After sweeping the Nationals this past weekend and dismantling the Marlins, 12-1, on Monday, the New York Mets (56-50) have won four straight games and have overtaken Washington (54-50) in the NL East.
They Mets might not let up either.
“They play nobody the rest of the month,” Boston Globe national MLB writer Nick Cafardo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “They should win a majority of those games. Not that the Nationals have a tough schedule, but they got to play the Giants in the middle there. So the Mets have an incredible opportunity here to really spread that lead out a little bit – or at least put Washington two or or three games back by the end of the month. So they got a great shot here.”
The Mets play the Marlins, Rays, Rockies, Pirates, Orioles, Rockies (again), Phillies and Red Sox this month. They also host the Nationals in the final weekend of the season Oct. 2-4.
“That’s what you want,” Cafardo said. “It’s just like some of the old days when the Red Sox and Yankees played right at the end when both teams were good. It’s shaping up like that with the Mets/Washington rivalry now.”
The Nationals, however, have lost seven of 10, including four straight.
“Washington is just a complete enigma to me,” Cafardo said. “I picked them to be in the World Series the last three years now, so I’ve just about given up on them. They have very good players. It’s just that a lot of them really aren’t having good years. I thought they did a great thing getting (Jonathan) Papelbon to really secure the back end of the bullpen, which every team needs to do this time of the year and the postseason, so they did a good job with that. (Bryce) Harper is just carrying them most of the year. Some of the other guys just haven’t done much.”
The Mets, on the other hand, hung tough with the worst offense in baseball before adding some hitters before the deadline, including Yoenis Cespedes, who had three doubles and four RBIs against Miami on Monday.
“The Mets did a good job getting the hitters, (but) I’m not a big Cespedes fan,” Cafardo admitted. “We had him in Boston. He was unwilling to play right field. He was unwilling to take balls off the wall to practice. But he can hit. I still don’t understand the whole Carlos Gomez thing. I think he would have been an ideal player for them. But Kelly Johnson, another guy who did nothing for Yankees or the Red Sox last year, had a pretty good year in Atlanta and I think he’s going to help. I’ve always liked (Juan) Uribe as a utility-type guy, so they really improved themselves offensively.”
Cespedes, it is worth noting, is playing for his fourth team in two years. For a guy with that much hype, a lot of teams sure are willing to move him.
Why is that?
“He’s a good hitter, but he’s not a great hitter; he’s an outfielder who has a great arm but he’s not a great outfielder,” Cafardo said. “So you’re looking toward his free agency years now, and I’m sure (he’s) going to demand a lot of money and he’s probably not going to be worth the money that some teams are going to pay him. He’s one of those players that is not as good as you think. But I will say this. He’s a streaky guy, so if he’s on a good streak, he’s going to help you. Listen, he’s certainly better than anything the Mets had before they acquired him, so that’s already an improvement right there. I’m just saying he’s not what you think he is.”