By Declan Finn
The week may have gotten off to a bad start for the New York Mets, as they lost two of three to the Marlins and were eliminated from the wild card chase Friday after the Pirates won, but it sure ended on a high note. The Mets swept the Braves in Atlanta for the first time in seven years. They also ended up winning the season series against the Braves for the first time in eight years.
The year won't end with a postseason berth, but those two streak-breakers are definitely something this Mets team can be proud of.
After the three-game sweep, the Mets also have a legitimate shot to finish second in the NL East, as they trail the Braves by just a half-game with six to play. The Mets hold a 1.5-game edge on the Marlins for third place. On top of that, and more importantly, the three wins also means the Mets have the possibility of finishing the season with a winning record. If the Mets go 5-1, they will accomplish that goal. If they go 4-2, they will finish .500 and avoid their sixth straight losing season.
All of those things are within striking distance for the Mets heading into the final week of the season. But before we look ahead, let's take a look back at the week that was, and who was most responsible for the Mets being in position to have a winning season, and those who are trending in the opposite direction, with our 3 Up and 3 Down feature.
Jacob deGrom: The pitcher may have clinched the National League Rookie of the Year award after beating the Braves Sunday. deGrom allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings of work. He struck out 10, the fourth time this season he's had double-digit punch-outs. He opened the game against Atlanta striking out four straight batters, which came one start after he tied a Major League record by striking out the first eight batters he faced against the Marlins. deGrom has a 9-6 record with a 2.63 ERA in 22 starts. He's 9-2 over his last 15 starts. He's pitched 178.2 innings this year, so there is a strong chance Sunday was deGrom's last start this season. But he should have done more than enough to win the top rookie award.
Lucas Duda: He went 8-for-21 (.381) in six games this week with two doubles, a home run and five RBI. Duda went 3-for-5 with a double and run scored as the Mets finished off the sweep of Atlanta Sunday. For the season, Duda has 28 home runs and 86 RBI. If he can keep those power numbers and up his batting average from .254 next season, the Mets could have a consistent offensive threat.
Zack Wheeler: He threw six shutout innings, allowing five hits, in beating the Braves Friday night. He struck out seven. Wheeler improved to 11-10 on the season and saw his ERA drop to 3.49. If Matt Harvey is good to go next season, the Mets will have a great, young top of the rotation. With Harvey, Wheeler and deGrom, maybe the Mets will take the next step and end their postseason drought next year.
Juan Lagares: He didn't make the trip to Atlanta and won't make the trip to Washington to start this coming week either, as he has a right elbow strain. There is a chance he could play the final three games of the season at Citi Field. He went 1-for-6 in two games this week. Overall, Lagares has had a pretty good season, batting .281 with 24 doubles and 47 RBI.
Dilson Herrera: The rookie went 3-for-6 with a homer and three RBI in the first two games against Atlanta, but he left Saturday's game with a quad injury. Mets manager Terry Collins hinted after the game that Herrera's season probably would be over after the injury.
Jeurys Familia: Last Monday, Familia was tagged for three runs on four hits and got just one out in blowing a save and taking the loss against Miami. The Mets led 5-3 after scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Familia gave it all back in the top of the eighth.