The New York Mets have already won their first postseason berth since 2016, but they want to avoid the NL Wild Card Series at all costs.
Unfortunately for them, they don’t do themselves much favor. After Saturday-evening’s 4-2 loss against the Atlanta Braves, the Mets now follow the defending World Series champions with a game in the National League East with four games to go.
The two teams close the series on Sunday, but the winner also takes the tiebreak in the mutual season series. This means that if the Braves win on Sunday, their magic number to reach the division will go to one. If the Mets win, New York’s magic number would be three, while Atlanta’s would be four.
Right now, the Mets still hold their own destiny, but if they lose tomorrow, they’ll have to win, and the Braves will have to lose before the Mets win the division.
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The Mets led the division by 10.5 games back on June 1. From that date to September 2, the Mets went an astonishing 53-31… but the Braves went an almost unheard of 60-24. When the Mets won a six-game run from September 15 to 20, so did the Braves, giving it a one-game lead for New York.
The Mets had one of the easiest remaining schedules in September, playing against the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals. But in 18 games against those teams this month, they only went 10-8 and 6-6 at Citi Field. A team that entered the month of September with a win rate of 0.634 simply did not take advantage of such a gift.
Much has been made of Atlanta – early signs showed a World Series hangover, as they kicked off the 23-27 season. But they are 76-32 in their last 108 games – that’s a 0.704 win rate, which at a pace of 162 games equates to 114 wins.
METS BREAKING OBSCURE MLB RECORD AFTER THREE PITCHES TO BE SUCCESSFULLY SUCCESSFUL WEDNESDAY
In that period (coming in on Saturday), their starters have an ERA of 3.35, the third lowest figure in baseball. Their bullpen? Even better – 2.84, the second best. They also have the most runs scored in the league since June 1, tied for most home runs, and had the second-highest OPS.
They also haven’t had a sacrifice bunt all year – take that, old school baseball.
Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer got the Friday and Saturday night starts, but neither were their vintage selves. DeGrom allowed at least three runs for a fourth consecutive start, which is not acceptable by his standards, before leaving Friday with a blister. Scherzer, who was money and a real stopper all season, gave up four runs in 5.2 innings on Saturday.
At the same time, the Mets bats have grown cold. They scored just two points in each game in what was their biggest run in years.
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At 98-60, The Mets have their most wins in a season since they won 97 in 2006. It’s hard to say the regular season wasn’t a success, no matter what happens in the final home stretch.
But they would probably have to get past the star-studded San Diego Padres to probably meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS if they settle for the Wild Card. Winning the division would force them to avoid the 109-win Dodgers to the NLCS.
What was once a dream scenario for Met fans they’ve been looking for now suddenly brings back all the bad memories.
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