Mets July Preview: The schedule moderates, but pivotal challenges await

New York Mets v Miami Marlins
New York Mets v Miami Marlins / Eric Espada/GettyImages

The New York Mets survived what we deemed a "schedule of death" in June, as they went 13-12 in their 25-game gauntlet last month. The Mets now have a record of 47-29, and remain in first place as a result of weathering their schedule. Safe to say we nailed that record prediction.

Now, a new month comes with new challenges. Starting tonight, the Mets play in 17 straight days leading into the All-Star break. But, it features matchups against weaker competition with the Rangers, Reds, and Cubs, so the strength of their schedule is different than it was in June. So the Mets have a real opportunity to expand their lead in the division once again with looming returns of their co-aces in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer.

They also have their share of challenges too, with matchups against contenders like the Braves, Padres, and Yankees on their gauntlet.

The Mets host the Rangers for three games to open the month, then have matchups with the Reds, Marlins, Braves, and Cubs to wrap up the first half in 17 straight days.

The Mets will host the Texas Rangers this weekend, as they are currently the team in 2nd place in the American League West. That team features a lot of speed and stars who have currently underperformed. Yet, they stand just four games out of a wild card spot in the American League and have been one of the better teams in the American League since the end of April.

The Cincinnati Reds have had a similar trajectory as the Rangers have. After a historically bad 3-22 start, the Reds have gone 23-25 since, but are likely to sell at the trade deadline, so this three game series coming up from Monday to Wednesday is a good chance for Mets scouts to look at some potential trade chips.

The Mets return home for a brief four-game homestand when they host the Miami Marlins again from July 7-10. If the seven meetings between the two teams in June taught us anything, it is that the Marlins are not a team to be taken lightly, but if they can weather their starting pitching, they can get to a beatable bullpen. The Mets are also retiring Keith Hernandez's No. 17 jersey on July 9.

Then, they head to Atlanta from July 11-13 for a key three-game set with the Braves at Truist Park. It is the Mets' first trip to Atlanta this season, and it is a team they've only seen for one series so far this season. The defending World Series champions recently had a 14-game winning streak, and are very much playing strong baseball with a solid all-around roster.

The Mets will close out the first half with a four-game series at Wrigley Field against the Cubs from July 14-17. The Cubs are a team that is all out of sorts with their pitching staff, and they are likely to move All-Star catcher Willson Contreras at the trade deadline.

The Mets' post-All Star Break schedule out of the gate is not easy, with matchups against the Padres, Yankees, and Marlins.

The Mets open the second half of the season against the San Diego Padres from July 22-24. It is a series guaranteed to display both some fireworks, as it'll feature an MVP showdown between Manny Machado and Pete Alonso, and national spotlight, as ESPN flexed the Mets-Padres game on July 24 to Sunday Night Baseball. The Padres took two of three from the Mets at Petco Park earlier this season, so the Mets will seek to return the favor at Citi Field.

The Mets then welcome the Yankees for the first leg of the Subway Series from July 26-27. This could very much also be a World Series preview as the Yankees have taken baseball by storm with their incredible pitching, defense, and timely hitting. This regular season series will be one of the most anticipated regular season meetings between the two teams ever.

The Mets round out their July schedule by making their second visit to Miami from July 29-31.

The Mets' schedule is a lot easier in July than it was in June, where the schedule was brutal throughout the whole month. Now, that July has an easier go for the Mets, this gives them an opportunity to return to playing at the exceptionally high level that carried the Mets to a division lead. The Mets realistically should go 16-9 in their 25-game docket, and set themselves up to potentially go for it at the deadline.

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