The Mets might consider themselves fortunate after 147 games to still be in the WC race. But the wheel stops turning after this weekend.
The Mets and their fans will have plenty of times during the upcoming winter to look back at any number of games they should have won. An error here, a strikeout there, a blown save, misplay on the bases – all of it tied to woulda coulda shoulda and knowing the Mets played like overachievers most of the season.
The magic of baseball, though, is a six-month 162-game schedule that allows for a team like the 72-75 Mets to still be breathing air with fifteen games to go, and still with a chance to make the playoffs.
We can’t remember them but we know we’ve uttered or heard words like crucial, must-have, decisive, and necessary numerous times prior to a game the Mets were playing that night.
But now it’s real, and the Mets season is reduced to three games against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field this weekend.
The picture paints itself in the table below:
Mets: It’s Balls To The Wall – Or Nothing
Notice the emphasis I’ve placed on the loss column. Two of three against the Phillies means nothing, and only a sweep can satisfy the Mets’ need to make the climb up one step at a time. Reverse those numbers and the Mets season is over.
in yesterday’s column, we talked about the Mets deficiencies as a team offensively, indicating they’ve been consistent in all the wrong places.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi has manipulated his rotation so he leads off with Cy Young contender and former Met Zack Wheeler (doesn’t that hurt?) tomorrow night, followed by Aaron Nola Saturday, and Kyle Gibson for the ESPN finale Sunday night.
Mets manager Luis Rojas counters with Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco, and Rich Hill – not exactly what the Mets were counting on in April – Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and David Peterson, all of whom are sidelined with injuries or stilted rehabs.
Mets: It Has To Be The Offense
Ironically and assuming none of the team’s starters will have a shut-down game, it will be the same faltering Mets offense we’ve seen all year that will need to show up this weekend.
Against Wheeler, the Mets will need to play small-ball, seizing on each precious opportunity to score a run – any which way they can.
Brandon Nimmo returns to the team tomorrow, and he’ll need to add to his walk total, steal a base while providing an energy level unsurpassed by any teammate.
Pete Alonso will need to forget about the home run spree he was on ten days ago, aiming instead to drive balls into the gaps of cavernous Citi Field.
Javier Baez can’t strike out, Francisco Lindor must stay within himself, and Jeff McNeil needs to rediscover Jeff McNeil while Michael Conforto continues his last gasp show-and-tell performance for prospective team’s interest over the winter.
A Day To Think About It
With a day off today, the Mets have time to think and re-adjust their strategy as a team and individually. Pep talks are useless and should be unneeded.
Meanwhile, the Phillies conclude their homestand with a 6:05 PM ET start tonight against the Chicago Cubs. A small advantage for the Mets, but we’ll take anything we can get.
It’s a risky business for a team that was supposed to be challenging for a division title at this point in the season to rationalize, saying at least the Mets are one of the teams still in competition for the NL Playoffs.
That’s a discussion for fans only though, and for the Mets, in the dugout, the approach is still the same – run the table and see what happens…
Here’s What Readers Are Saying…
Paul Cariola The race between Kennedy and Diaz to blow saves. My money is on Kennedy
Dave Himes Put a fork in them. They’re done.
P. Stuart Cohen Cards have 17 games left. If they win about half – say – 9 and 8, Mets need to go 12 and 3 to tie. I don’t know if I would say that was “Still in the race.” Had they won Tuesday night (I was there), they would have been only 2 games out of WC, but now???
Michael Feldman Still in it? Oh please!
Milton Skoufis Even if they sweep the Phillies(I’ll wait for the laughter to stop)….it is still incumbent on the Cardinals to collapse at the same time(wait again for laughter to cease)…
Steve Zeem If they had taken 2 from the Cards as the braves lost. Yes, they would be in it.
Anthony Silecchio All I kept saying all year was “Don’t worry, they’ll turn it around.” They’ve turned it around alright… A 360 every time.. Right back to disappointing…
Guy Abell It was a good ride, all those days in first place, I knew it could not last–wait until next year.
Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts
This will close published comments as they are getting repetitive, indicating that this one is over – even if the fat lady has yet to sing.