Come on, raise your hand if you thought this was even possible in the middle of August?
The Mets (87-74) get a chance to defend their National League Championship crown after beating the Phillies 5-3 and clinching the top Wild Card spot. They will now host the Wild-Card game on Wednesday night at Citi Field against either the St. Louis Cardinals or the San Francisco Giants. The Wild-Card winner will head to Chicago to play the 100+ win Cubs in the best of five National League Divisional Series.
On August 20th, the Mets were sitting at 60-62 and had just lost the first two games of a four game series against the Giants in San Francisco. They were 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for the final Wild-Card spot and both the Pirates and Marlins were ahead of them. They were 7.5 games behind the Giants (68-55), who were in First Place in the NL West at the time, ahead of the Dodgers by a game.
Bartolo Colon and Noah Syndergaard won the final two games to split the Giants series, then the Mets went into St. Louis and won two out of three. The Mets went on to win 9 of 11 to close out what started out to be a miserable August, then posted a 17-10 September. They only needed one win in October to make up almost eight games in the standings. They had a major league best 27-12 over that period of time.
Now they Mets face a one game playoff for the right to play in the NLDS, setting up a rematch with the Cubs, whom they swept in the NLCS last year.
This is only the second time in franchise history that the Mets were able to get to the post season in consecutive seasons. In 1999 and 2000, they lost in the NLCS to the Braves in 1999, then lost to the Yankees in the 2000 World Series.
Bartolo Colon (15-8) gets the clinching win, allowing just two runs and five hits in his five innings. Colon struck out four of the first eight Phillies he faced and will finish with the most wins on the team this season.
When asked about being the winning pitcher in the clincher, the 43 year-old Colon said, “This is very meaningful for me. It’s hard for me to believe I’m here at this age.”
Should the Mets advance to the NLDS against Chicago, Colon will most likely start the series. Colon was used exclusively out of the bullpen in the 2015 post season as Matt Harvey, Syndergard, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz made all the starts. Now if the Mets expect to go deep into this post season, it will be Colon and Syndergaard sharing the bulk of the load.
James Loney put the Mets ahead for good with his 9th home run, a two-run shot in the 6th inning to make it 4-2.
Jeurys Familia got his franchise record 51st save of the season.
Sunday’s regular season finale will see most of the regulars getting the day off including Wednesday’s starter, Noah Syndergaard. There was talk Syndergaard might pitch a few innings, but that is not going to happen.
POSITIVES: Mets Bullpen put up 22 2/3 scoreless innings until Darin Ruf hit a home run in the 8th inning … Curtis Granderson is 12-23 this week … Addison Reed got his 40th “hold” and finished the regular season with a 1.97 ERA …
NEGATIVES: Nah, not today!
Paul DiSclafani is a featured author at “A View From the Bench”, an official affiliate of MLB.com. “A View from the Bench” is recognized in the Top 100 of MLB.com/blogs.