Mets face critically important week before schedule gets tough

Buck Showalter expresses his frustration during another Mets loss
Buck Showalter expresses his frustration during another Mets loss / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Show of hands, New York Mets fans. Who's feeling good right now? Anybody? I see one hand up in the back from a guy who has been watching Bartolo Colon's home run on a loop for the past two days. Other than that, positive vibes are hard to find right now.

The season has taken a turn for the worse in the last two weeks. The Mets have gone 3-11 in their past 14 games, and even more egregiously, have lost five of their last six against the sorry tandem of the Tigers and Rockies.

As the Mets take their off day, they sit seven games behind the Braves, a far cry from the six-game lead they enjoyed on this date last year. Things are trending in the wrong direction, and though it's a long season, the team needs to right the ship in a hurry before Atlanta's lead becomes insurmountable.

This month was supposed to be a time to feast against lesser competition, but instead the Mets have found themselves on the serving platter. Forget the Braves, the Mets are clumped in the standings with the Marlins, Phillies, and Nationals in one big mediocre NL East meatloaf.

The next seven games at Cincinnati and Washington will show us what the Mets are really made of.

Both the Reds and the Nationals entered the week with the same 14-20 record. Realistically, neither team has any real designs on making a playoff run. Their combined payroll is barely more than half that of the Mets. If this team is going to show signs of life, now is the time.

Much has been made of certain players that have underperformed, but take a look at the Mets roster; it's really good! Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil; these guys are All-Stars. Brett Baty is the real deal. Francisco Alvarez is starting to find himself. Mark Vientos and Ronny Mauricio look ready to contribute in the big leagues.

With that collection of talent, would anybody be surprised if the Mets put it together and start rolling before the All-Star break? Sure, pitching has been a concern, but better times are ahead. Justin Verlander is back. Kodai Senga just pitched six shutout innings. David Robertson has been even better than Mets fans could have hoped. Bottom line: the Mets are too talented to be under .500.

After the Nationals series, the Mets come home to face the Rays and their obscene .800 winning percentage. It's imperative that the team takes five games, minimum, out of these next seven. Ideally, they return to Citi Field with a healthy winning streak.

The pitching is lined up to make it happen. The Reds series will see Scherzer, Verlander, and Senga taking the mound. There's no denying that Max has had a rough start to the season, but Tuesday's contest is the definition of a get-right game.

The season is long, and losing streaks are going to happen. One essential trait of any good baseball team is the ability to bounce back. Are the Mets a good baseball team? With a soft schedule this week, we're about to find out.