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The Amazins in Astoria: Tough Times

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

September 6th-19th: Pain

I gotta be honest, guys. All season long, and pretty much all my Mets-watching life up to this point, I've tried so hard to avoid falling into the mindset of "Mets gonna Met." While bad luck has followed this team since their inception, the negative mindset that so many carry about this team too often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of misery, where even hot stretches and big wins are always followed by some sort of undermining analysis. Many times this year, they've been consistent enough for me to avoid it, but in this recent two-week stretch, I'm at a breaking point. How did we get here, what can be salvaged from this stretch, and what will the remaining schedule bring for an NL East race that's as tight as ever?

First off, like always, the Mets chance of winning the division seems to hinge on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Either the Mets need to beat them to clinch a spot and they play like an NL All-Star team, or they need the Bucs to beat someone else and they become my second grade little league team. In the past two weeks, the Mets' schedule has been bookended by the Pirates, and while they finished out the homestand strong, their series in Pittsburgh signaled the beginning of the end. Following a rain delay that saw no rain hit PNC Park, a sluggish Mets team began their series with a loss that could only be described as on par for the season; inconsistent offense, and unfortunately, injuries continuing to hinder this team's productivity. This time, it was Starling Marte suffering a broken finger after getting hit by a pitch at the plate. With the loss, as well as a Braves win against the Athletics, the division was now tied for the first time since April.

Now, with 26 games to go, a team already without any breathing room continues to get hammered by a late season injury bug. Despite taking the last two games against Pittsburgh, as well as two against Miami (briefly dropping the division lead Friday night before snagging it right back), there are still way too many questions regarding this team for me to sleep soundly at night; should we have stood still at deadline? Can I really have faith in Max Scherzer's consistency as he makes another AAA start? How long until I actually have to start focusing on the Jets? Throughout this entire questionable period, the NL East race is absolute mayhem, wiggling constantly between 1.5 and 0.5 games as the Mets get swept by the Cubs, the Braves drop 2 against the Giants, and both teams power themselves through another weekend against the Pirates and Phillies respectively. Now, as the Dodgers clinch the West, 100 wins, and likely the top NL seed, the last spot with a bye is left to the two East Coast scrubs for one to pummel it out of the other.

While finding a silver lining to this potential divisional collapse is tough, I think there are a few positive takeaways to these past two weeks. First, while I thought that the rosters were relatively locked at the beginning of the month, we've finally got a look at top prospect Mark Vientos at 3B. While it took him a while to get his first Major League hit, I expect at least a few solid moments from a guy looking to secure his spot at the top, something we've already seen from his Minor League teammate Brett Baty this year. Next, while guys keep heading to the IL, those returning look to be in top shape; Guillorme is back to makin Gold Glove plays at 2nd Base, Escobar's bat is the hottest it's been all season, and even Scherzer is set to return to the roster on Monday morning.

Finally, even with the division title still unclear, the Mets are one win away from clinching their first postseason appearance since 2016. While that first-round bye means more than it ever has, at this point, where you end is way more important than where you started.

Besides, any upcoming hijinks will just make the commemorative dvd that much better.

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