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The Mets return to action tonight having won 8 of their last 10 games, while trailing the Braves and Nationals by seven games in the NL East.

“We’re playing very, very good baseball, and we plan on giving them a run for their money," David Wright said before leaving Citi Field this past weekend (ESPN, July 13).

"We've shown we can compete,” manager Terry Collins said after Sunday’s win. "We’ve got 35 games left in our division. Now, we’ve got to go out and do it. We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to go do it. If we continue to play like this, September is going to be a fun month.”

The Mets are 1-5 against Washington and 6-7 against the Braves, but 8-5 against Miami and 6-3 against Philadelphia.

However, the second half kicks off tonight with a more rigorous task, starting in San Diego and moving through Seattle and Milwaukee before bringing the Mets back to Citi Field on Monday, July 28.

“We have a lot of positive things going for us right now," Wright said about the state of the team entering Friday's play. "It will be a tough road trip for us, but I think that will be a nice test coming out the gate. I hope we’re up for it.”

The Mets need to go 36-31 to finish the season with a .500 record. I actually think they can do it. The thing is, by nature of the schedule and the amount of games they play in the division, if they do go 36-31, it will mean they did some solid winning against the Braves and Nationals, which also means - Terry is right - September could be fun.

Why do I believe 36-31 is possible, despite the Mets going 40-45 the first half? I like what Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Wright are doing at the top of the lineup, in front of Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud, all of whom have turned into very nice hitters the last month or so. The team is scoring runs and they're set up to have that continue, regardless of whether Sandy Alderson acquires extra offense. I love what Jenrry Mejia and Jeurys Familia are bringing to the table in the back of the bullpen. These two, plus the rotation, means the Mets should have a real chance of winning every night.

The one concern I have is their age. Young players, especially young pitchers, tend to hit August and fade. It's a long season, it's a grind, and the younger guys may not have experience managing their body over a full 162 games. They got a bit burned out, they press, they panic, and the Mets have a good number of players who could fall in to this trap. It will take Terry Collins, his coaches, Wright, Jon Niese, Murphy, Granderson, Chris Young, etc., guys who have been around the block several times, to keep theme young men motivated, rested and focused. This, as much as anything, is part of the process of building a winning team and culture. I think they have the right mix, and I hope I get to find out how it plays out...

Tags: matthewcerrone, avsny, MetsBlog , Matthew Cerrone
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