With last night’s 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants, the Mets now find themselves five games back of the front-running Atlanta Braves.
It looks like a fight to the finish may be shaping up for the NL Wild Card this season.
Three NL East teams currently occupy the top seven spots for the Wild Card; the Mets, Phillies and Marlins.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post writes about the Braves latest acquisition, Alex Gonzalez, and how they are preparing to pull all the stops to win the division.
The Braves also are beginning to put distance between themselves and the NL East competition, and if that continues then the Mets and Phillies are going to be part of a crowded race for the wild card. The Mets are five back now, the Phillies 5 1/2.
Atlanta players gave Alex Gonzalez a standing ovation when he walked into the clubhouse, a good-to-see you and a good-to-see the divisive Yunel Escobar gone. Then Jair Jurrjens continued his strong physical/production rebound and Jason Heyward came off the DL to make strong catches and Billy Wagner continued as the NL’s best closer. Atlanta has a glow about it now, and the other NL East contenders are under pressure right away here in the second half to keep them within sight for a late charge.
The Braves are highly motivated to win at all costs… They obviously want to give Bobby Cox a big sendoff with the possibility of one final NL East Title and a trip to post season in this, his final season as manager of the Braves.
Then there’s also rumors that Chipper Jones will retire at the end of this season, giving them even more motivation to make this season a special one for their franchise.
The Mets must respond in some way to that upgrade the Braves just made and any future upgrades the Braves or Phillies make. We can’t afford to sit idly while the teams around us improve. Every time the Braves or Phillies make an upgrade, it’s no different than a step backward for us and one forward for them. If we are to stay in the pack, we must respond with upgrades of our own. At least that’s the way I see it.
By the way, did you cringe when Sherman referred to Billy Wagner as the NL’s best closer?