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Mets trying to balance optimism with reality as NL East hopes fade – Boston Herald


Count members of the Mets clubhouse as fans of the AppleTV show “Ted Lasso.”

The Mets are still hoping for a scenario in which the Atlanta Braves are swept by the Miami Marlins this week and they have a chance to play for the NL East title on Wednesday. The winner of the division will advance straight to the NLDS.

You won’t find anyone dwelling on the losses in the Mets’ clubhouse, but realistically the Mets know they blew their chance at a division title over the weekend when they were swept in Atlanta. They’re trying to look ahead and forget about the weekend as they host the Washington Nationals in the final three games of the regular season.

Or as famed fictional soccer coach Ted Lasso would say, they’re trying to be goldfish.

“I’ve said it before this year, but you have to be like a goldfish, and you have to just forget the day before and move on,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo said Tuesday afternoon before the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field. “You can definitely be dragged down a path of like, ‘Oh, you guys failed, you didn’t win the division and you let it slip out of your hands.’ Sure, you can say all those things.

“But you can also say all these positive things about how we have a chance to be a 100-win team, how we are in the playoffs after a six-year drought and we’ve done a lot of really good things individually, too.”

The 100-win mark is a particular point of emphasis for this team. It’s a meaningful benchmark in baseball to begin with, but for this particular franchise, it marks a new start of sorts. The Mets have only had three seasons of 100 or more wins in club history with the most recent coming in 1988.

There is no sense of failure among the group. They’ve been keeping it light and loose since returning from Atlanta. The clubhouse was mostly consumed with a heated game of pool before the game Tuesday and the atmosphere was upbeat. The goal is just to move on and put themselves in a position to succeed during the postseason.

The inspiration they’re drawing from? The 2021 Braves.

“We still know it’s a long shot to win the division,” Nimmo said. “But we’re in the playoffs and we have the chance to be a 100-win team. So there are a lot of good things that are still on the radar for us. We know that just getting into the playoffs gives you a chance. I mean, the Braves were a team that got hot last year.”

NOT OVER YET

Rain is forecasted through Tuesday night and much of Wednesday in the New York area, which poses a challenge for a three-game series. The MLB regular season concludes Wednesday but there is a chance the Mets and Nationals will have to play Thursday if the division is still on the line.

“I’m in,” manager Buck Showalter said. “That’s a good thing, right? What’s the downside of that?”

The downside is, of course, that they could lose and end up having to play a wild card game the next day. And then there is the other variable: Jeff McNeil’s batting title. A shortened or canceled game could cost him a few at-bats, which might be enough for Freddie Freeman or Paul Goldschmidt to overtake him for the title.

The Braves can clinch with just one win but if the Mets do still have a chance to win then Jacob deGrom would likely pitch, which would take him out of a potential wild card round.

“He’s available to pitch tomorrow and potentially could,” Showalter said. “It’s one of the many options.”

MINOR LEAGUE AWARDS

The club announced their minor league player of the year awards Tuesday, naming third baseman Brett Baty the player of the year and right-hander Dominic Hamel the pitcher of the year. Infielder Jesus Baez and outfielder Dyron Campos were named the Mets’ DSL complex players of the Year while right-hander Wilson Esterlin received the pitcher of the year award in the same category.

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