When was the last time you were this excited about the Mets in August?
The team hasn't been in first place this late in the season since the 2008 season - that's really something. It's an important month for a team that is trending way, way, up, so let's take a look at where the opportunities lie.
The Mets play 25 games for the rest of August including tonight's game against the Marlins. Only 11 of those 25 are at home, and we all know the Mets have struggled on the road, so it could be a complicated month of traveling.
With that said, the opponents could be a lot worse. Frankly.... it's a really easy schedule. The Mets have the easiest schedule in the league for the rest of the way, and for the most part August figures to be a breeze - or so we think.
A mid-month series at home against Pittsburgh is the standout. The Pirates lead the Wild Card chase by a pretty comfortable margin, and if the Mets want to keep their routes to the playoffs open, they'll want to take 2 out of 3 in that one. Beyond that, though, there isn't much to be afraid of.
The Rockies are terrible, and the Mets somehow get the privilege of playing them seven - yes, seven - times this month. Not to mention five against the league-worst Phillies and a home series with the Red Sox, bottom in the AL East.
That's only one series against a likely playoff team. Bottom line, the teams the Mets line up with this month don't figure to be the problem; the real challenge is going to be keeping the energy up in the Mets clubhouse.
Will the pitching last?
August means the dog days of summer, and that means players can get tired. There is some concern that the Mets young arms are on their way to throwing too many innings and may not be fully available come playoff time, so the easy schedule means that they could use a few spot starters to give the young fellas some extra rest.
That could mean the occasional start from long-lost Dillon Gee or Logan Verrett, which would be totally fine with me. Obviously, the focus needs to be winning each game, but it's also true that we can't overextend Syndergaard in his rookie season or Harvey in his first year back from surgery. So, if the Mets win the first two games of a series against the Sox, for example, I'd be OK with calling up Gee for a start - it's not like he's incapable of throwing a good game. He was a major leaguer for a long time, and there's every chance the Mets could still win the game against a lackluster opponent.
Return of the Captain?
David Wright took batting practice today! It's a beautiful thing to know that the face of the franchise could return in August to play his first games since early April. Even with all the new bats in the lineup and the total glut of infielders, there's no one that wouldn't welcome back Wright with open arms. Bringing Wright back could relegate someone like Uribe to the bench full time, but it lengthens the lineup and strengthens the bench, two things that are huge for a team making a playoff push.
It's a big month for these Mets, as they try to convince everyone that the weekend series sweep of the Nationals was no fluke. I'm confident that this team has what it takes, and capitalizing on a potentially straightforward August will go a long way in making our dreams come true.