Mets looking to take page from Blues

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Hey, if the St. Louis Blues can do it, why not the New York Mets?

Fifty years after the Miracle Mets bounced back from seven consecutive losing seasons to win the franchise’s first World Series in 1969, the Mets are suddenly looking miraculous.

Less than two months after the Blues pulled off a worst-to-first coup by winning Lord’s Stanley Cup after sitting in last place in January, the Mets are officially a playoff contender after sweeping the Miami Marlins in Monday’s doubleheader.

Heading into Tuesday, they were over the .500 mark for the first time since May 2, they’d won 11 of 12 and they were sporting a 17-6 mark since the All-Star break, when they had the second-worst record in the National League.

That was early July.

On July 25 they were eight games back in the N.L. wild-card race. Tuesday these modern-day Miracle Mets were 2 1/2 games off the pace and – gulp! – dare I say it, just 8 1/2 back of the Atlanta Braves in the N.L. East.

So why is it happening, and can it continue?

The Mets have taken advantage of a rather weak second-half schedule, so far, as the six teams they’ve played out of the Midsummer Classic were a combined 55-82 since the All-Star Break.

After finishing up with the Marlins, they host the Nationals; then they travel to Atlanta and Kansas City; they return to Queens to host Cleveland, Atlanta and Chicago; and they close August in Philadelphia. Five of those six teams have records above .500 and are in contention for a playoff spot.

It doesn’t get any easier in September, either, with a trip to Washington D.C.; then visits from Philadelphia, Arizona and Los Angeles; their final trip of the season goes to Denver and Cincinnati; and they’ll close the campaign at home against Miami and Atlanta.

But with the Blues laying the blueprint on the ice, another sports miracle is certainly possible when we’re talking about the ‘other’ team from New York.

Now let’s get to this week’s action:

Thursday

Phillies at Giants: The Giants aren’t that far off in the N.L. wild-card race and need to keep the pressure applied if they plan on making a run next month. That means improving at home. They went into Tuesday’s game against the Nationals with a 25-29 mark at home, and one game under .500 overall this season.

They couldn’t have asked for a better pitcher to oppose in this series-opener, as Philadelphia’s Drew Smyly is just 2-6 with a 7.01 ERA on the year. He struggled on Sunday against the White Sox, allowing five runs in five innings, including a grand slam, and now faces a hungry Giants lineup that has improved since that start of July. GIANTS

Rockies at Padres: Going to roll with the road team here, as I expect the Rockies to continue their hitting domination of San Diego starter Eric Lauer. It’s strange, because the Padres’ southpaw has been splendid against the front-running Dodgers with a 4-0 career mark and 1.72 ERA, but has struggled to contain the Rockies, going 0-3 with a 12.51 ERA in four starts.

I know the Rockies’ offense has struggled on the road this season, but if there is one pitcher they can get to, it’ll be Lauer. PADRES

Friday

Cubs at Reds: In the second game of this series, I’m going to roll with Cincinnati. The Reds entered Tuesday’s interleague clash with the Angels going 7-3 in their last 10. Their hitting has emerged out of nowhere, after being non-existent earlier this season, balancing out one of the better pitching staffs in baseball.

The Reds will send trade deadline acquisition Trevor Bauer to the mound for his home debut, and he’ll be looking to make a statement. He’ll have confidence, as he’s 3-0 with an 0.46 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs. REDS

Last week: 1-2

Season: 26-27

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About the Author

W.G. Ramirez

W.G. Ramirez is a 32-year veteran covering sports in Southern Nevada, and resident of 46 years. He is a freelance reporter in Las Vegas and the Southern Nevada correspondent for The Associated Press.

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