Rushing: Weak Opposition For Wild Card is Mets’ Last Ace To Play

The New York Mets sure don’t make it easy for themselves. It seems as if this team’s counted out of the playoff race at least once a week.

Just when you thought it was safe to count the Mets out, they find a way to make the most of the hand they’re dealt.

When it comes to this season’s decision-making, Mets manager Terry Collins has given fans fair reason to question if he’s still the right man for the job. The same, however, can’t be said about the team’s will to get keep playing no matter how awful the hands they’ve been dealt in 2016.

The Mets, in the midst of a season-defining road trip and a wounded pitching staff, arguably displayed their most resilient performance of the season with a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday night at Busch Stadium.

The win for the Mets moved them within three and a half games of St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot. That’s right, the Mets are still in the playoff race and very much alive. Again.

Losing streaks, inconsistent hitting, and injuries to key players have methodically stopped any momentum the Mets have attempted to build this year. What hasn’t changed much, however, is the amount of distance in the wild card standings.

They’re three to four teams the Mets have to find a way to leapfrog. It can no longer be ignored that the Cardinals, Marlins, and Pirates have failed to create any separation from New York.

Pitching ace Matt Harvey, along with Zach Wheeler, is lost until 2017. Steven Matz, and his ailing left shoulder, remain a question mark on the disabled list. Jon Niese, and his balky knee, just joined Matz on the sidelines.

The Mets, despite having to band-aid up their roster all year, have managed to stay within at least five games of their opposition for much of the dog days of summer.

Kudos to the Mets but let’s also not lose sight of the company they’re currently keeping.

The Pirates have been streaky, the Cardinals and Marlins are also overcoming injuries to key players. The job these three teams have done to stay afloat in the playoff race is admirable, however they’re vulnerable and can be overtaken if the right team gets hot down the stretch.

That team could very well be the Mets if the cards are dealt in their favor.

Pitching will still be key for the Mets, despite the reality of not having a certified ace in their hand for the stretch run. They’ll need Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to be their anchors.

This is also a team which is beginning to show they can put runs on the scoreboard again.

Jose Reyes and Yoenis Cespedes have returned from the injured list to re-energize the lineup. Neil Walker, and his hot bat, will also return from the paternity list. Maybe even Jay Bruce finds a way to turn his struggles around.

The Mets have two more games in St. Louis before heading home, if they can at least take two of three from the Cardinals it will set the stage for an exciting start to the September playoff-push.

If the last few weeks have been any indication, the Mets still have just as good a chance of securing a wild card as any of their opposition.


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