The Mets are now below zero in run differential and that’s a bad sign

After getting blown out by the Atlanta Braves 20-2 last night, here’s a list of teams in the National League East with a better run differential than the New York Mets.

Washington (+2), Atlanta (+14), and Miami (+21)

Woof. The Mets have now allowed two more runs than they’ve scored in 2021. While that’s not the most accurate measure of a team’s worth (Albert Almora Jr. gave up three of the 20 runs on Wednesday and he’s still a better pitcher than hitters this season), it’s also not a great sign that New York has what it takes to hold off its rivals and finish first in the division.

Atlanta is the East’s three-time defending champion with two of the best hitters in the world. They have been lurking all season and you figure they have to make a run at some point. Hopefully last night’s outburst wasn’t a sign of things to come, but the Braves have the talent to score lots of runs.

Washington didn’t have the same expectations of Atlanta coming into the season, but the Nationals are riding the scorching hot hitting of Kyle Schwarber. The former Cubs slugger just finished one of the hottest months of June since Sammy Sosa was loaded up on steroids in 1998.

There’s also the Marlins and their division-leading run differential. They’re in last place, but we know they always find a way to be a thorn in the Mets’ side. Miami doesn’t score much, but its outstanding rotation led by Sandy Alcantara, Trevor Rogers, and Pablo Lopez keeps the team in games. The Marlins are a lot like the Mets in that regard.

The Phillies are also in the NL East, but fortunately they can’t get out their own way with all the bullpen meltdowns, including one last weekend that ruined what could have been a triumphant victory for Aaron Nola over Jacob deGrom.

So how do the Mets stay afloat in a suddenly very competitive division? It starts with deGrom leading them to a series win over Atlanta tonight. If the Cy Young favorite can continue being a stopper that can halt The Swoon every time it rears its ugly head, maybe just maybe that gives the Mets a nice cushion to sit on while the offense finds itself. The lineup is getting healthier, but there’s not much pop at the top of the order with Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor underperforming.

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