The Mets can forget about the NL East standings but a wild card spot is within reach

St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets
St. Louis Cardinals v New York Mets / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

The New York Mets have shown signs of life in their last few games with two straight wins heading into Saturday. As they’ve pulled themselves together for a pair of evenings, they haven’t been able to make much headway in the NL East standings whatsoever.

Now trailing the Atlanta Braves by 10.5 games, we can pretty much forget all about winning the division. Mathematically possible yet logically flawed, this is a wild card or nothing season for the Mets already.

As for the wild card, that’s a playoff position we’ll need to see a few more teams drop out of before having much more confidence in the Mets.

The NY Mets are dead in the NL East standings but not at all in the wild card

The NL East has bigger threats than the Braves. The Miami Marlins are ahead of the Mets and as much as we should prepare to see them falter, the positioning shows they won’t lie down for anyone. The Philadelphia Phillies have all of a sudden gotten hot, too. They’ve played some weaker opponents but also good ones like the Arizona Diamondbacks they were able to defeat. Unfortunately, the weakest part of the Mets schedule is over and they failed pretty massively.

Jumping the Marlins and Phillies is possible. The slightly easier one would be to make up the 4 games they’re behind the San Francisco Giants for the final wild card spot.

Yes, the buried Mets are only 4 games out of a playoff position. The 37-32 Giants hold it with the Phillies trailing by 1.5. Behind them and ahead of the Mets are the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at 2.5 games behind San Francisco. Finally, there are the Mets and San Diego Padres with identical 33-36 records. A battle of disappointing teams with high payrolls, it could be a matter of the baseball gods deciding how many feel-good come-from-behind stories they’re willing to let us have this year.

It definitely doesn’t help the Mets at all to see the Braves and Phillies with four straight wins and 8 in their last 10. The Giants and Reds have even won 5 and 6 games consecutively, respectively.

Meaningless in one sense yet important to recall to keep our hearts in it, the 2019 Washington Nationals, 2021 Atlanta Braves, and 2022 Philadelphia Phillies all turned their seasons around following a slow start. The first two would go on to win the World Series with the Phillies coming up short in 2022.

What kind of season will the Mets have? The Marlins aren’t as good as their record says and we know how easy it is for the Phillies to stumble and go cold. The immovable Braves have room to go on a slump with their National League-best 44-26 record. And with a division lead of 5 games, only one less than the Tampa Bay Rays over the Baltimore Orioles, they’ll need a long one for the NL East standings to look any different at the top.