WILD CARD DRIVER'S SEAT by Tom BrennanSixteen games to go, trailing the Giant and leading the Cards by a half game each, how do the Mets look?
They look to be in the driver's seat.
Of course, they looked that way against the Phil's several years ago when they led the Phils by 7 with 17 games to go and folded. So there are no guarantees until the words "the Mets Win the Wild Card" can be excitedly spoken.
The Mets have those 16 games left, 10 of which are at home, all of which are against sub .500 teams, so if they do not make it in, they do not deserve it.
The first 3 are against the Twinkies this weekend. Easy, right? Well, Brian Dozier has hit 24 homers...no, not this season, he's hit them in his past 43 games! (Compare to Jay Bruce's performance as a Met over the same period. Compare to Travis D's 14 RBIs this entire year while you are at it). So they will have to earn a winning series.
Then 3 at home with the Braves. Then 4 at home vs. the Phils. Nice.
Anything less than 6-4 on this homestead would be a huge disappointment. A good team would find a way to go 7-3.
We should have Matz and deGrom back for at least short outings, a plus, but if Wilmer remains hurt and his hot bat goes missing, they are at risk.
Then they close with 3 on the road against a hopefully eliminated Marlins squad (currently 4 back in the WC race) and a final 3 game series in Philly.
Prediction:10-6 season finish. Wild Card.
The Cardinals currently have a much tougher schedule, with 4 on the road vs. The Jints, and 3 vs. The Cubbies. Of course, the Cubs will have clinched and may be throttling back, so that needs to be kept in mind. Also, 3 vs. Rockies, 4 vs. the wimpy Reds, and a finale 3 game set against the currently collapsing Pirates.
The Giants of course square off against the Cards for 4, but also face the Kershaw-led Dodgers for 6, plus 4 vs. the Pods and 3 vs. the Rocks. So they, like the Cards, have a far more difficult schedule than the Mets.
One has to believe either the Cards or Jints will falter down the stretch, given their tough schedules. The Giants are 4-6 in their last 10, and the Cards 5-5, so they do not appear to be juggernauts by any means. I think, of the two, the Cards will find a way to nail down the other Wild Card.
All in all, though, the Mets are in the driver's seat for a Wild Card berth, hopefully at home.
But they can't have games like yesterday, when Bruce and then TJ Rivera failed to come through in a bags full, one out situation in the first inning that cost them the 1-0 game yesterday. You can have the easiest schedule in the world, but you have to win the winnable games.
BOYS, LET'S DRIVE!