Since the All-Star Break, the Mets have been in a win one, lose one pattern, just treading water.
That’s not going to get them anywhere in what is now a five-team wild card race.
They need to start winning series fast, and turning six games over .500 into ten over, then 15 over, and eventually to the 20+ over .500 that they would need to return to the postseason.
The Mets started what should be a favorable portion of their schedule on Thursday afternoon with a dispiriting 2-1 loss to the Rockies, in which Jeurys Familia blew his second straight save opportunity in as many days.
Jacob de Grom had a nice rebound outing, as he shut out the powerful Rockies lineup for seven innings, scattering just five hits and a walk, and striking out six.
The only offense for the Mets came from catcher Rene Rivera, who had an RBI double in the second inning, another double to lead off the fifth and a single to start the seventh.
The Mets wound up loading the bases with none out in the seventh and got nothing to show for it, as Kelly Johnson hit into a force out, Curtis Granderson struck out, and Wilmer Flores popped out to center field.
“To be honest, we could have blown that game open by some ground balls, and haven’t been able to do it,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of his team, which left nine runners on base. “That’s what it comes down to. Our pitchers have lived on the edge, that’s hard to do.”
This four-game series with Colorado can give them the momentum they have been waiting for, and it’s also an exciting time for the franchise with Mike Piazza’s number being retired Saturday night.
Crunch time is here, and the Mets have to show some resiliency by winning at least two of the next three, if not all of them.
The Subway Series comes around on Monday, coincidentally the same day as the trade deadline. They host the Yankees for two at Citi Field, followed by two in the Bronx.
The Yankees are starting to get it going, but it is not unreasonable to think the Mets could take three of four, figuring one of two at Citi and win both at Yankee Stadium, where their bats always come alive.
The Mets follow that up with a weekend series at another American League park, as they travel to Detroit for three with the Tigers.
Detroit is 54-48, and just swept the Red Sox at Fenway, but they are not as strong as in other years. They have about the same record as they did at this time a year ago when they traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, so the possibility they could be sellers is realisitc.
If the Mets are to show they’re a contender, winning two of three here will go a long way to that.
Detroit hasn’t been kind to them going back their first series in 1997, when a pretty good Mets team was swept by a weak Tigers team, so beware of those demons.
After a day off, the Mets begin a nine-game stretch which they conceivably could run the table on.
They host Arizona for three from starting Tuesday August 9, followed by three with San Diego, which will be notable for Pride Night and the Stix concert on Saturday the 13th.
The stretch concludes with three in Arizona, where the Mets have always hit well.
If they follow the way mapped out here, the best-case scenario is they could go 17-3 over these 20 games. That would give them a record of 70-50 heading into their four-game showdown with the Giants in San Francisco starting August 18.
Beware that this is a Mets team that plays up and down to their opponents.
The same team that got swept by Atlanta in June at Citi Field, and scored just four runs in three games, ran out the Cubs two weeks later, and put up 32 runs in the four-game sweep against a vaunted pitching staff.
The fact that the Mets have won two series out of the break, in Philadelphia and Miami, is an encouraging sign, as the former was a series they were supposed to win and the latter was against a team in the midst of the wild card race.
The Mets have to step it up in August, just as they did last season, or a return to October becomes less likely.