Mets' playoff future may ride on NL East race
Clutching to postseason relevance as August rolls on, the Mets cap off their series against the Giants, who currently hold the top wild card spot, this afternoon. So far, with the exception of rookie starter Jacob deGrom, the Orange and Blue have not responded in the crucial four-game set, scoring just five runs in three games.
Where they stand
The Mets (53-58) are eight games back of the NL East-leading Nationals and 6.5 out of the second wild card. They have not been at .500 since May 13 and every push toward the coveted mark has ended with a retreat.
The remaining schedule
Any victory will suffice for the Mets, but wins against the better clubs are how they can make up the ground they need. Six teams are above the Amazin's in the wild card, and aside from today's matchup with San Francisco, the Mets play three of them in August and September: the Marlins, Braves and Reds. They face the pair of division foes six times each and Cincinnati three times. They also meet the Nationals 13 times between now and the postseason, including a three-game series beginning tomorrow. With 25 games against the current top three teams in the NL East, if the Mets get hot, they can forget the wild card and surge for the division instead.
Can they do it?
The Mets are ranked 21st in the major leagues in runs. Only five teams have left more runners in scoring position this season. The Amazin's have not lived up to their name since reaching the NLCS in 2006. But casual and die-hard fans alike witnessed an 8-2 homestand before the All-Star break and know that the pitching staff and bullpen boasts the majors' ninth-best ERA. Can they be an October contender again? Yes, but they will have to prove it against the division's best.