When the New York Mets take the field on Friday night to kick off a Fourth of July weekend series with the Texas Rangers, they will open up a ten-game homestand which will represent their last chance to turn things in the right direction before heading into the All-Star Break and the second half of the season. The Mets currently sit at 37-48, tied for fourth in the National League East and ten games out of first place after losing seven of their last eight games. The ballclub can still find themselves heading into the All-Star Break with an equal or better winning percentage than last year's club, who finished the first half 41-50 (.451)
The last time the Mets stood at .500 was Tuesday, May 13, when they were 19-19 and haven't been closer than one game under since. Compiling a record of 22-37 since May 1st, the ship has been taking on water fast and things hit a new low last week when David Wright was temporarily put out of action with a bruised rotator cuff. Wright looks like he'll be good to go Friday and it would serve the Mets well to find a place in the lineup for his stand-in, Eric Campbell, who hit .400 (10-for-25) in the six games that Wright was sidelined for.
The story of the year has been a lack of clutch hitting and inability to utilize homefield advantage. The Mets are just 10-20 in one-run games and have done only slightly better at Citi Field this season, going 17-21 (.447) while being outscored 136-127. Last year the club was brutal at home, going 33-48 (.407) while getting outscored 337-268 on the season. The fans should show up for a holiday weekend series, so there will be no excuses to to not put forth their best effort. Being that Texas is in town, the Mets will look to improve upon a 4-5 record in Interleague play this season, after series with the Yankees, A's and Angels. Last season, the Mets actually posted a winning record against AL teams, finishing 11-9.
After the Rangers series, the Mets will have no easy road into the break, as they host their NL East rival Atlanta Braves for four games followed by another division foe, the Miami Marlins for the final three games of the first half. The Mets have been dominated by the Braves, who have taken six of the first nine meetings between the two clubs, despite only outscoring the Mets 37-30. The series with Miami remains dead even at 5-5 with the Mets actually holding the advantage in runs 35-26. If the Mets are going to play any relevant baseball over the final three months of the season, they need to have a winning homestand and carry that momentum into the second half. Otherwise, it's a guarantee that the fans will look forward to seeing the team next April.
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