By Declan Finn
In a season that has seen more downs than ups, taking two of three games from the Phillies this weekend was some good news for the New York Mets and their fans. It didn't have any playoff implications, as the Mets will miss the postseason for the eighth straight year, but the series win kept them out of last place in the NL East. It's a small victory, but one nonetheless.
Starting Monday, the Mets can move into a tie for third place in the division, as they play three games against the Marlins in Miami. The Mets would need to sweep to do so. They could also be the final nail in the coffin for the Marlins and their playoff chances, which are teetering on the edge of elimination.
Here's a closer look at the three game series which starts with an afternoon game Monday.
New York Mets (64-73, 9.5 GB of second WC)
at Miami Marlins (66-69, 6.5 GB of second WC)
Monday, 1:10 p.m.
Zack Wheeler (9-9) vs. Henderson Alvarez (10-6, 2.75)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.
Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48) vs. Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40)
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.
Jacob deGrom (7-6, 2.94) vs. Tom Koehler (9-9, 3.79)
Playoff Picture: The Mets are all but finished, as 9.5 games will be nearly impossible to make up over the final 25 games. The Marlins are in the same position the Mets were to start last week, needing to sweep almost every series left on the schedule just to have a chance at the second wild card. The Giants have moved into the top wild card spot this week, while the Brewers and Cardinals are tied for both the NL Central lead and second wild card.
Momentum: After losing two of three to the Braves, the Mets took two of three from the Phillies to stay out of last place in the NL East. They are now 1.5 ahead in that race with Philadelphia. The Mets are 5-5 over their last 10 games. The Marlins likely threw away their wild card hopes by losing four of their last five games and seven of their last 10.
Who's Hot: Wilmer Flores went 5-for-10 with two runs scored, a double and RBI against the Phillies. Juan Lagares has six hits, including a home run, and four RBI over his last six games. deGrom, who pitches Wednesday, allowed no earned runs on four hits in seven innings of work against the Phillies, getting the win. For Miami, Donovan Solano went 5-for-9 with a home run and two RBI over his last two games. Christian Yelich has a four-game hit streak.
Who's Not: Curtis Granderson was booed on a day the Mets gave away his bobblehead. He went 0-for-8 against Philadelphia. Lucas Duda came crashing back to Earth this week, going 2-for-23 (.087) after lighting it up the week prior. Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed four runs in his two relief appearances last week. For Miami, Giancarlo Stanton is 3-for-21 (.143) over his last six games. Marcell Ozuna is 4-for-24 (.167) over his last six games. Alvarez, who starts Monday, has allowed nine total runs in his last two starts.
Looking Ahead: Mets travel to Cincinnati for three games against the Reds after an off day Thursday.