Just when things were starting to look up, the New York Mets took a look at their upcoming schedule.
First up, starting Tuesday the Mets will have a three-game series at the Great American Ball Park against the Cincinnati Reds. Just as a reminder, the Reds are currently atop the NL Central with the second best record in baseball (69-46) and have more wins at home than anyone else in Major League Baseball (besides the Pirates who also have 36 home wins on the season).
Following that little Ohio getaway will be a trip to the nation's capital for another three games with the Washington Nationals. And in case you have forgotten who is currently sitting pretty in first in the NL East, it's the Nationals, the only team in baseball right now with more than 70 wins. But let's look at some positives before analyzing how terrifying the week ahead sounds for New York.
- The Mets somehow didn't blow their series finale Sunday evening against the Atlanta Braves.
- Following the toughest possible week in baseball, the Mets have the easiest possible week in baseball (four games against the Colorado Rockies followed by three against the Houston Astros, the two worst clubs in baseball, at home).
- R.A. Dickey has a shot to pitch in the same game this week as fellow Cy Young candidate Aroldis Chapman. If Dickey can give another great performance, and maybe have the Mets rough Chapman up a bit (not likely, but it would be nice), then that might look pretty good in the eyes of some voters.
While that last point may be the most enjoyable to dream about, it is probably the least possible, making the first three-game series of the week that much more terrifying.
Chapman is absurd this season. His ERA against National League teams is 0.17 and in his last 16 save appearances, he has recorded a save. That doesn't look good for a Mets team whose run support has been all but non-existent since the All-Star Break.
Then there's the Nationals. On the bright side, Bryce Harper, the soon-to-be ultra Mets Killer, has been slumping. Also on the bright side, the Mets most likely won't be seeing Stephen Strasburg or Ross Detwiler in the series. But the bright side probably ends there against a Nationals team that is 13-5 since sweeping the Mets in late July.
So what should we expect from the Mets this week? If trend analysis and reality tell us anything, then probably not much. Stellar pitching on the other side combined with offensive futility on the Mets side tells me that if the team can pull out one out of six, we should be happy. But even that would put the team nine games under .500, a feat that not even a Rockies-Astros week could remedy.
It's a rough forecast, and even rougher when you consider that this may be the last shot the Amazins have to make any sort of Wild Card run. But the team has got a few bright spots to look forward to. And if they can make the most of them, then maybe the team will be able to head into next week with at least their eyes above water.