The New York Mets looked dead in the water entering July. Coming off a lousy month of June, the Mets appeared to be on the verge of irrelevance before the All Star Break even hit. The Mets lost their first two games of the month to complete a three game sweep in Atlanta against the Braves, and a tough 10 game home stand looked like it could be the knockout blow for the Amazin's. The Mets responded, however, and ended up producing their best mark in July since 2008.
The Mets started a 10 game homestand on July 4th that saw them face the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins. A good home stand has been hard to come by for the Mets, who have struggled at Citi Field since it opened in 2009. Expectations were very low, but the Mets shocked their fans and the baseball world by going 8-2 on the home stand to wrap up the first half. The strong finish moved the Mets into third place and within five games of the .500 mark.
After the All Star Break, a lot was made of a 10 game road trip that would take the Mets to San Diego, Seattle, and Milwaukee. The Mets have finished the first half strong before and proceeded to wilt right out of the break far too often for their fans' liking. The same script seemed to be in order as the Mets dropped two out of three to the woeful Padres and lost the opener of their series with the Mariners. The Mets, however, responded to adversity by winning four of the final six games on the trip to salvage a .500 road trip. The Mets carried the momentum of that trip back home and kicked off a seven game home stand by taking two out of three against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets finished July with a 15-10 mark, their best July record since 2008. The Mets have a lot of people to credit for their strong July performance. Starting pitching was strong for the Mets as Zack Wheeler (2-0, 1.40 ERA) and Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.39 ERA) anchored a strong staff. The Mets' bullpen was also spectacular as Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 7 saves, 0.82 ERA) and Jeurys Familia (1-0, 0.00 ERA) locked down the late innings. The Mets also got strong contributions on offense from Lucas Duda (.286, 6 HR's, 16 RBI's), Travis d'Arnaud (.273, 3, 12), and David Wright (.266, 2, 11) helped boost an offense that has struggled for much of the season.
The Mets are now within striking distance of .500, and have a chance to go over the .500 mark for the first time since early May in August. The Mets will play a lot of division games in August, so any playoff dreams could be decided this month. The Mets finish out this homestand with four games against the San Francisco Giants, and then head out on the road for a divisional trip against the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets then come home again to face Washington and the Chicago Cubs, before heading out for their final West Coast swing of the season against first place clubs Oakland and Los Angeles. The Mets wrap up the month with another divisional home stand against the Atlanta Braves and Phillies.
The games against Washington and Atlanta will be key indicators of how far the Mets have come. The Nationals are the current division leaders, and the Mets and Nats haven't met since May. The Mets are only 1-5 against Washington so far this season, but the Mets are playing a lot better now than they were in May. If the Mets can finish at or above .500 by the end of August, the Mets could give their fans some September excitement for the first time in a long time.
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