Memorial Day typically is the first valid measuring stick for the direction of an MLB team's season. And let's just say the Mets will not be receiving rave reviews come Monday.
Even with an 8-1 win on Friday in Pittsburgh behind a two-homer, four-RBI game from Neil Walker and Jacob deGrom becoming the first starting pitcher with the Mets to exceed seven innings this season, the team possesses an unsightly 20-26 record and has spotted the Nationals a 7½-game lead in the NL East.
If you want the glass-half-full prognosis, Yoenis Cespedes began a rehab assignment on Friday with Class A St. Lucie, going 0-for-2 with a walk and playing six innings in left field, and Steven Matz and Seth Lugo make what may be their final rehab starts on Sunday for Las Vegas and Binghamton, respectively. So impact reinforcements may be on the way.
Yet while the returns of Matz and Lugo should alleviate the need for more than one start from newly promoted Tyler Pill, and should even supply an extra arm to the bullpen, the fact remains that Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia will be sidelined for months and Matt Harvey has yet to resolve his woes. So the reality is the Mets face a serious uphill battle to resurrect their season.
A historical analysis certainly is not kind to the Mets' prognosis, either.
Since 2000, the Mets have owned a sub-.500 record on Memorial Day seven times. In only two of those instances have the Mets rallied to finish with a winning record. And in neither of those cases did the team qualify for the postseason anyway.
In 2008, the Mets were 23-26 on Memorial Day, ultimately took a lead in the NL East, then completed a collapse on the final day at Shea Stadium and finished 89-73 and a game shy of the postseason.
And in 2001, coming off a World Series appearance against the Yankees the previous October, the Mets were 22-29 on Memorial Day and ultimately finished 82-80.
The bottom line: The last seven times the Mets have reached the postseason, they owned a winning record on Memorial Day. And the Mets will be sub-.500 this time, even if they produce a solid weekend against the Pirates.
To give the Mets a chance, Sandy Alderson clearly will need to get the Mets' gassed bullpen assistance -- ideally sooner than the deals that brought Tyler Clippard (July 27) and Addison Reed (Aug. 30) to the Mets in 2015.
And it's way too early to tune out.
DeGrom pitched into the ninth inning on Friday in Pittsburgh, striking out 10, and has hit his stride. Curtis Granderson, who contributed the first RBI against the Pirates, is showing some modest signs of life. The offense overall is starting to click. And Cespedes, Matz and Lugo are seemingly close to returns.
"We're going to get hot," deGrom said postgame. "We've got too good players to not win ballgames. Once everybody gets back and ready to go, it's going to be fun to watch."