The New York Mets remain very much on the inside track to win their first National League East division title in seven seasons, and the way the Mets have played this year suggests just that. They enter today’s games just three games ahead of the Atlanta Braves with 40 games to go. So with more than three fourths of the season in the books, there are reasons to believe the Mets will hold off the Braves to win the division.
1) The Mets have an easy regular season schedule remaining
After the Subway Series this week, the Mets play just nine games against playoff contenders (three games each with the Dodgers, Brewers, and Braves).
The Mets play the other 28 against teams irrelevant in the playoff hunt. The breakdown is as follows: Seven games against the Pirates, six against the Nationals, five against the Marlins, four against the Rockies, and three each against the Cubs and A’s).
Meanwhile, the Braves still have 19 games left against contending teams, including a September West Coast trip that features the Mariners and Giants. They also have seven tilts remaining with the Phillies and three games against the Cardinals.
Give the Braves credit for dominating the National League since June 1 and for making this season’s division battle with the Mets a lot more interesting. After all, they’re the defending champions and credit is required when it is due.
But the Mets have held their own through difficult stretches in June and August, and instead decided to keep battling while playing excellent baseball. This stretch against weaker competition comes at a good time as they can then allow their key injured players, like Luis Guillorme and Carlos Carrasco to make a complete recovery in time for the playoffs.