Mets trying to hit lottery ... again?

Gerry Fraley has been watching the Mets, and he's less than impressed:

    Despite the heartbreak of the past two seasons -- both of which ended with them just missing the playoffs -- the Mets have not changed a whit. They remain a high-risk, high-reward team that is prone to giving away games it should win.
    If the Mets miss the National League playoffs by one game, as they have in each of the past two seasons, they can point to games such as Tuesday night's 6-4 loss to St. Louis as the reason. The defeat provided another example of sloppiness trumping talent.


    If Castillo, Murphy and Perez all pan out, the Mets can win the NL East. That is the baseball equivalent of hitting the lottery. It's nice to dream about, but rarely happens.

The 2008 Mets featured Luis Castillo, Daniel Murphy, and Oliver Perez. The 2008 Mets finished one game out of first place.
How does one make the leap from one game out of first place to hitting the lottery, exactly? The Mets didn't need to hit the lottery last season; they just needed to flip a coin and get heads instead of tails. Same thing in 2007. The Mets could have won two division titles almost exactly as easily as they lost two. I'm all for sophisticated, nuanced analysis. But in this case the most simplistic analysis does quite nicely: The only thing separating the Mets from the Phillies for two years running was luck.

That's no knock against the Phillies, who were better in both seasons than I thought they'd be. That's just baseball.

And about the Mets: Yes, they've got some issues. Castillo's probably a broken-down wreck, Murphy's miscast as an every-day left fielder, and Perez is never going to pitch as well as his contract suggests he should. But everyone has issues. The Yankees have an anonymous center fielder and a $160 million man who can't throw strikes. The Red Sox have Nick Green playing shortstop. And the Phillies' best starting pitcher (so far, anyway) has a 5.03 ERA.

So instead of talking about the lottery, let's talk about the odds ... and I still say the odds favor the Mets, slightly.

(H/T: BTF's Newsstand)