(CBSNewYork) — The New York Mets will be seeing a lot of their fellow National League East teams in the coming two months. Of their 60 games this season, 40 will be played against the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Washington Nationals. In the remaining 20, they will face teams from the American League East.
“The Yankees and the Mets are going to have a treacherous schedule of the best teams in all the baseball,” says CBS2 sports anchor Steve Overmyer. “Both the Mets and the Yankees have to play at their highest level against the worst teams to make sure that those games are wins. Every game is going to count in what is supposed to be a shortened season.”
Sixty games are enough for the Mets to make a little noise. And there is certainly some talent on the roster. Pitcher Jacob deGrom won his second consecutive Cy Young Award; first baseman Pete Alonso took home Rookie of the Year honors. But will it be enough in an improving division that already includes the World Series champion?
“All the other teams in the division have gotten so much better,” says Overmyer. “It does help the Mets that Yoenis Céspedes will be able to return, at least in some action, and not have to play the field and be able to play the DH. So that lengthens the lineup a little bit. So I think the Mets may be a little bit better than they were if they would have played a 162-[game] season, only because there are so many variables for this year.”
But judging by the talent, this team has, at best, an outside chance at the postseason. “In the National League East, the Braves are the class of this division, and they have a lot of things going for them,” Overmyer notes. “Number one, they’ve won this division two years straight. Number two, they’ve got a lot of young guys. The core of their roster are young guys, who, theoretically, will be able to bounce back… in this condensed season at a much better rate. I also think the Phillies, who underachieved last year, would be the other team from the NL East. Bryce Harper is a guy who just completely mashes early in the season. And if he gets going at the rate that we expect him to go…”
The Mets’ best hope may just be to stay healthy, admittedly a tall order for the team. Injuries, even minor ones, can derail a short season. And with 60 games in just over two months, they will be a concern for every team. “It’s about which teams are going to be able to keep their best players on the field,” says Overmyer. “And that is as big of a crapshoot as anything.”