Playoff picture: Odds of Mets making the playoffs at 91.5 percent
Entering play on Friday, the Mets now have a full six-game lead over the Nationals with both clubs have 29 games to play in the regular season.
The Mets have not been less than five games ahead of the Nationals since August 19, although they have not been more than seven games ahead at any point this season.
As it stands on Friday, the Nationals have a softer schedule than the Mets, but that’s mainly because the Nationals do not play anyone over .500 the rest of the way, whereas the Mets have three games against the Yankees at Citi Field September 18-20. Instead, the Nationals will be playing the Orioles three times, a team that has just fallen off a cliff since the Mets played them in mid-August.
Baseball Prospectus says the odds of the Mets making it to the playoffs are 91.5 percent, and the odds of them winning the National League East are 90.9 percent.
The Mets have pulled to within 1 1/2 games of the Cubs for the second Wild Card, which could prove to at least be an insurance policy down the stretch of the season.
“Probabilities are based on thousands of Monte Carlo simulations of the remaining season schedule incorporating each team’s year-to-date run differential, current roster composition, playing time projections and remaining schedule,” according to MLB.com.
If the Mets were to go 15-14 the rest of the way, and when the weight of their schedule is considered, that would be a huge disappointment, the Nationals would still have to go 21-8 down the stretch of the season to tie the Mets and force a tiebreaker, 22-7 to win the division outright.
Given the weight of the Nationals schedule, it’s not out of the realm of possibility they will go 22-7, although they have yet to prove at any point in the season they’re capable of playing that well, regardless of the opponent.
Still, the Mets are on pace to win 90 games this year. They need to go 16-13 to get to 90 wins – when the weight of their schedule is taken into consideration, they should trend even higher than that, which will make it that much harder for the Nationals to catch them.
Simply put, regardless of what happens this weekend, the Nationals must sweep the Mets next week to even stand a realistic chance over the final three weeks of the season and to make the final three games against the Mets matter.
They’re sending out Max Scherzer to face Jon Niese on Monday, Jordan Zimmermann to face Matt Harvey on Tuesday, and tentatively it’s Stephen Strasburg against Jacob deGrom on Wednesday.
So they’re aligned to put up their best possible fight on the mound against the Mets.
But first, the Mets need to take care of business in Miami for three games this weekend and hopefully create a little more distance from the Nationals.
Washington is at home against Atlanta, a team that cannot get out of their own way at the moment, so it’s essential the Mets at least maintain their lead heading into their showdown with the Nationals on Monday.