If it seems strange to talk about a team that is only one game over .500 at this point in the season as a legitimate playoff team. It probably seems even crazier to suggest that a team currently in fourth place within their division could be a postseason team.
But that is exactly what the New York Mets are—a potential playoff team.
They have been playing better since the end of June. Since July 1 and heading into Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins, the Mets have gone 19-9. With wins in both ends of Monday’s doubleheader against the Marlins, the Mets have won 11 of their last 12 to improve to 57-56 on the season.
While they are still 8.5 games back of the division-leading Atlanta Braves, they are only 2.5 games back of the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Wild Card race.
So—think they can do it? Can they keep playing as well as they have been and make a legitimate run at a wild card berth? For those that feel strong enough about it, either way, FanDuel is offering odds on who will win the NL Wild Cards this year:
- Washington Nationals -140
- St. Louis Cardinals +200
- New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies +220
- Milwaukee Brewers +260
- Chicago Cubs +600
- Atlanta Braves +950
- Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants +1200
- San Diego Padres +2100
- Cincinnati Reds +3100
- Colorado Rockies +3700
- Pittsburgh Pirates +4900
- Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins +10000
It is not unheard of for a team to use the All-Star break as a chance for a fresh start, and the Mets appear to be doing just that. Since the Break, they have the best record in baseball having gone 17-6. To be fair, they have not been playing very tough competition. But they can’t be faulted for playing the schedule they have been given.
But as the schedule gets more challenging in the days and weeks ahead, fans have to be wondering if they can keep it up.
“We still have a long, long way to go, but it’s fun,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told the media after his team beat the Marlins twice Monday. “The fans are absolutely amazing out there, and hopefully we’ll be selling out every game for the next two months and do something special.”
It has been a couple of years since the Mets have made the postseason (lost the wild card game to the Giants in ’16; played in World Series the year before). But after two straight losing seasons, can they get back over the hump this season?
Sure—if a few things continue to go their way.
First, they will need to keep winning while the Phillies, Cardinals, and Brewers lose a few games. If they are going to keep winning, they will need the pitching staff to keep up the good work of late. Since the All-Star break, they lead the NL in ERA at 2.92. The starting rotation has been doing even better (2.76).
On the offensive end, they are not doing bad; they currently rank third in runs scored since the Break with 122. But to better their chances of winning one of the wild card slots, they need Pete Alonso to wake back up. Since the Home Run Derby, the hard-hitting rookie has struggled, hitting just .175 with five home runs and striking out 33 times (in 80 at-bats).