The answer to the former question may have to wait until the 162nd game of the season, given the division race the Amazins find themselves in with the Braves. But it is not too early to start sifting through the potential postseason matchups, be it the wild card round or the NLDS.
There is still a great deal up in the air. But the list of opening-round opponents is not terribly long. So let’s rank them in descending order of preference for the Mets.
Note: If the Mets win the NL East, they will almost assuredly be the 2-seed and face the winner of the 3/6 wild card round in the NLDS. If they are a wild card team, they figure to be the 4-seed, play the 5-seed and then get the Dodgers in the NLDS if they advance.
1-Phillies. Division games will always be a tough win in any postseason matchup, but the Mets have had the Phillies’ number all year. New York won the season series over Philadelphia, 14-5, which included three of the Mets best wins all season: The combined no-hitter, the seven-run comeback, and the Mark Canha go-ahead home run. While the Phillies have serious power in their lineup, they’ve already been shut out by the Mets four times this year. Facing DeGrom and Scherzer would not be an easy task for the Phillies at a packed Citi Field.
2-Brewers. The Mets have shown out against the Brew Crew this week, taking two of three over a desperate team. Their wins could keep Milwaukee out when all is said and done. The Brewers, while a solid team, have essentially a league-average pitching staff and boast no true threat at the plate. Christian Yelich is the closest they have to a star, but he’s far removed from his 2018 NL MVP season. As the Mets displayed on Tuesday as well, the Brewers bullpen can be very shaky, especially since trading away closer Josh Hader.
3-Padres. On paper, the Padres should be one of the best teams in baseball. The rotation is well positioned for a deep postseason run led by Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove. And of course, the lineup is headed by the dynamic duo of Juan Soto and Manny Machado. The all-star level talent on this roster is incredible. But that hasn’t always translated into wins in real games this year. Soto and Josh Ball, also acquired from Washington, haven’t shown the consistent power the Pads expected when they nabbed them at the deadline. The pitching has been very solid, but sometimes all these stars pooled together doesn’t exactly lead to as many wins as anticipated. San Diego should finish with just north of 90 wins, but even so, this team underachieved a bit in the regular season. They’ll be a tough out come October, but will all the pieces mesh together when it counts most?
4-Cardinals. The fact that Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, and Yadier Molina are STILL on the Cardinals 16 years after they defeated the Mets in the NLCS is insane. The Cardinals as a franchise are just never a good team to play in the postseason. Almost always, they find a way to win. And if the Cards come to Queens again, setting up an ’06 rematch? With the Hall of Fame trio all in their last year or two of their professional careers, destiny seems on STL’s side and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them win it all again. The Mets do NOT want to face this Cardinals team in the postseason this year, even if the Mets are clearly the better team in the standings.
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