By Declan Finn
The New York Mets started their series with the Washington Nationals Thursday still hanging by a thread in the race for the second wild card in the National League. The thread was thin, but it was still connected, giving the Mets the chance to make a move higher in the standings if they could at least win three of the four games at home.
But the Nationals didn't just cut that thread, they took a machete to it, winning three of four and knocking the Mets out of the race altogether. The Mets were 5.5 games out with 16 to play going into the series, and left 7.5 back with just 12 to play. The Nationals are the thorn in the Mets' side, winning 13 of 16 games this season and eight of nine at Citi Field.
If the Mets were somewhat decent against Washington, they may actually still be challenging for a playoff berth. But, obviously, the Mets just couldn't stop the Nationals.
The Mets actually had a 4-3 record the past week, but anything less than 6-1 would have been considered a failure to stay in the wild card hunt. Here are the movers and shakers from the week that was for the Mets, with our 3 Up and 3 Down list.
Jacob deGrom: He could take another step toward becoming National League Rookie of the Year when he starts for the Mets Monday night. deGrom has been tremendous over his last three starts, going 2-0 and allowing no earned runs in total. He allowed four hits and one unearned run over seven innings in beating Philadelphia on Aug. 29, then allowed one unearned run on five hits in six innings of a no-decision against Miami on Sept. 3, and tossed eight shutout innings, allowing just three hits, in beating the Rockies last Tuesday. He is 7-1 over his last 10 starts. deGrom is 8-6 overall on the season with a sparkling 2.62 ERA.
Curtis Granderson: We've crushed Granderson all season long, and rightfully so, but he was one of the few players to actually contribute offensively this past week. He went 7-for-23 (.304) with two runs, three doubles, a triple and three RBI. Granderson doesn't get any breaks for how he performed over the first 85 percent of the season, but at least he's showing some life heading into the offseason. His average is up to .219 with 18 homers and 58 RBI in 143 games.
Wilmer Flores: He had a bad start to the week, going 0-for-13 in three games against Colorado and the first against Washington before getting a day off Friday. Flores responded by going 3-for-8 with a triple, home run and three RBI in two games over the weekend. It might not be much, but anything positive from the team's younger players is a great sign for the Mets going forward.
Dilson Herrera: He went 1-for-15 in six games this past week to watch his average dip to .204 on the season. Herrera is only 20 years old, but if he doesn't prove over the final two weeks he can hit big league pitching consistently, he just might get stuck behind Daniel Murphy for another season. While Murphy is flirting with .300, he's not a building block for the Mets. Herrera would be.
Zack Wheeler: The young ace couldn't stop the Nationals from continuing their mastery of the Mets, getting roughed up for six runs on seven hits in just four innings during a 10-3 loss. The Nationals are 13-3 against the Mets this season. Wheeler is 1-2 with a no-decision over his last four starts. He's 10-10 overall with a respectable 3.61 ERA.
Bartolo Colon: His start Thursday against the Nationals effectively ended the Mets season. Colon allowed six runs on seven hits in three innings before getting thrown out of the game for hitting Jayson Werth in the fourth inning. It was Colon's second hit batter of the game, both of which came after a Nationals home run. Coming into the game, the Mets were still in the thick of the wild card race, but had no room for error. Colon's outing was that final error.