Unfortunately, the Mets' sweep in the N.L. Championship Series came at the worst time for the Cubs, who had swept all seven games between the two clubs during the regular season.
Of course, the Mets club the Cubs faced in October was far different than the one they played in May at Wrigley and in June at Citi Field.
The Mets' young pitchers, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, who the Cubs handled pretty well during the season, were dominant in the postseason. That's one of the biggest reasons the Mets should be a strong contender again this year.
But perhaps the biggest difference was the presence of Yoenis Cespedes, who played well enough in just 57 Mets games to get a significant number of downballot MVP votes. Cespedes returns to the Mets for at least one more year (he signed a three-year deal with an opt-out) and had his best overall season (6.3 combined bWAR between the Mets and Tigers).
David Wright, who missed most of the 2015 regular season, returned to have a strong postseason and is the undisputed leader of this team.
The Mets will have two new position players: Asdrubal Cabrera at shortstop and former Pirate Neil Walker at second base. They are ably backed up by Wilmer Flores (who could start for most teams) and Ruben Tejada. Lucas Duda, who had a fine 2015 season, continues at first base.
The Mets' outfield defense? Uh... I dunno, but I don't think Cespedes is really a center fielder. He has to play there to get Michael Conforto's bat in the lineup, since Conforto plays only left field. Curtis Granderson doesn't have the range he once did in right. The Mets do have a solid defensive outfielder in Juan Lagares, who'll get a lot of playing time.
You no doubt have heard about the lifetime suspension of Jenrry Mejia, who was supposed to contribute to this Mets pen. They'll be OK without him, as Jeurys Familia became a very good closer in 2015 and the Mets added Antonio Bastardo to a solid setup corps anchored by Addison Reed.
And though I am pro-DH, as you know, I admit it's always fun to watch Bartolo Colon bat. Here, he actually hits a double:
Never mind that hit probably would have been an inside-the-park home run for anyone else. It was his second career double; overall he's a .093/.100/.102 hitter (20-for-216) with nine RBI. (For comparison, that's far better than Jon Lester's .041/.078/.041).
The Cubs and Mets will play a four-game series in New York from June 30 through July 3 and a three-game series at Wrigley July 18-19-20. If the Cubs lose a game or two to the Mets during the regular season it's OK, as long as that would lead to beating them in the playoffs.