After a strong July, the New York Mets found themselves on the fringe of the wild card race. The Mets had a golden opportunity to make up ground in the wild card chase when they hosted a four game weekend set against the wild card leaders, the San Francisco Giants. Although they played well in three out of the four games, the Mets went 1-3 in the series and let their chance slip through their fingers. Now, sitting at 53-59 entering tonight's game with the Washington Nationals, the Mets are at a point where the direction of the remainder of this season will be determined over the next 10 days.
The Mets play their next 10 games entirely in the division. The Mets play three on the road in Washington against the Nats, then four in Philadelphia against the last place Phillies before coming home for three more with the Nationals. The Mets have said repeatedly that they believe they are playoff contenders. This is their chance to prove it.
The Mets haven't seen the Nationals since May, and they haven't played well against them at all this year. The Mets are 1-5 against the Nats this season, who currently lead the National League East. The Mets trail the Nationals by eight games in the division, and any slim division hopes they maintain could vanish with a poor showing against their division foes.
The Mets also can't forget the four games against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets have beaten up on the Phillies this season, going 8-4 over their first 12 matchups. The Mets need another strong showing in Philadelphia over the weekend since they can't afford to give away too many games to teams that are worse than they are.
The Mets need to make a big push towards . 500 if they want to remain in the playoff chase, and to do that they will need to win every series over the next 10 days. Taking four of six from the Nationals and three of four from the Phillies would give the Mets a 7-3 mark over this stretch. That mark would boost their overall record to 60-62, just two games under .500 with a chance to get over the .500 mark with four games against the woeful Chicago Cubs at Citi Field looming.
Simply put, the Mets can't afford to simply keep treading water. If the Mets go 5-5 in this stretch, they would still be six games under .500 with only 40 games remaining. The Mets are simply running out of time and need to make a huge push if they want to make a run at the playoffs. A playoff run is unlikely, but not impossible. The Mets know this very well, as the 1973 squad was 12 games under .500 and 12 games out of a playoff spot 41 years ago today, and that group made it to the World Series. Those Mets went on a big run through October, and these Mets will have to start now if they want to have a similar fairy tale.
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