There’s still a big chunk remaining to the season, but the New York Mets have a chance of, a) finishing over .500, b) finishing in second place in the NL East, c) finish with a better record than the Yankees, or d) all of the above.
It is possible, but also something nobody realistically considered at the start of the season. With a handful of days before the trade deadline, the Mets aren’t going to make a run at the playoffs, but instead have opted to keep a pat hand to ascertain how good they are at the end of the season.
It’s not a bad stance as it gives them a greater understanding of their offseason needs, important since they have close to $50 million coming off the books. Trading pieces such as Bobby Parnell, Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis will only create more holes.
Washington was seemingly given a free pass to the World Series by the national media, but the Nationals are fading fast and the Mets could leapfrog them this weekend, beginning with a doubleheader today.
Not many in the sport are feeling much empathy for the Nationals, who in their first taste of success in decades last season carried themselves with an arrogance that firmly stated “we’ll be back here often,’’ when it shut down Stephen Strasburg.
Instead of limiting his innings piecemeal, the Nationals cut him off at the end and kept him from pitching in the playoffs. That worked out well, didn’t it?
As the Mets attest, the playoffs aren’t a given. They haven’t been back since 2006, but coughed up opportunities the following two years.
I understand the Nationals’ reasoning, just as I understand the Mets’ doing it with Matt Harvey, but there’s a better way than just pulling the ball when he reaches an innings limit. The Nationals ignored the rest of their players and placed more an emphasis on Strasburg than anybody else.
They gave the impression the playoffs would be a given. However, manager Davey Johnson is retiring after this season; Strasburg is having a down year; their bullpen has holes; and the offense has been erratic.
The Nationals basically dismissed the rest of the NL East, which now belongs to the Braves.
The Nationals’ problems are well documented, as are the Phillies’ injuries. This time next week the Phillies could have traded several key pieces, although they say they are keeping Cliff Lee.
This time next week both could be looking up at the Mets.
As always, your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to answer them. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos