Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mets Teams That Played Their Best Against The Best

With a 77-49 record, the Atlanta Braves have the best record in the major leagues.  And yet, somehow the Mets have a 8-8 record against them.  It's by far the most wins they have against an opponent this year, as the Mets have not been able to defeat any other team more than five times.  (They're 5-7 against both Philadelphia and Washington, and 5-10 vs. Miami.)

It's quite unusual for a team with a sub-.500 record to play its best against the best team in the league.  But it's happened before for the Mets. 

Just three years ago, in 2010, the Mets finished the year with a 79-83 record.  However, they split their 18 games against the Philadelphia Phillies, who boasted the league's best record at 97-65.  The Mets did not win more than nine games against any other team in 2010.  They also went 9-9 against the Washington Nationals.

The only other time the Mets won more games against the league's best team than they did against any other team was in 2003.  That Mets squad had a forgetful season, going 66-95.  But they did go 8-11 against the Atlanta Braves, who won a league-high 101 games.  The eight wins were one more than they had against the Marlins and Phillies, against whom the Mets went 7-12.

Should the Mets win their final series against the Braves in two weeks, they will clinch a winning record versus Atlanta for the season.  If Atlanta maintains its grip on the best record in baseball, it would mark the first time the Mets finish with a winning record against a team that led its league in victories in a year the Mets defeated that team more times than they defeated anyone else.  (Got that?)

2003.  2010.  2013.  Neither year produced many great memories for the Mets.  But they did produce a statistical oddity.  Those three seasons are the only ones in which the Mets won more games against the league's best team than they did against anyone else.  They may not have had winning records in those seasons, but they certainly played their best against the best.

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