On July 24, the Mets lost a 7-2 ballgame to the Padres, dropping their record to 46-55, 13.0 games out of first place. With the trade deadline a week away, it seemed like the Mets were in a prime position to be sellers, writing off the rest of the season and recouping prospects for their prized pitchers.
Instead, the tides changed quickly.
Since that day, the Mets have won 13 out of 14, finding themselves just a half-game back of the second Wild Card spot.They also picked up Marcus Stroman at the deadline, and have since acquired reliever Brad Brach and infielder Joe Panik.
During this recent hot streak, questions have arisen about whether or not the Mets have truly turned things around, or if they've just taken advantage of bad teams. That question could be answered loud and clear starting on Friday night, as the Mets begin a weekend set with the Nationals, who currently own a two-game lead on the first Wild Card position.
"Obviously we understand what the schedule's been, but we're playing good baseball, and if we continue to play the way that we have and sync everything up, we're not too worried about who our opponent is," Mickey Callaway said on Friday. "We have to take care of ourselves first, play to our strengths, play the game the right way, do all the small things right, and I feel like we have the talent to compete with anybody.
"Now, I'm excited that the Washington Nationals are here in front of our fans in this situation. This is what our fans deserve. There's going to be energy and it's going to be fun."
In the last few weeks, the Mets' resurgence has been one of baseball's biggest storylines. Callaway has been a part of similar win streaks in the past, both as a player and a coach, and he knows his job is to try to keep things as even-keeled as possible as outside noise gets louder and louder.
"Let's keep it going," Callaway said. "We did lose one kind of in the middle, but it feels great. The key to it is to not try to do anything different. You just keep on plugging along. You create a relaxed atmosphere. The pressure is mounting, there's no doubt about that, so we have to be even more diligent about relaxing and understanding that all we have to do is go out there and be ourselves, not let things affect us, and focus on the next pitch, and we'll be just fine."
As for Callaway himself, the Mets' manager drew a good amount of heat for the Mets' struggles, but even now that things have started to turn around, Callaway isn't paying much attention to what's said outside of his own clubhouse.
"I don't think, when I look at my job, that I'm trying to be someone special. My only motivating factor is to do something special with a group of guys," said Callaway. "So none of that stuff really bothers me. I come every day and try to do my job to the best of my ability, and that's what I hang my hat on at the end of the day.
"I think everybody' is entitled to their own opinion, and I understand at times things have not gone great, and I share in their frustrations during those times, I promise them, but my job is to be consistent, to be a leader, and to make sure these guys never quit."