By Declan Finn
Realistically, the New York Mets have little to no chance of making the postseason this year. With 36 games to play and facing an eight-game deficit in the wild card race, the Mets and their fans will most likely have to wait until next season to dream big again. But for those who hold out hope, there is still a chance for the Mets to make a run at the postseason. It won't be easy, but it's possible.
After all, it's still August, and way too early to start looking toward next season. The Mets, however, have to most likely win every series the rest of the season and throw in a few sweeps along the way to even have a chance at getting within shouting distance of the two wild card spots. It starts with three against the NL West-leading Dodgers on the road.
New York Mets (60-68, 8 games back of WC)
at Los Angeles Dodgers (72-57, NL West leader)
Friday, 10:10 p.m.
Jonathan Niese (7-8, 3.50) vs. Dan Haren (10-10, 4.59)
Saturday, 9:10 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.87) vs. Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.78)
Sunday, 4:10 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (11-10, 3.85) vs. Kevin Correia (7-13, 4.87)
Playoff Picture: The biggest obstacle the Mets have to making a run at the second wild card, besides their own record, is the number of teams ahead of them in the race. The Cardinals and Giants lead the way, followed by the Braves, Pirates, Marlins and Reds. So, the Mets and their fans shouldn't even worry about scoreboard-watching at this point. If the Mets don't find a way to finish the season 24-12, they won't have a chance. That would put them four games over .500 at the end of the season. They still would need the teams ahead of them to struggle, but it would give them a chance, not to mention a ton of momentum going into next season. We can all start watching the scoreboard if the Mets make a run over the final nine games of August.
Momentum: The Mets split a two-game series with the Athletics to start their California road trip. They are just 6-7 over their last four series, against the Phillies, Nationals, Cubs and A's. The Dodgers are 6-7 over their last four series, taking two of three from the Padres leading into this series. Before that, the Dodgers were swept by the Brewers in three games. Of the seven losses over that time, the Brewers were responsible for five of them.
Who's Hot: For the Mets, Eric Campbell is batting .333 with two home runs and five RBI in his past five games. Zack Wheeler, who won't pitch in this series, is red-hot, winning his sixth straight decision Thursday against the A's. He's 3-0 with a 2.88 ERA in August. That followed his 3-0 record with a 1.67 ERA in July. He's becoming the ace the Mets envisioned when they traded for him. Jonathan Niese has won his last two starts. For the Dodgers, Justin Turner batted .389 with a homer and five RBI in his last six games. Carl Crawford hit .368 with a home run and three RBI over his last six games. Luckily the Mets don't have to face Clayton Kershaw this series. Kershaw, who could be the best pitcher in baseball, is 15-3 with a 1.82 ERA this season.
Who's Not: For the Mets, David Wright is 1-for-17 over his last five games. Of the regulars, six players batted under .200 for the past week. Dillon Gee has lost his last his last five decisions. For the Dodgers, AJ Ellis is 1-for-his-last 14. Dee Gordon is batting .182 with no extra base hits over the past week. Greinke is 1-4 over his last six starts, and has a tender elbow, which could give the Mets an edge when playing against him Saturday. Haren was roughed up in a loss to the Brewers last week and will be pitching a day ahead of schedule Friday to allow Greinke extra time to recover.
Looking Ahead: After an off day Monday, the Mets return home for three games against the Braves Tuesday-Thursday.