The Mets have drastically improved their position in the standings over the last week. They have won six of their last eight games, and now sit just 2.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. They have become the hottest team in contention over the last week, and have injected newfound hope into a September pennant chase.
Another reason to feel optimistic about the team this September is that they have more games against sub-.500 games in September than any other team currently contending for that second spot. The Mets have 19 of their 29 September games against teams below .500. This includes seven games against the Phillies, six games against the Braves and three-game sets against the Reds and Twins. They also, however, have six games against the division-leading Nationals and four against the Marlins.
Overall, this is not the worst schedule– save for the Nationals series. In contrast, the Cardinals have 14 of 30 games against teams below .500. This includes seven games against the Reds, four against the Brewers and three against the Rockies in Colorado. The Marlins have 13 of their 29 September games against teams below .500– with all of these games will come against either the Phillies or Braves. The surging Pirates will have 18 of their 30 September contests against sub-.500 teams, with a combined 14 against either the Reds or Brewers. So if you’re betting on strength of schedule, the Mets are your team.
14 of the Mets’ September games will be at home. Pittsburgh has 17 home games, Miami has 16 and St. Louis has 14. This means Pittsburgh probably has the easiest schedule overall. But the Mets’ current set of games next month absolutely does little to hurt their chances.
Mets fans don’t need to be reminded that favorable September matchups haven’t always worked in their favor (See 2007. And 2008). But the Mets’ October aspirations are certainly more than the fading dream that they were ten days ago.