than the Nats and they'd be trying to do it with a team that already looks hobbled 4 weeks into the season. It's not happening.
Or more accurately it won't happen if the Nats put away the Mets. If the Nats sweep the Mets and put the Nats 10.5 games back they will not catch the Nationals. That means there isn't a chance for the Mets to win the NL East.
Before you get all worried, here are some things you might be thinking I'm saying that I am not:
- I'm not saying the Nationals are going to win the East. There are other teams in the division and while I don't really love any of them, things happen. The Nats can get injured. Teams can really bolster a surprise contender with a trade. There's no handing the Nats anything on April 28th or May 1st.
- I'm not saying the Mets can't make the playoffs. 8-13 is a bad record but it's not terrible or anything. If you think say ... 90 wins can make the playoffs then the Mets would have to go through the rest of the year at a 94 win pace. That's certainly possible. From 8-16 it would be that much harder but again in the realm of possibility. Plus right now the 2nd WC is the Phillies at 11-9. That's a catchable team with a mediocre record. (Not to mention the first WC would be the Rockies). There's no group of good teams running away from the rest.
- I'm not saying teams won't make jumps of 10.5 games against other teams. Most presumed good teams will start to do better but really this is about bad teams crashing out. There's definitely a snowball effect that happens at year's end compounded by the good players on your team being traded away. Teams close to .500 now could easily finish 15 games under. That's 15 games without even trying. If the Nats were a surprise contender and the Mets were the heavy favorite I wouldn't even consider saying the Mets can't make up that ground.