Less than two months ago, when the Braves took two of three from the Mets in New York, the franchise was on a downward spiral. It was their first home series following manager Mickey Calloway’s confrontation with a reporter. Calloway was deemed a dead man walking.
Now, once 11 games under .500, the Mets have assembled a franchise-best surge. They’ve won 14 of 16 games, thrusting them into the wild card race with a 61-57 record. They’ve leapfrogged the Phillies by a game in the National League East. They’re within 1-1/2 games of the Nationals.
That doesn’t mean the Braves have much to fear, though the Mets have shrunken a 14-1/2 game deficit to eight. The Mets, for all their flaws and seemingly endless drama, stack up well in a postseason series. It isn’t a rotation any team – the Braves, Dodgers or Cubs – would want to face.
The Braves have nine games with the Mets remaining, including six in August. Six of those will be played in Flushing. That isn’t to say the Mets will make the Braves sweat out the division race’s finish, but it does mean the Braves will be facing a potent opponent that could affect their seeding.
And so perhaps some flavor to the Braves-Mets rivalry will be restored. The Mets have been irrelevant through the Braves’ rise of the past two seasons. If New York’s recent run isn’t just a flash in the pan, maybe the next era of Braves-Mets will begin sooner than expected.