There are often two extremes to any situation. One side will tell you the Mets playoff hopes are over, while the other might say they live on until the Mets are mathematically eliminated or at least further than 7 out with 17 to play. Right now we’re bridging the gap between the two in a murky cloud where the Mets try to grasp at the last tendrils of hope before they flutter away.
53 games to play is a lot of games left in front of the Mets on the season. With that many games left the Mets are still chasing a number of wins more than a Wild Card leading team. After all, the team that’s leading today might not be the team that wins, meaning you’re not quite as far behind as it looks. It wouldn’t even take a collapse to drop the number needed to qualify for the postseason to 88 wins, just a less than awesome second half by a couple of teams. Currently the team occupying the low end of the playoff spectrum in the National League is the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 93 win pace, followed by the Cardinals with an 89 win pace. There isn’t enough hope to bet on, but perhaps there is just enough to fill a dream.
The Pirates have not had a winning record since 1992, as pretty much everyone is aware of these days. The Pirates have long been held up as the example of the team you’re supposed to beat on the schedule. The Pirates have not won a postseason series since 1979, which was before I was born. Is it impossible that a Pirates team that won less games than the Mets last year falters a little in the second half? Andrew McCutchen may be the best player in baseball this year, but can he sustain this incredible pace all the way to the end and if he doesn’t can the Pirates compensate for the drop in offense? Look at the Mets since David Wright stopped batting .350.
It’s worth taking a moment out from my point here to suggest you take the opportunity to watch McCutchen if you have a chance. He’s having an amazing year.
Even if 88 wins is the mark the Mets need to get to, they’d need to play to a 35-18 record the rest of the way. That’s quite a record, but it’s not an insurmountable one. It would require some very good baseball, quality baseball that the Mets have no sustained for that length of time all year, but it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world if it happened. The schedule works in their favor too, as they’ll be able to affect the wins and losses of some of the teams they’re chasing, including the Braves, Pirates, and Cardinals.
Time however, is not on the Mets side. If they’re going to make a run it has to be now. The last remnants of hope lurking in the recesses of the Mets season will be cleaned out and packed away for next year of the Mets don’t start a serious winning streak over the next week or two. Winning road trips or home stands are no longer enough. They need to win series and mix in a sweep or two. Until then, the Mets exist in this murky state where you know they can get back into the hunt but you can’t quite see the path they’d have to take to get there.