(Corey Sipkin/New York Post)
Even after 20+ years of suffering through New York Mets baseball, I’ll be the first to admit that I am about as level headed as it gets when it comes to my sports fandom. No matter the team, no matter the circumstance, I always try to keep it positive and believe in our guys.
That being said, I am starting to worry a little. With last night’s 4-2 loss against the New York Yankees, the Mets’ second loss in a row to their cross-town rivals to put the final season series at 2 games a piece, the Metropolitans saw their division lead shrink to 2 games. While the Mets were squaring off against a Yankees team that looks to have finally found their bearings after an abysmal second half of the season, the Atlanta Braves were blessed with the chance to play the… Pittsburgh Pirates?
I’m not one to make excuses for why my team’s aren’t doing so well, and I’ve certainly never used a schedule as an excuse either. You’re only as good as the teams you play throughout the season. It was just bad luck that the Mets ran into the Yankees while the Braves ran into the Pirates. With the Braves having been breathing down the neck of the Mets for the division lead for quite some time now, bad luck can’t be on the docket for New York.
After a long road trip for the Mets that saw them go 4-6 against the likes of the Braves, Phillies and Yankees, they’re finally receiving a day off today after having played a grueling 12 games in a row.
Getting to the topic at hand: I’m not sure if it’s time to go into full blown panic mode just yet. The Mets head into this weekend facing off against the Colorado Rockies in a 4-game set, a much welcomed change of pace from having the play Atlanta and the Yankees. Now begs the question: is it absolutely imperative that the Mets sweep these four games from Colorado? Much easier said than done. Even the worst teams in the league have a good shot at taking at least one game in a series. Usually, I’d say no, three out of four would be just fine. However, with the Los Angeles Dodgers coming into town next weekend, the Mets need to beat up on the Rockies as best they can and try to get this division lead back to at least a semi-comfortable 4 games.
It’s not like the Braves have it much easier than the Mets, however. While the Mets square off against the Rockies Thursday-Sunday at home, the Braves will be in St. Louis taking on the Cardinals in a 3-game set. This series against Colorado is going to be the best chance the Mets have at regaining a comfortable lead in the division as they head into a series against Los Angeles.
If the Mets can keep somehow maintain the division lead following next week’s set against the Dodgers, I think it’ll be safe to say that Mets fans can breath easy, as the Metropolitans have a laughably easy September schedule. Aside from a September 30th-October 2nd series against Atlanta (which will be must see TV by the way) the Mets September schedule is:
3 games vs. Washington Nationals
3 games @ Pittsburgh Pirates
3 games @ Miami Marlins
3 games vs. Chicago Cubs
3 games vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
3 games @ Milwaukee Brewers
3 games @ Oakland Athletics
2 games vs. Miami Marlins
Aside from that one three-game series against Milwaukee (which I still don’t think will be all that hard for the Mets to win) New York is pretty much facing the bottom feeders of the NL and AL to close out the 2022 regular season.
As I mentioned above, I truly think a day off will help put the boys back on track, as they seemed to be running on fumes toward the end of their 12-game stint.
From this time until the end of the season, every single game matters for both the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves. If you’re a fan of either team, and you thought winning this division would be a piece of cake, you were dead wrong from the start. We are in the midsts of a true pennant race in the NL East. You won’t want to miss it. This is what baseball is all about.
Let’s go Mets!