So the Pirates swept the Mets this weekend, and by the looks of things at Citi Field as Sunday’s game came to a merciful end, fans are as down about this team as they were high when they swept the Nationals two weekends ago. But these three loses really do not matter. The only number that matters right now is four and a half — the number of games by which the Mets are in first place.
Certainly it would have been better to sweep the Pirates instead of being swept. But the Nationals were also swept this weekend and are now losers of six in a row. They are actually a game below .500, which is why the Mets are so far ahead of them.
And that’s the key — how many games the Mets are ahead of Washington. If the Mets stumble to the finish but the Nationals do as well, the Mets win the NL East. And that’s what this is all about.
Everybody keeps saying it is only a matter of time before Washington start to win. But that hasn’t happened all year. The Nationals seems to be a dysfunctional team, and there has been no sign that they are ready to snap out of it.
Nobody wants to see the Mets back into a division championship by virtue of the Nationals losing. And that probably won’t happen; the team that plays best down the stretch will win the division. Despite this weekend, that looks like the Mets.
After the past decade or so, Mets fans are conditioned to think the worst. So it is not crazy to think this might be the beginning of the end. But let’s not think that way. The Mets are four and a half games in first place in the middle of August. Let’s keep that in mind and enjoy this.