Mets Play Spoiler as Season Winds Down

Despite a promising start to the 2021 campaign, it appears the New York Mets will not make the postseason. They spent most of the first half leading the NL East, but key injuries and a dormant offense eventually caught up with them. The Mets now find themselves looking up at the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East. They would also need to leapfrog several teams to grab the second NL Wild Card spot. With two weeks to play, a comeback seems unlikely in either race. However, New York still has a chance to impact both who makes the playoffs and their playoff positions. If the Mets can successfully play spoiler down the stretch, they can carry positive vibes into the offseason after a disappointing year.

Mets Remaining Schedule

The Mets have a chance to help out their crosstown counterparts, the New York Yankees, by beating the Boston Red Sox. That endeavor got off to a bad start Tuesday night at Fenway Park with a 6-3 loss to Boston. However, if they win Wednesday night, the Mets could potentially move the Red Sox down in the AL Wild Card standings. The Yanks and Toronto Blue Jays are breathing down Boston’s necks for the top wild-card spot. Potentially helping the Yankees is likely the furthest thing from the Mets’ minds, but a win Wednesday would still serve that purpose.

After the Boston series, the Mets are off Thursday before heading to Milwaukee for a three-game set against the Milwaukee¬†Brewers. Milwaukee has nearly clinched the NL Central and is essentially locked into the second seed in the National League. This is because whoever wins the NL West will likely get the top seed, and the NL-East leading Braves will not top Milwaukee’s record. Even if the Mets sweep the Brewers, it is unlikely to move the needle in the postseason standings. However, they could end the Brewers’ already faint hopes of catching the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top spot. Even taking two of three would likely accomplish that.

The Mets will then close out their home slate with a four-game series against the Miami Marlins. This series will have no playoff implications, as the Marlins have not fared well this year following a surprise rebound season in 2020. The Mets end their 2021 campaign with a three-game weekend set in Atlanta. Depending on where the Phillies find themselves at that time, New York could determine the NL East champ. The Mets probably wouldn’t be thrilled at helping either team, but closing out strong should be on their minds.

Rojas Managing for His Job?

The Mets likely won’t make the playoffs, but that doesn’t render these upcoming games completely meaningless. Aside from the potential playoff implications for other teams, the remaining schedule could influence the makeup of the 2022 Mets. Manager Luis Rojas is evidently on the hot seat following the Mets’ midsummer collapse. If the Mets put together a hot streak to finish out strong, he may be able to save his job. Getting back to .500 may be a good benchmark. New York would have to go 8-3 the rest of the way to reach the .500 mark; 9-2 to break it. If the Mets finish underwater, Rojas may very well be fired. If he can somehow will his crew to .500, however, he’ll have something to point to when making a case to stay.

How the Mets treat these final games could also impact the team’s offseason approach. If it seems they’re just going through the motions, it may spur the Mets to let some guys go and find a new supporting cast around Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. If New York gets hot to end the season, however, the front office may feel willing to maintain this core. Despite a disappointing outcome this year, it’s not too late for the Mets to carry some optimism into the offseason.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images

Players/Managers Mentioned:

Luis Rojas, Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor