Mets can establish themselves as serious NL wild card threats with upcoming divisional series

May 4, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza (64) comes out to the mound to talk with pitcher Adam Ottavino (0), catcher Tomas Nido (3), first base Pete Alonso (20), shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) and third base Brett Baty (22) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning  at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Mets are 19-20 after winning the final game of their three-game set against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, calling into question whether they are real wild card threats as the No. 7 seed in the National League.

Adam Ottavino discusses the Mets’ inconsistencies

mlb: game two-miami marlins at new york mets, adam ottavino
Sep 27, 2023; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) delivers a pitch during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have had their moments this season, but have lacked cohesion. Per Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Mets starting pitcher Adam Ottavino touched on New York’s inconsistencies amid their current third-place position in the NL East:

“We have one of those teams right now that we can look really good for a stretch and we can look not so good for a stretch, depending on the quality of our starts and if the offense is clicking in a given week,” Ottavino said. “We have had games where we look really good in both areas and times when we don’t. I think we are right where we should be record-wise based on how we have played.”

Mets have been hot and cold to start the 2024 MLB season

jose quintana, mets
Feb 28, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jose Quintana (62) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Houston Astros at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets were really good in early April. They overcame an 0-5 start to the year by going 12-3 from the second game of their back-to-back-back set on April 4 until April 20 and finished it off with a six-game winning streak.

New York has also not looked really good, particularly when Jose Quintana and Adrian Houser have taken the mound, going 1-7 between both starters. Their defense as a whole has not looked like a championship front thus far.

Now hovering around .500, the Mets have two upcoming season series’ that will greatly prove them in the National League. New York will first take on the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies, who sit atop the NL East at 28-13 and have won eight of their last 10 games.

After that, the Mets will see the division-worst Miami Marlins for a brief three-game break from elite competition before the Cleveland Guardians (25-16) who own the sixth-highest win percentage (.610) in the MLB present them with another challenging three-game slate.

The Mets will have their defensive woes put to the test against a pair of World Series contenders

May 4, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA;  New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza (64) comes to the mound to take out pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2024; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Mets manager Carlos Mendoza (64) comes to the mound to take out pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the eighth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

New York has several areas to address as they get ready to take on two World Series contenders. For one, they need a solution for their MLB-leading 175 walks that their pitching staff has coughed up through the early portion of the year.

The Phillies hit for both average (.261 BA) and power (49 home runs), ranking No. 2 and No. 5 in the Majors in both respective categories. The Guardians also hit for power with 45 bombs, ranking No. 8 in the MLB. That will put pressure on the Mets to land in the strike zone without coughing up big hits.

The Mets also need to get a hold of their .983 fielding percentage, which is tied for fourth-worst in the MLB. They have 24 errors in 39 games played and are No. 22 among all teams with their opponents putting up a .321 on-base percentage in 2024.

Both Philadelphia and Cleveland excel at the plate and in between bases, ranking in the top 8 in both triples and stolen bases on the year.

If the Mets can succeed in the win column while containing these potent offenses and get their juices flowing at the plate, they’ll have a chance at moving up from the No. 7 seed to the No. 6 seed and second wild card spot in the National League.

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