New York Mets

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 10: Austin Riley #27 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates his game-winning single in the 12th inning against the Washington Nationals at Truist Park on July 10, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Brett Davis/Getty Images)

On June 1, the New York Mets were 35-17, and held a 10.5 game lead over the Atlanta Braves who were three games under .500 at 24-27. More than a month later, the Mets huge lead is now down to just 1.5 games. While the Mets have treaded water for the a better part of June and July, posting a record of 18-16, while navigating various injuries. The Braves have been on fire, winning 28 of their last 36 games, leapfrogging from under .500 to 52-35.

That’s right, the defending World Series champions are within striking distance of the Mets. Are the Amazin’s on pace for another late summer swan dive in the standings?

That is the question Mets fans are asking themselves right now.

On Sunday, New York suffered another disappointing loss, 2-0 to the Miami Marlins, while the Braves finished off a sweep of the Washington Nationals, after having taken three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals.

To say this is a huge series would be an understatement. The Mets and Braves have played only four games against one another this year, a series they split back in early May. Those were different teams then. They will have 15 games against each other the rest of the year, beginning tonight.

Seven Braves hitters are in double-digits in homeruns. Dansby Swanson is hitting the cover off the ball, leading Atlanta with a .302 batting average. Met killer Austin Riley leads the Braves in homers with 23, and Matt Olson is getting very comfortable in his new digs in the ATL.

On the mound Max Fried and Kyle Wright have been the unsung heroes of the Braves resurgence. Fried owns a record of 9-2 with a 2.52 ERA; while Wright is 10-4 with a 2.97 ERA. Another starter, Spencer Strider, has also been fantastic. Since joining the rotation in late May, Strider is 4-2 with a 2.60 ERA. He struckout a combined total of 23 batter in his last two starts against Cincinnati and St. Louis.

The Mets will see Fried and Strider in this series.

Monday is a must have for the Mets. Max Scherzer gets the ball for New York against Fried. It will be Scherzer’s second start back from the injury list. He was brilliant last week against the Reds, holding them scoreless over six innings. Scherzer is going to need run support this time around. If the Mets can win on Monday night and extend their lead to 2.5 games, they can assure themselves they will leave Atlanta with at least a half game lead in the NL East.

Tuesday, the Mets will send David Peterson to the hill against Strider. Wednesday afternoon’s matchup features struggling Chris Bassit going up against veteran Charlie Morton.

Can the Mets finally string some productive hits together? They need to if they have any plans of remaining in first place in the NL East heading to the All-Star Break.