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A deeper dive into the Mets’ 2021 schedule

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What will be the easy stretches and when will the Mets face a slog in 2021?

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

One thing that comes with baseball going back to “normal” is remembering that a full 162-game season is a marathon, not a sprint. No other sport recapitulates the cadence of a baseball season and all of its ebbs and flows. Chilly April nights give way to sunny May and June Sunday afternoons, which fold into the dog days of summer, which culminate with the crisp smell of changing leaves and the stretch run to the postseason. The Mets hope there will be meaningful baseball the whole way through. Let’s take a look at where the roughest patches of the Mets’ journey to snag a postseason berth might be and when they should take advantage of smoother sailing.

Below is an image of the full schedule, but I will break it down month by month. For each month, I calculated the Mets’ strength of schedule based on their opponents’ projected winning percentage according to Fangraphs. I tallied up the number of home games, the number of away games, the number of days off, and the longest stretch without an off day (within the month; some long stretches without off days span two months). I also indicated the longest trip the team will have to make each month (mileage is based on the distance between the two teams’ ballparks per Google Maps) and whether that trip comes with an off day for travel.

April

Strength of schedule: .486
Home games: 12
Away games: 13
Days off: 5
Longest stretch without an off day: 9 days
Longest trip: New York to Colorado (1,788.8 mi) - no travel day

April is the easiest month on the Mets’ schedule as far as their opposition and it is the fifth-easiest April schedule of any team in baseball. That is fortuitous for the Mets, who are currently missing Carlos Carrasco and Seth Lugo, both slated to return in May. If the Mets can take advantage early in the year, reinforcements will be in place to make them better equipped to handle the tougher months to come. The Mets play NL East opponents a lot in April, but notably they do not play the Braves at all. However, these early series against the Nationals, Phillies, and Marlins could be critical in building a little distance between the top teams and the middling teams in the NL East.

May

Strength of schedule: .497
Home games: 12
Away games: 16
Days off: 3
Longest stretch without an off day: 11 days
Longest trip: New York to Arizona (2,446.4 mi) - no travel day

May is another month that sees the Mets playing opposition that is under .500 on the whole and it includes series against the lowly Orioles and Rockies. However, May is also when the Mets see the Braves for the first time, both on the road and at home. And the last two weeks of May into June marks 17 days without an off day for the Mets—the longest stretch of the season—that culminates with a West Coast road trip without a travel day, or even an afternoon game on getaway day.

June

Strength of schedule: .520
Home games: 13
Away games: 13
Days off: 4
Longest stretch without an off day: 13 days
Longest trip: San Diego to Baltimore (2,626.8 mi) - travel day

June is the toughest month for the Mets as far as the strength of their opposition is concerned. They play two series against the Padres—the only National League team besides the Dodgers predicted to have a better record than the Mets in 2021. Those two series are broken up by another short series against the Orioles with two much-needed days off. Hopefully in addition to Lugo and Carrasco being back, the Mets will be bolstered by the return of Noah Syndergaard to carry them into the All-Star break and finish the first half strong.

July

Strength of schedule: .495
Home games: 16
Away games: 10
Days off: 5 (4 for the All-Star break and 1 other)
Longest stretch without an off day: 11 days
Longest trip: Atlanta to New York (873.3 mi) - no travel day

On either side of the All-Star break, the Mets have two consecutive series against the Pirates, who are projected to be the worst team in baseball. July is also the month in which the Mets have the most games at Citi Field and the fewest on the road. However, July also features two series against tough AL East opponents in the Yankees and Blue Jays, the latter of which is immediately followed by a four-game set against the Braves. This stretch that begins with the Blue Jays and Braves series is another stretch of 17 days without an off day; the Mets’ next off day doesn’t come until August 9.

August

Strength of schedule: .514
Home games: 14
Away games: 14
Days off: 3
Longest stretch without an off day: 13 days
Longest trip: New York to San Francisco (2,914.2 mi) - no travel day

August is the month in which the Mets will face off against the Dodgers twice in short succession—once at home and once on the road. For almost that reason alone, August is the Mets’ second-toughest month of the season. They also must depart for a West Coast road trip without a travel day, but this time (mercifully) their getaway day is an afternoon game.

September/October

Strength of schedule: .502
Home games: 14
Away games: 15
Days off: 4
Longest stretch without an off day: 15 days
Longest trip: Miami to New York (1,289.2 mi)

As usual, the final stretch of the season features a fair number of games against NL East opponents, but it is also when the Yankees come to Queens to face the Mets at Citi Field. Notably, the Mets finish the season in Atlanta and if things turn out like the projection systems predict, that last series could ultimately decide the NL East winner.