With mind-boggling division lead, early Mets dominance in 2022 the rarest of occasions

Mets Guillorme Marte
New York Mets’ Starling Marte (6) and Luis Guillorme (13) celebrate after scoring off Marte’s two-run home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Monday, May 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

At this point, nights like Memorial Day at Citi Field are starting to feel routine for the 2022 version of the New York Mets. 

After David Peterson gave up three first-inning runs, the Amazins roared back to embarrass the lowly Washington Nationals in a 13-5 rout for their fourth consecutive win.

Hitting the first legitimate milestone of baseball’s 162-game season on Memorial Day, the Mets are not only sitting pretty, but they’re also sitting historically high on their perch atop the National League East. 

In their first 50 games, the Mets’ 33 wins ranks third-most in franchise history behind only the 108-win, World-Series-winning 1986 club (35 wins), and the NL East-winning 1988 squad.

It’s helped them build a dominating and jaw-dropping 9.5-game lead over the second-place Atlanta Braves, which is the largest cushion they’ve ever had atop the division at the Memorial Day marker. 

Not even the ’86 Mets, who won the NL East by a staggering 21.5 games, had that big of a lead at this point of the season.

Mets Nationals
Pete Alonso (20), Francisco Lindor (12), Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme (13) celebrate after defeating the Washington Nationals in a baseball game, Monday, May 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

According to FanGraphs, New York’s playoff odds have risen to 94.7%, suggesting this is just the start of some exciting times for baseball at Citi Field this year.

But don’t tell the Mets and their fans that just yet.

“I think it’s a little early,” manager Buck Showalter said of taking stock in the team’s success by Memorial Day weekend. “I think it’s a lot early.”

“As long as we understand that today’s today, tomorrow’s tomorrow, I think we’ll be fine,” star shortstop Francisco Lindor added (h/t MLB.com). “Nobody’s looking forward. Nobody’s looking to August, September. Everybody’s focused on what we have today. And, ultimately, that’s what matters.

“The front office did a great job of hiring professional baseball players — like, legit, professional baseball players. And when you have that, good things happen.”

Despite this being a new age with an owner in Steve Cohen that invests in the team and a seasoned, even-keeled manager like Showalter running the ship, there will always be that tinge of uncertainty in the back of many minds in Queens. 

That’s a sort of precondition that comes with the memories of past calamities for this franchise.

Just last year, the Mets held a four-game division lead by Memorial Day and sat atop the NL East until August before the wheels fell off and they finished 77-85; 11.5 games out of first in the NL East.

However, as has been relayed ad nauseam already, this is not your average Mets — and Showalter isn’t letting his team come within 408 feet of the concept of complacency. 

“It’s going to be a dogfight until the end for sure,” slugging first baseman Pete Alonso said. “Every game matters, but we have the talent to be able to run away with it. We just need to hold on and hold on tightly and not let it go.”

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