Will the Mets break more hearts? Or will they fill their fans hearts up with hope once again?
That is the question that will be answered over the next 48 to 72 hours as the Mets play host to the San Diego Padres in a best-of-three wild card series at Citi Field.
It is the first time Major League Baseball has adopted this kind of format for the playoffs that includes six teams in each league qualifying for the tournament. In years past the wild card round was reduced to a single winner-take-all game; the Mets know all too well about that kind of situation. They’ve been on both sides of it.
In 2016 the Mets lost the wild card game to Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants, when the MadBum tossed a 3-0 shutout over New York. The Giants would lose to the eventual World Series Champion Cubs in the next round.
In 1999 the Mets watched Al Leiter toss a gem in Cincinnati as the Mets won 5-0 over the Reds to advance to the division series against Buck Schowalter’s Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets beat Buck’s D-Backs thanks to Todd Pratt’s walk-off heroics in Game 4. Then New York dueled rival Atlanta in six wild games that ended in bitter disappointment. Thanks Kenny Rogers.
Can the 2022 Mets put together a similar run as the ’99 Mets? How about the 2000 Mets or 2015 Mets who went all the way to the World Series?
And, let us not forget 1986, the last time the Mets won it all.
It’s all on the table for the Metropolitans. Max Scherzer gets the ball in Game 1 tonight against Yu Darvish.
Darvish has owned the Mets, having given up only one run in 14 innings against them. The Padres also went 4-2 against New York this year. And in case you were under a rock, the Padres acquired both Josh Bell and Juan Soto at the deadline — two players many thought the Mets would, or, should have tried to get earlier this summer.
There are two keys in this series for New York. 1) They must get the best out of Scherzer and Chris Bassit in Games 1 and 2. They would love to avoid having to go to Jacob deGrom in Game 3 if they can help it, and give him another day of rest from that blister.
2) The Mets must hit the baseball. New York struggled down the stretch offensively. A lot of that can be attributed to the absence of Starling Marte who hit .293 with 16 homers and 63 RBI this year. His bat was missed near the top of the order. Even more so his energy on the field.
The Mets didn’t hit well at all down in Atlanta last weekend, which is why they are playing tonight and not resting until Tuesday for the division series.
Can they do it? Can Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, Mark Canha, Daniel Voglebach and James McCann find their stroke in this series? Can Jeff McNeill, Eduardo Escobar and Brandon Nimmmo continue to rake as they have in September?
We will find out in a matter of hours.
PREDICTION: METS IN 3.