By Declan Finn
It's only fitting the New York Mets will have to go through the Washington Nationals in their quest to finish the season with a winning record. The Nationals have owned the Mets this season, winning 12 of 15 games against their division rivals. If the Mets want to finish with a winning season, they will have to at least win this series.
If the Mets take two of three from the Nationals, they would then need to sweep the Astros at home to finish the season. Then, the Mets would be 82-80. So, simply put, they can lose just one of their remaining six games to accomplish what would be a huge stepping stone for the organization.
If the Mets do win five of six, they will finish with their first winning record since 2008. Obviously, history is against them.
The Mets did announce Tuesday that general manager Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins would be back next year. Alderson signed a contract extension through the 2017 season and Collins' team option for next year was picked up as well. So, the hierarchy is in place for the Mets to accomplish their goal next season of making the playoffs.
New York Mets (76-80, second place NL East)
at Washington Nationals (91-64, NL East champions)
Tuesday, 7:05 p.m.
Bartolo Colon (14-12, 4.02) vs. Tanner Roark (14-10, 2.85)
Wednesday, 7:05 p.m.
Dillon Gee (7-8, 3.88) vs. Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.74)
Thursday, 7:05 p.m.
Zack Wheeler (11-10, 3.49) vs. Doug Fister (15-6, 2.55)
Playoff Picture: There is no playoff picture for the Mets, as they were eliminated from the National League wild card chase last Friday. The Nationals are the NL East champions and have a solid lead on both the Cardinals and Dodgers for best record in the league.
Momentum: The Mets have won three straight and four of their last five games. They just finished off their first sweep of the Braves in Atlanta in seven years. The Nationals have won eight of their last nine games, including a four-game sweep over the Marlins and taking three of four from the Mets a week and a half ago.
Who's Hot: Jacob deGrom, Lucas Duda and Zack Wheeler had big weeks for the Mets. Read more about them in our 3 Up feature here. ... For Washington, Jayson Werth went 5-for-10 with a double and RBI in three games against the Marlins. ... Ian Desmond has a four-game hit streak, going 6-for-15 with two doubles, a triple, home run and three RBI over that stretch. ... Roark, who pitches Tuesday, won his last two starts, allowing just two total runs over 13.1 innings. ... Gonzalez, who pitches Wednesday, has won three of his last four starts. ... Fister, who pitches Thursday, has won three straight starts, allowing four total runs over that stretch.
Who't Not: Juan Lagares, Dilson Herrera and Jeurys Familia all had a rough week for the Mets, with injuries being the main bugaboo. Read more about them in our 3 down feature here. ... For Washington, Adam LaRoche is 2-for-15 over his last four games.
Looking Ahead: The Mets return home for the final three games of the season starting Friday night, with three against the Astros.