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How improbable is a division win for the Mets? September 22, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Following a brilliant, but short, start behind Jonathon Niese, the Mets won a 4-0 game against the Braves last night. Terry Collins made some of us hold our breath, lifting Niese after only 88 scoreless pitches, but went straight to the lights-out portion of the bullpen. Addison Reed worked for a few minutes, followed up by Tyler Clippard returning after a five-day layoff. Clippard allowed a single to Pedro Ciriaco and then threw two wild pitches to allow Ciriaco to third, but nonetheless stranded him to hold the 4-0 lead. Since every win counts, Terry brought in Jeurys Familia to close the game.

Last night’s win pushed the Mets’ magic number down into Ed Kranepool territory. It makes sense that Collins is managing this as a must-win series, for two reasons. He obviously lacks some confidence in the Hansel RoblesBobby ParnellEric O’Flaherty portion of the bullpen, but he also wants to have the division clinched before Washington comes to town.

If we sweep Atlanta, then even if Washington doesn’t lose a game, our magic number drops to 5. From there, taking 3 from a four-game series against the Reds and 2 of 3 from a terrible Phillies team clinches the division. Giving up a game to Atlanta means having to sweep the Reds or Phillies instead, or relying on another team to help us, to clinch before the Nationals arrive. Since the end of the Mets series, the Nationals have scored 57 runs and allowed only 28 in 7 games against the Marlins and 3 against the Phillies.

Just one loss to Baltimore gives the Mets significant breathing room, because the Nationals play Philadelphia 3 times, the Reds once, and Atlanta three times before they meet the Mets. A team with some momentum could easily take those 7 games. A number of different possibilities exist to get a loss there:

  • The Sunday (the 27th) 1:35 PM game against the Phillies, following a 4:05 Saturday start
  • The one-day visit to Cincinnati (Monday the 28th) in between Philadelphia and Atlanta
  • The Atlanta series, where a few solid players combined with no remaining off-days might push Washington over the edge

Again, it’s incumbent on the Mets to win their remaining series. One more from Atlanta, 3 from the Reds, and 2 from the Phillies mean Washington only needs to drop one game some time between now and the end of the season for the Mets to win the divsion. This is looking promising.

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