The Mets' current four-game winning streak is their longest since the middle of May. And while it's still a long shot, they are finally moving in the right direction when it comes to a potential miracle run to win a Wild Card spot and get to the playoffs.
Entering play this past weekend, the Mets had just a 4.1 percent chance of winning a Wild Card, according to calculations provided by FanGraphs. Following Wednesday's 14-4 win against the Twins, that number went to 9.2 percent.
Baseball Prospectus has the Mets' Wild Card chances at 9.8 percent.
If you're like me and want to believe a Mets miracle run can happen, here are four things they'll need to do to have any hope of playing October baseball...
Play better on the road
To date, the Mets have a .538 winning percentage at Citi Field, while winning just 39 percent of their games on the road. Thankfully, between now and the end of the season, they play 11 more games at home than they will on the road.
The way it stands, the Brewers -- who lead the final Wild Card spot -- are on pace to win 83 games, which would be the fewest number of wins by an NL playoff team since the one-game playoff game was instituted for the 2012 season.
If the Mets keep up their current pace in Citi Field and on the road, the team will win 79 games. In other words, if they play just a tick better at home and find more success on the road, they can end with a win or two more than Milwaukee's pace of 83 wins.
Take advantage of the easiest schedule in the NL
According to both FanGraphs and ESPN's Schedule Tracker, the Mets have the easiest schedule between now and the end of the season.
For instance, while they've played badly (7-14) against the NL Central, the bulk of those games were against the Cardinals and Brewers, who they do not play again this season. On the other hand, from the same division, they still have three games to play against the Reds and six games against the Pirates. The Reds have 43 wins and the Pirates have 45 wins, which is comparable to the Mets.
The Mets have also performed well (7-4) against teams in the American League. They still have nine interleague games to go -- three each against the Royals, Indians and White Sox, with only Cleveland currently over .500.
Take care of the end of the game
This season, the Mets are 6-38 in games when trailing after six innings. In games when trailing after seven innings, they are 4-39. And when trailing after eight, they're 0-42.
At the same time, while the team's bullpen has pitched the third-fewest innings in the National League, they also have blown the most saves and lost the third-most games.
Not surprisingly, while the Mets are 5-2 in their last seven games, the bullpen has been terrific while allowing just six runs and not blowing a save during their 22 innings on the mound.
Modern baseball is simple. If you take care of the end of the game when you have a lead, you win the game. Period.
Don't subtract or mix things up, add and make it stable
Late-game rallies are often extended by simply putting the ball in play. Therefore, it might help to find at least one, everyday outfielder in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. Rumored outfielders that may be available include Nick Castellanos (Tigers), Dee Gordon (Mariners), Wil Myers (Padres), Clint Frazier (Yankees) and Whit Merrifield (Royals).
Mickey Callaway and Brodie Van Wagenen should also work to install a consistent, everyday lineup. This is not the end-all, be-all of putting together a winning streak, but it helps -- at least according to most baseball players.
Instead, this season, the Mets have used 79 different batting orders in their 95 games; 10 different people have played in the outfield. They've used five different leadoff hitters, one of which was Dominic Smith, and 10 different players have hit fifth -- two of which are no longer on the team.
On the mound, Noah Syndergaard has to be better and Van Wagenen has to keep Zack Wheeler and Jason Vargas, both of whom he is reportedly likely to trade.
In addition, Van Wagenen either needs to get more, better arms in his bullpen or hope that his current group keeps pitching like they have the past seven games.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!