So with three-quarters of the 2015 baseball season over, the Mets are in first place and barring (to borrow a classic from “Seinfeld”) some unforeseen incident, they will finish the season there and play in October for the first time since 2006.
There are 40 games to play and the Mets are 10 games over .500, five games ahead of the .500 Nationals. Even if the Mets play .500 ball the rest of the way, the Nationals would have to go 26-14 to win the NL East. While everyone talks about how talented the Nationals are, they have not shown that they can go on such a run.
Luckily the Mets have a pretty easy schedule the rest of the way; the only team currently above .500 is the Yankees. The Nationals have a similar easy schedule. The two teams play each other six more times, including a season-ending series. Hopefully by then, the Mets will have clinched the division.
So it would take a total collapse by the Mets or an incredible hot streak by the Nationals for the Mets to lose the division. Of course, this franchise is no stranger to either. They famously collapsed down the stretch in 2007 and 2008. On the other side, in 2007 the Mets missed out on the Wild Card by one game when the Rockies won 21 of their last 22 games to gain a tie with the Padres and a 163rd game to decide who went to the post-season. And in 2008 the Brewers won six of their last seven games to take the Wild Card by a game over the Mets.
In 2008 the Brewers fired manager Ned Yost with just 12 games left in the season as they struggled down the stretch. It would be interesting to see if Sandy Alderson would do such a thing if the Mets started to lose their lead in the last couple of weeks. Would he just let it happen, like Omar Minaya did in 2007 and 2008, or would he take a drastic step, with the Mets so close to a playoff berth?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Mets are in excellent shape with 40 games to play, ready to extend the season.