The word “consistent” gets thrown around way too often in baseball discussions, almost always as a stand in for “good.” Instead of saying a player is average or something less, we say, “he just needs to be more consistent.”
There’s enough random fluctuation in baseball that total scrubs can perform like Hall of Famers for a week. We’ve seen it countless times. And so then people say, “oh, if Jeff Francoeur could consistently hit like he did in April, he’d be an All-Star,” even though Jeff Francoeur is, in truth, about as consistent as the sun. He’s just not consistently good.
These Mets, you’ll read, are inconsistent. I mean hell, they haven’t hit in weeks. And if it isn’t one thing, it’s the other. When the pitching’s good, they don’t hit. When the hitting’s good, the bullpen melts down. When the bullpen holds it together, the defense lapses.
But I wonder if this is an instance of inconsistency or merely the way a consistently .500 ballclub appears when viewed under the microscope over the 162-game season. Sure, there have been ups and downs, hot streaks and rough stretches. More than there would be if I flipped a coin 117 times? I don’t know. I tend to doubt it.
And are these Mets not consistent with what we expected before the season? Maybe some of the individual performances aren’t, but few reasonable observers expected much more than a .500 season out of the team as a whole. I guessed 84 wins. By their Pythagorean winning percentage — based on runs scored and runs allowed — they’re on pace for 83. By their actual winning percentage they’re on pace for 80.