The New York Mets have an uphill climb if they want to make the playoffs this year. They’ve been playing better as of late, but still have to overcome a rough June, which included a 3-11 stretch early in the month.
They improved to 15-10 in July, their best monthly record since they went 15-11 in March/April. Their overall record stands at 52-57. They have 29 games to play in August. Assuming they finish five games over .500, as they did in July, their record on the season would be 69-69. Assuming they play the same way in September, and once again finish five games over .500 for the month, their final record will be 84-79. This would keep the Mets short of the 88 win mark, which most project will be needed to make the playoffs.
Adding to the difficulty, the Mets need a lot of teams to collapse. In the National League East, the Mets trail the Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins. The Mets need these teams to suffer some losing streaks. The first-place Nationals are getting healthier, but this is where the Mets have a chance to help themselves.
The Mets have 13 games remaining against Washington, and they currently trail the Nats by seven games. So, the Mets have some of their future in their hands. If New York can win the great majority of games against the Nats, then their chances look a lot better. If they can’t beat the Nats, then their chances of winning the division decrease from slim to none.
In the Wild Card race, the Mets are six games out, but have six teams in front of them. Of those, the Cincinnati Reds have struggled lately, and the Marlins have been playing over their heads without ace right-hander, Jose Fernandez. The Braves are teetering and having trouble finding consistency. The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have each had their struggles recently, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are red hot. The Mets need four of these teams to continue to slide, and the Mets have to play exceptional baseball if they want to get in the playoffs as a Wild Card.
If September comes around, and the Mets are too far gone, one thing they shouldn’t do is quit. They should concentrate on trying to finish above .500. Meaningless, you say? Not for a team that has finished under .500 in each of the last five seasons. Yes, psychology does play a role, even if it’s a small one, in baseball. Finishing above .500 on the year would boost the morale of the fanbase and make the team feel like they’re moving in the right direction. The playoffs may be a longshot, but finishing over .500 is not.