Buck Showalter
Tommy Gilligan | USA TODAY Sports

Houston was a problem for the Mets. But there is a solution available.

Put the two-game sweep by the Astros aside. And try not to fret about the four-game loss column lead over the Braves atop the National League East too much. The Mets have a golden opportunity in front of them to right the ship and regain a semblance of control in the division race.

But if they don’t capitalize with this upcoming 10-game stretch — one that is quite manageable, starting with a weekend series against the Rangers at home — it will be time to panic.

Work the schedule. The Mets are looking at 10 consecutive contests (seven at home) against teams with losing records. Three with the Rangers, four at the Reds, three with the Marlins at Citi Field. Cincinnati is the only complete pushover; the Rangers have hovered around .500 all year and will have ace Martin Perez in line to start Saturday. The Marlins are also plucky, but they’ve been abysmal on the road. And the Mets are 5-2 against them this season. Winning all three series should be expected. A 7-3 finish seems like the minimum.

Getting the rotation back. Jacob deGrom’s anticipated first rehab start could come this weekend. And Max Scherzer’s return is imminent after his two rehab starts. Who knows when deGrom will be back. But Scherzer’s presence will be a much-needed shot in the arm for a struggling staff.


Showdown in Atlanta: The easy stretch is the calm before the storm. The Mets will head play a critical three-game set at the Braves on July 11-13. The two rivals split a four-game set at Citi Field in May. But the Braves are playing like reigning world champions now.