The Mets catch a small break in the NL Wild Card standings thanks to the Marlins

New York Mets v San Diego Padres
New York Mets v San Diego Padres / Denis Poroy/GettyImages

It’s about maintenance right now rather than bulking for the New York Mets in the National League Wild Card standings. They’ve been winning a lot but so have the Philadelphia Phillies who hold the third Wild Card in their possession. Despite all of the winning, the Mets remain 6.5 games back.

They did catch a small break, though. The Miami Marlins demoted star rookie pitcher Eury Perez on Friday to help limit his innings. Through 11 starts, the 20-year-old sensation is 5-3 with a 2.36 ERA.

Innings limits are nothing new for playoff contenders. Stephen Strasburg and Matt Harvey were two of the earliest young studs forced to watch their innings. Each suffered injuries anyway when the team may have pushed them a little harder in the playoffs.

The NY Mets can take advantage of a Marlins team not quite ready to compete

Although it’s the Phillies the Mets need to catch first at the moment, the Marlins are the holders of the number two Wild Card seed by one percentage point lower than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maybe even more unexpected than how poorly the Mets have played is how well the Marlins have done. At 51-39, their record trounces the 42-46 Mets for now.

The demotion of one pitcher wouldn’t logically tank a season. However, the quality of the Marlins’ pitching staff has been somewhat overblown this season. With reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara looking more human, they’ve had to rely on Perez and others to keep them afloat.

The Marlins are 24th in runs scored and they’ve allowed the 14th fewest runs in baseball. The law of averages could rank them somewhere around 19th in MLB which seems much fairer than to slap the playoff label on them.

Since the Mets last played the Marlins in the early part of the year, things have changed. They’re not a completely inept offense. The bullpen is something Mets fans would envy. The Perez demotion, while wise for the future, could still have a negative impact on the club’s performance even if everyone is in agreement that it’s for the best.

There’s nothing wrong with it other than how cheap it feels to have your team play so well and make decisions like this to sabotage the season. If Lady Luck is on the Mets’ side for good, the Marlins could end up as one less team they have to worry about catching because Miami will sink for them.