After not performing well at home all year, the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies on Thursday, taking the finale by the score of 2-1. The Mets will hope to continue their recent stretch of good pitching out west, beginning a four-city, 11-game road trip on Friday. Ten of the 11 games will be played in the Pacific Time Zone, with the last game of the road trip taking place in Minnesota, where the Mets were snowed out in April, necessitating this makeup game.
So how have the Mets fared over the years when they've played at least ten consecutive games three time zones from home?
Prior to 1969, there were only two teams playing in the Pacific Time Zone. Therefore, the Mets never played ten consecutive games out west. It wasn't until the miraculous year of 1969, when the San Diego Padres joined the National League, that the Mets took part in their first ten-game West Coast swing. From August 26 to September 3, the Mets played three games in San Diego, four in San Francisco and three in Los Angeles, taking six of the ten games en route to their first World Series championship.
The Mets have had several more California road trips of ten or more games over the years, but they had to wait until 1998 - when the Arizona Diamondbacks joined the Senior Circuit - to play a game in the Pacific Time Zone outside of the Golden State. And even with Arizona in the league, they had to wait until 2010 to play the Diamondbacks as part of a West Coast road trip of ten games or more.
Here is a list of every West Coast trip of ten or more games the Mets have played in their history, along with who they played and the team's record during those long trips three time zones away from home.
- 1969 - 10 games (3 vs. SD, 4 vs. SF, 3 vs. LA): 6-4
- 1970 - 10 games (3 vs. LA, 3 vs. SF, 4 vs. SD): 5-5
- 1973 - 10 games (4 vs. LA, 3 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD): 3-7
- 1974 - 10 games (3 vs. SD, 4 vs. SF, 3 vs. LA): 5-5
- 1975 - 11 games (4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD, 4 vs. LA): 7-4
- 1976 - 11 games (3 vs. LA, 4 vs. SD, 4 vs. SF): 6-5
- 1977 - 11 games (3 vs. SD, 4 vs. LA, 4 vs. SF): 4-7
- 1978 - 10 games (4 vs. SD, 2 vs. SF, 4 vs. LA): 5-5
- 1979 - 11 games (4 vs. SF, 4 vs. LA, 3 vs. SD): 2-9
- 1980 - 11 games (4 vs. SF, 3 vs. LA, 3 vs. SD): 1-10
- 1983 - 10 games (3 vs. SD, 3 vs. SF, 4 vs. LA): 3-7
- 1984 - 10 games (3 vs. LA, 4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD): 5-5
- 1985 - 10 games (4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD, 3 vs. LA): 7-3
- 1988 - 10 games (3 vs. SF, 4 vs. SD, 3 vs. LA): 7-3
- 1990 - 10 games (3 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD, 4 vs. LA): 4-6
- 1992 - 10 games (3 vs. LA, 4 vs. SD, 3 vs. SF): 5-5
- 1993 - 11 games (4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD, 4 vs. LA): 6-5
- 1994 - 11 games (4 vs. SD, 3 vs. SF, 4 vs. LA): 7-4
- 1995 - 10 games (3 vs. LA, 4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD): 3-7
- 1996 - 10 games (4 vs. SD, 3 vs. SF, 3 vs. LA): 4-6
- 2010 - 11 games (4 vs. SF, 3 vs. AZ, 4 vs. LA): 2-9
- 2012 - 11 games (4 vs. AZ, 4 vs. SF, 3 vs. SD): 6-5
|This fan hopes the Mets can make themselves at home out west with a bunch of victories.|
In all, the Mets have had 22 road trips in which they played ten or more consecutive games in the Pacific Time Zone, with only two of those trips occurring after 1996. (The Mets will embark on their third such trip Friday night.) New York has only been able to celebrate a winning record in eight of those 22 trips. Their overall record in the 229 games played on these trips is 101-128 (.441 winning percentage). Since 1977, however, their record is 69-98 (.413 winning percentage).
On Friday, the Mets will begin a stretch in which they play ten consecutive games in the Pacific Time Zone. The first three games will be played in Arizona, followed by three games in Los Angeles and four in San Diego. As they head west, the Mets find themselves in third place, eight games under .500 and only one game behind the second place Washington Nationals.
The left coast has rarely been a place for the Mets to recharge their batteries. In fact, sometimes a long trip out west has killed the Mets' season (does 2010 ring a bell?) or tried its best to choke the life out of the team (we almost stopped believing in 1973).
The 2013 Mets are probably not going to qualify for the playoffs. But they still have plenty to play for. A .500 record is still within reach. So is second place in the NL East. Some teams build on strong finishes to produce memorable years the following season. A successful road trip out west can go a long way towards producing the confidence a young team needs to build a successful franchise for the future. Otherwise, the Mets might continue to go south when they come back east.