Going into Friday night’s games, the Mets are one game behind the Marlins and the Cardinals, which are tied for the second Wild Card spot (the Dodgers seem to have a firm grasp on the first one). That leaves the Mets in decent shape, but they should not forget about the two teams sneaking up on them.
When looking at the standings, in addition to how many games a team is behind, it is important to look at how many teams they trail. The Mets now trail two teams, which is all right — they just have to play a little better than both of them the rest of the way; not an impossible task.
But let’s say the Mets were behind four other teams. Not only would the Mets have to play well, they would have to hope that all four teams falter. The odds of that are unlikely.
The Rockies and Pirates are both two games behind the Mets. They need to make sure they stay ahead of them. Falling behind by even a few games could leave the Mets in a hole out of which they cannot climb.
Of course, it is not unprecedented to leapfrog over numerous teams. The Mets themselves famously did it in 1973, when they were in sixth place as late as August 30, but went 21-8 the rest of the way to overtake all five of their NL East opponents and win the division.
Still though, it is much easier to pass two teams than four. So the Mets would be wise to keep the Rockies and Pirates in their rear view mirror.