Tuesday, September 15, 2009

17 Games Left: Can The Mets Hold Off The Nats?

We have reached the most critical stretch of games for the Mets this season. The Mets now have 17 games left in the season after tonight's loss to the Braves. Even a casual Mets fan knows the significance of that number. The Mets held their biggest divisional leads in 2007 and 2008 after their 145th games of each season. They had a 7-game lead with 17 games left in 2007 and a 3½-game lead in 2008 at the same point. In 2007 and 2008, the Mets finished 5-12 and 7-10, respectively. Those poor finishes kept the Mets from crashing the playoff party each year.

Now, we're in 2009 and the Mets have a 12½-game lead over the Washington Nationals with 17 games to play. That might seem like a big lead but remember, the Nats still have six head-to-head games left with the Mets. Those games could erase almost half of the lead should the Mets lose them all. The pressure is now on. Can they hold on to their lead or will they blow it again this year and fail to hold on to their stranglehold on fourth-place?

Studious Metsimus was able to locate some of the most famous 17s in franchise history for their opinions on the topic. The results were quite varied, to say to the least.

Jose Lima
"The Mets wouldn't have choked in '07 and '08 had I been there. Remember '06, when they let me go? What happened then? Did they make the World Series? The Red Sox had the Curse of the Bambino and the Cubs have the Curse of the Billy Goat. I gave the Mets the Curse of Lima Time! Also, had I still been there, we would have had more Merengue Nights! Buy my CD, dropping next Tuesday!"

Mr. Koo
"Why do you call me Mr. Koo? My name is Dae Sung. I have no opinion about the Mets and the Nats. I'm still hurt from when I slid into the bat against the Yankees."

Graeme Lloyd
"I wore #17 for the Mets? I don't even remember being on the Mets! Everything is a blur since I was in that fight against the Orioles when I was a Yankee. I hope you don't show the picture of me missing with a right hook."

Felix Millan
"As a member of teams that did well (1973 pennant-winning Mets) and teams that didn't do so great (1977 Midnight Massacre Mets), I think the Mets will hold off the Nats and at the same time, they will not hold off the Nats. By the way, I'm now bipolar and have identity problems. For some reason, when I go out, people think of I'm some guy named Keith Hernandez. Who's this Keith Hernandez guy? I'm Felix Millan!"

Keith Hernandez
"I'm Keith Hernandez."

There you have it, SMFs. It looks like no one knows where the Mets will finish this year. The magic number to clinch fourth place is now down to 6. If the Mets can split their remaining six games against Washington, they can go back to their losing ways that they've become so fond of.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. If I did that, I might start looking like Brainy Smurf before they clinch (if they clinch?) fourth place. The Mets have teased us too many times before. I won't rest easy until that magic number is down to zero. Then and only then will I pop the cork!

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