Mets get set to go for the finish line in the NL East with two games against the Marlins
The Mets enter play just one game ahead of the Braves for the lead in the NL East with eight games left on the regular season schedule
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
After a day off on Monday, the Mets open a brief two-game series against the Marlins tonight at Citi Field before their showdown with the Braves this weekend
The Mets begin play today having now played the same number of games as the Braves - they lead the National League East by one game over Atlanta with eighth games left on the schedule
Pete Alonso and Albert Pujols were named co-players of the week in the National League
The Pennant Race 🏁
The Mets have clinched at least the top Wild Card spot in the National League
NL East lead: 1️⃣ game
Magic Number to win NL East: 8️⃣
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣2️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 75.6 percent ⬇️
Clinch first-round bye in the playoffs: 75.6 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 17.1 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (97-57) vs. Marlins (63-90)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.79 ERA) vs. RHP Pablo López (9-10, 3.88 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Eight games left, and merely one which separates two rivals… 📝
So, the two off-days over the last five days have past, the Braves went 1-1 on those days while the Mets traveled and recharged, and the race for the division is right where anyone should have expected it to be, if not a little bit better than things could’ve been for the Mets thanks to the Braves slipping up a bit along the way.
The division could’ve very well been tied heading into play today without the Mets even getting off their sofas. But now both teams have played the same number of games with eighth games left, three of which will be against each other in Atlanta this coming weekend, or somewhere where the hurricane won’t be of any impact.
Two months ago, it seemed as though the Mets had created enough distance in the division to have some play at the end of the year when they won four of five games against Atlanta at Citi Field in convincing, albeit dramatic fashion. But a week later, the Mets lost three of four games in Atlanta and that gave the Braves the spark they needed to roar back and erase that six game deficit in what seemed like a blink of an eye. They’ve had several long winning streaks before and after that series at Citi Field so kudos to them for not laying down when the going got rough.
They also did a little bit better against the Mets during the softer part of the second half schedule which has bought them additional games in the standings, making this weekend series matter in ways it arguably shouldn’t have thanks to the Mets rough start to the month of September.
That’s a great team in Atlanta, and of course they are the reigning World Champion. It would be even sweeter if the Mets could emerge on top after 162 games given their schedule, the injuries to their rotation, and how amazingly well Atlanta has played since June.
The Mets are certainly ready from a pitching perspective for this weekend’s series against the Braves with Chris Bassitt, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom all throwing in this series, and have also ensured their three best pitchers will be available for a potential Wild Card Series next weekend in New York should they be unable to win the division.
But as I’ve said many times, the Mets simply have to win the division. After all, they’ve spent all but about 24 hours in first place since April 11 even through their team-wide slump in the early part of September. And if they win just one game against the Braves this weekend, it would decrease their magic number to clinch the National League East by three games, as they would then own the tie breaker having won the season series, thus narrowing the path for Atlanta to take the division even more.
The Mets have also excelled against teams over .500 this year, including the championship-caliber Braves in which they own a 9-7 record against. They’re 41-31 against teams at or over .500 this season, while the Braves are 33-34 (the Mets have had a more difficult schedule than the Braves as well). And the Braves are likely to be going at this series without Spencer Strider who is currently on the injured list with an oblique injury.
So, the Mets could have every necessary advantage in their favor to position themselves for a division title by the close of business Sunday. And if the series moves out of Atlanta due to the current forecast for the hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, that could only help them as well by taking a dominant Braves crowd out of the equation in what will unquestionably be the biggest three games of the season for the Mets.
But first up are the Marlins in New York, games once again the Mets simply have to win, especially with the Braves feasting off the Nationals over the next couple of days. If they take care of business and get a little lucky, maybe the Mets could have some extra padding going into their series with the Braves.
Time will tell. It’s go time for the Mets! This is what its all about and what they’ve been playing for all year.
The biggest prizes for October.
Down on the Farm 🌾
The Syracuse Mets were off on Monday, and the seasons for the other Mets minor league affiliates have ended
Around the League 🚩
The Braves pummeled the Nationals 8-0 in Washington on Monday on the strength of three home runs and a complete game, six hitter from Bryce Elder - they pulled to within one game of the Mets for the lead in the NL East
The Yankees celebration for clinching the American League East was put on hold with the Blue Jays overcoming a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in ten innings in Toronto, who now have a 6.5 lead overall in the Wild Card race with eight games left
The Orioles slim playoff hopes were kept alive last night thanks to a rain-soaked 14-8 win over the Red Sox at Fenway - they are 3.5 games behind the Mariners for the final wild card spot