Wasn’t it just a few weekends ago that the Mets swept the Nationals at Citi Field and moved into a tie for First Place in the National League East?
A pivotal 3-game series begins on Labor Day in the Nation’s Capitol, but what will we do until then?
Both teams have a lot of games against the bottom feeders of the National League between now and then, with the Mets mostly on the road (10 of 16) while the Nationals mostly at home (13 of 16). Can they stay focused on the task at hand – winning as many as possible – without sneaking a peak ahead?
Although the Mets have been abysmal on the road (22-35), can you believe how the schedule shakes out for The Amazin’s? 13 of the next 16 are against last place teams. And the other three games are against the almost-but-thanks-to-the-Phillies-not-in-last-place Marlins.
- 3 games at Colorado (49-70)
- 4 games in Philadelphia (47-74)
- 3 against the Red Sox at Citi Field (55-66)
- 3 more with the Phillies at Citi Field
- 3 games in Miami (50-71)
I’ll do the math for you – these four teams have a combined 201-281, 80 games under .500, just .417 winning percentage.
What about the Nats? They are playing a lot of bad teams also, but have the mediocre Padres and the All-World Cardinals coming up. They start a nine-game home stand this weekend
- 3 games with Milwaukee (52-70)
- 3 games with San Diego (59-62)
- 3 games with Miami (50-71)
- 3 games on the road in St. Louis (77-43)
- 4 games back home with Atlanta (53-68)
Not as impressive as the motley crew the Mets are up against, but not bad. Their five opponents are 291-314, a winning percentage of .480.
The Mets have a 4-game lead over the Nationals starting play this weekend, and as we have seen first hand, things change in a very short period of time. The Mets went from 3.5 games behind to 3.5 games ahead of the Nationals in a 10 game swing. The Yankees went from 4.5 games up; to a half game back; to two games up again over the Blue Jays in just two weeks.
The Mets, who have lost four of their last five because their bullpen couldn’t keep things together, may get David Wright back on Monday for the Phillies series. The Nats, who were listed with a 94.5% chance to make the playoffs in March, have gotten almost all of their players back from the disabled list and are primed to make a run.
Can the Mets get their bullpen in order, get some more productive AB’s from their hitters and survive skipping starts by Matt Harvey and/or Noah Syndergaard? Can the Nats get back to where they think they should be and dominate the last 40 games and save their season? Only one of these teams makes the playoffs and that’s the team that wins the NL East.
Three games on Labor Day weekend and then they don’t meet again until the final three games of the regular season, at Citi Field. Can’t you see the full house at National’s Park, the overflowing red in the stands and the bright sun of the 1:05 start? One last BBQ for the summer of 2015. Hot dogs, hamburgers, beer and apple pie as Harvey and Scherzer get ready to battle for First Place.
The Mets battling for First Place – who would’ve thought it?
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know that these 16 games will go a long way to determining who is at the front of the line for that series on Labor Day. What are we going to do until then?