Mets vs. Braves: Important, but not THAT Important

Huge three game series for the Mets coming up here, but most of it’s about perception and confidence.  No three games in July ever decide anything, but winning and losing this series is the difference between being within striking distance of the division lead going into the break, and being clearly the second-best team.

If the Mets win this series they will be respected throughout the league as contenders.  They’ll be brought up in all trade talks for big acquisitions.  When analysts adjust their season predictions, the Mets will make it onto a lot of their lists.  David Wright will again be recognized as one of the best players in the game, people will stop taking as many pot shots at the Mets, their minor league system, their medical staff and their decision making.

If they lose and fall four or more games back from the division lead things won’t be as rosy during the break.  Analysts will find a way to justify their decision in the winter that the Mets have too many holes to make the playoffs.  They’ll talk up Bobby Cox, they’ll talk about the Phillies having a good second half.  Jose Reyes will be described as injury prone.  Carlos Beltran will be portrayed as an 80 year old grandma that can’t walk, much less play CF.  They’ll question Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya and their ability to do their job.

All off the results of one series.  If a sweep happens either way, the reactions will be even more extreme.

The series is really not that big a deal.  It’s an important series to try to win and not let the Braves get too far ahead, but even if they’re four games out going into the break, that’s hardly insurmountable given how many games they still play against each other.    Still, it’s a chance for the Mets to put the first half to rest on a positive note, take a deep breath, and soar into the second half with the addition of Carlos Beltran.

If you’re headed out to Citi Field for any of these games, the Mets are having a fan appreciation weekend.  They’re doing a lot of seat upgrades, signed giveaways, and handing out gift cards.  On Sunday 25 lucky fans will receive game-worn jerseys.  Enjoy!

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