buck showalter mets
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Mets played the Astros in Houston, the teams could not have been farther apart.

It was September 2017. Terry Collins was in his final weeks as manager while the Mets limped to a 70-92 finish. And the Astros were about to win their first World Series title — albeit by dubious methods.

This will be a bit different. The Mets arrive with the best record in the National League, and this is their first interleague matchup with an actual American League contender. While it’s just June, this quick two-game set will come with an October air to it.

The Yankees are clearly the best team in baseball after reaching 50 wins on Monday. But after them, the Mets and Astros hold the next two best records. And while the Yankees will certainly be the frontrunners to win their first AL pennant since 2009, the Astros have something this current Yankees team lacks: World Series experience.

The Astros have appeared in the World Series three times over the past five seasons. Many of their current players played a part in all three pennant wins.

The Mets have rolled through the NL so far with few hiccups. But this will be a real test. It will be no easy feat for a team already down their two aces, but that hasn’t seemed to stop the Mets yet. Against the mighty Dodgers – in Los Angeles, no less – the Mets split a four-game set after dropping the first two. The Mets also recently took two of three from a first-place Brewers club.

No matter what happens in Houston this week, here are a couple of facts: the Astros have been among baseball’s elite for over half a decade. And the Mets can now join the club of baseball elite as well.