The NL East race has been in the Mets‘ favor all season – until it wasn’t.
After the Braves jumped into first place for a brief moment over the weekend, the Mets took control again, winning two of three games in Miami. More than just the past few days, the past few months have taught us that this division may very well not be decided until Game 162. Here’s what the Mets must do to capture their first division crown since 2015.
Consistent offense. One of the most pressing issues during the Mets recent losses to teams like the Nationals and Pirates was a complete lack of offensive production. While the stars like Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor were not showing up, the “other guys” had disappeared even more noticeably. In a small sample size since then, we’ve seen guys such as Eduardo Escobar and James McCann come up huge, with catcher Tomás Nido even adding his first homer of the year as well. For as much as the Mets will need their heavy bats to do damage, the bottom of the order will be just as important to pile up victories this month.
Bullpen reinforcements. Aside from Edwin Díaz, the Mets bullpen has struggled throughout most of this season when most needed. Having to rely on inexperienced arms in close, late game situation has been a primary reason for the Mets losing a number of winnable games over the second half of the schedule. Soon, the Mets should get proven arms back into their bullpen, including Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, and Joey Lucchesi.
Beating the Braves. For as “easy” of a schedule as the Mets have until the postseason begins, they have one World Series contender still on their calendar. The Mets head to Atlanta to face the Braves in a three-game series the first days of October, each teams’ penultimate series of the series. That matchup may decide the division. The Mets can hope all they want for the Braves to lose games over the next few weeks, but in this case, destiny will be in their own hands.
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