Yesterday was a day when New York Mets fans applauded in front of the radio or TV as the team clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006. It was a day of celebration, yet there is anxiety forming when we look at the future that awaits the Mets.
Back in 2006, the Mets featured a veteran team filled with playoff experience, as Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Tom Glavine, and Pedro Martinez created a strong veteran presence. The team started off playing the Los Angeles Dodgers, who the 2015 Mets will also start off playing.
Good news! If history is bound to repeat itself, the 2015 squad will sweep the Dodgers. The Mets had home field advantage during this series, and currently, the team is fighting for that opportunity. Terry Collins will have to find that line between being competitive for the chance to play three out of five games at home, while resting his players so that they are fresh and ready to go.
Both teams have changed quite a bit, but both faces of the franchise remain, as either the first or second game of the series will feature David Wright against Clayton Kershaw, which should be an exciting matchup for fans. The other remaining Dodger is Andre Ethier, who has had a bounce back season after struggling for the past few seasons.
So if the Mets advance to the NLCS, the nightmares may come back for Mets fans. In 2006, the NL East champions played the St. Louis Cardinals, who always seem to be playing baseball into deep October. There were plenty of memories that will bring a smile, as Endy Chavezâs amazing catch almost solidified that the Mets were going to win the World Series that year. The one scene that will be engraved into fans for a long time is the nasty curveball 24-year-old Adam Wainwright broke off that buckled Beltranâs knees in the bottom of the ninth to end the series. The scary part of this scene is Wainwright has been a starter for his career, but due to an injury that has kept him out for most of the season; there is a chance that he will be moved to the bullpen. This sets up a déjà vu atmosphere, which does not look favorable.
The Cardinals have battled injuries all season, while the Mets (who also have had plenty of injuries to overcome) are pretty healthy heading into October. Juan Uribe‘s injury could be a big upset, as his clubhouse presence and right-handed bat have been huge additions since the trade deadline.
As of now, this is all hypothetical, as the Cardinals are going to play either the Chicago Cubs or the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both teams have played great baseball throughout the season, so the Cardinals may not even make it to the NLCS. Likewise, the Mets will have to defeat the Dodgers in order to advance in the playoffs.
Now that the division is clinched, it will be fun to see Collins manage the team in order for everyone to be fresh and ready to go when the playoffs come. It would also be fun for a 2006 rematch against the Cardinals, as the Mets have a young, energetic group of players that do not shy away from the spotlight, but embrace it. October is going to be a great month; even if we end up playing the Cards.