Will the Atlanta Braves catch the New York Mets? Possibly. A hot June for them, an average month for us, and suddenly the National League East is a whole lot tighter.
The Mets saw the same thing happen last year but under far different circumstances. Last year’s National League East was much weaker in the first half of the year. Frankly, it wasn’t all that good in the second half either. The Braves just happened to have the most wins and got hot in the postseason.
The National League East isn’t a lock for New York to win. What does feel far more guaranteed is making it to the postseason. It’ll be hard not to with how many teams that make it.
The Mets are 1 of 8 teams hoping to take 7 National League playoff spots
The MLB playoff structure is different this year. There are plenty of changes but the most important is that unless you are one of the top two teams, you are playing in the first round. Everyone else gets a bye into the Divisional Series.
A bye in baseball isn’t always that great. After the long grind of a season, a few extra days will help a manager get his rotation set. It can work to a team’s disadvantage. Being able to skip a short series where anything can happen definitely has its own benefits. This is why winning the National League East and having at least the second best record among divisional victors matters for the Mets.
Let’s say that doesn’t happen. The Mets then have to settle for a wild card. Fortunately, unless they fall behind a lot of teams before the end of the year, they’re at least getting this opportunity.
Either the St. Louis Cardinals or Milwaukee Brewers will win the National League Central. In the National League West, it’s looking like the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Diego Padres take it. We can’t discount the San Francisco Giants making a run. They just happen to be third and feel a little more behind those two clubs.
In our National League East, the Mets, Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies are all competing. The Phillies feel like the Giants to our Dodgers-Padres with the Braves. Add all of these teams up, we have 8. The playoffs will consistent of three division winners, two or three runner-ups, and one or two clubs to finish in third place.
It’s a battle of sustainability. A couple of these teams definitely have the potential to fade away. The Phillies, the Giants, the Padres, and both NL Central clubs have faced some challenges this year in terms of health and overall performance.
Just being “good enough” to make the postseason isn’t on the Mets’ minds so failing to win the division would feel disappointing but it doesn’t have to be a crushing blow. The opportunity is right there for Buck Showalter’s team to earn their spot. It’ll take an absolute travesty of a finale for them to not get in. Please make sure the people who wrote the ending of both the original and the new Dexter stay far, far away.