There are few teams more fun, interesting, and heartbreaking than the Mets.
For years they have been on the cusp of greatness, before faltering last year.
So now that they are back in the hunt, lets take a look at what must happen in order for the Mets to take over first place from the Atlanta Braves in the second half of the season?
Jose Reyes was pulled from a game this weekend after throwing to first. He was not seriously hurt, but was scratched from the All-Star Game this Tuesday.
He will return once the break is done it seems like, but in order for the Mets to play consistently they will need the bat, speed, and defense of Jose Reyes.
If he can keep a steady .300 batting average at the top of the lineup, that will help their RBI guys in David Wright and Ike Davis.
One thing that is severely overlooked, especially in the National League, is the bench.
The Mets bench is not extremely strong with guys like Alex Cora, Jesus Feliciano, and Chris Carter as their biggest threats.
Should Beltran come back soon, the Mets would have some depth in their bench with Angel Pagan as a lethal threat.
R.A. Dickey may have won his first six decisions, but he has lost his last two.
After coming up in the middle of the season to fill in for an injured Jon Niese, he has quickly become one of the top knuckleballers in baseball, and a major force in the National League.
He will need to regain his composure and find his winning ways.
Jason Bay was picked up over the offseason to help with power and driving in runs. However, with his mere six homers, and sub-50 RBI numbers, he has not lived up to his reputation.
He is not hitting for average either, and many Met fans are becoming impatient.
If he can slowly pick up his production, the Mets will have a huge advantage in their lineup.
There is no doubt that Mike Pelfrey has found himself this year.
Although he was snubbed from the ASG, he is still one of the top pitchers in the National League, and has proven that when he is on, he is a true force in the Met rotation. However, he still struggles with control and command.
Despite pitching four shutout innings on Saturday, he was forced to leave because of a high pitch count after allowing two runs in the fifth. He had 93 pitches.
The tandem of Pelfrey and Santana could be dangerous, but Pelfrey still has some work to do.
The bottom of the Mets lineup has not been good as of late; Ruben Tejada, Rod Barajas, Jesus Feliciano, and a pitcher's spot is not a recipe for success.
I have always been an advocate of putting a good hitter towards the bottom of the lineup to give it some balance.
Another idea is having the pitcher hit eighth.
The Mets attendance has taken the biggest cut going from last year to this year. Don't forget about home field advantage.
Mets fans this year have either been non-existent or very quiet.
A playoff team needs a playoff atmosphere there every night, whether it be a rainy Monday night or a sunny Sunday afternoon.
When you are trying to catch up to a team like the Braves, you have to play one game at a time, one inning at a time.
You aren't going to catch up to them in one night, so the best way to do it is to play solid baseball and do everything you can whenever you get an opportunity.
Play it smart, play detailed baseball.
Sometimes the thing that kills teams is when a manager puts the game into his hands too much.
Leave a pitcher in if he is doing solid, even if he has a high pitch count or if he is batting next inning.
Don't put a new guy in when it is a crucial situation.
Sometimes you have to throw out the book and go with your instinct.
Heck, they will need that to happen too.