Lest the reader be led into believing that I am just a carping critic who lacks the introspection to examine my own thoughts... The Mets are now tied for third in the NL wildcard chase, 3rd with a bullet. A little over a week ago, I called their playoff hopes almost nonexistent. I have to say that the statement that "the Mets making the playoffs would be something on the order of the 1914 Miracle Braves, 1964 Cardinals, and 1978 Yankees all rolled into one" was a bit of an overstatement.
At the time the Mets were tied for third, 12.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East race and nine games behind the leader, tied for eighth in the wild card race. As of this morning, they are still 12.5 games behind the Braves but only 4.5 games behind the Dodgers and tied for third in the wild card hunt. I thought that the Mets could never make up so many games so quickly not because they were incapable of improving their own standing (I did point out that their expected winning percentage was higher than their actual indicating they had room for improvement). I thought that the odds of enough of the teams in front of them faltering when a good number are playing each other was low.
But they are 8-2 in their last ten games. The other wild card teams have been:
I still believe that the Mets will not make the playoffs. The teams that they have beaten up in the past couple of weeks are the Expos (twice), Phillies, Marlins, and Reds who are all starting to lose some steam. I'll reserve judgment until they have played a few better teams. I believe though that the Mets may just be reaching their expected level. Remember that I said at the time that their expected winning percentage was .519. Today their win-lose percentage stands at .520.
Unfortunately for management if this is their run and they end up falling back into the pack, it may be at the worst possible time, right before the trade deadline. Their management cannot cut payroll or build for next year by making trades if they believe that there still are playoff hopes. But given their salaries except for pitching, they probably couldn't move anyone in the current bunker-mentality trade market anyway.