The New York Mets were sitting pretty two weeks ago after winning two out of three against the National League’s best team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and with a stretch of games upcoming that was softer than a pillow.

At 84-48 and three games ahead of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, things were looking up for the Mets with 21 of their next 24 games against sub-.500 teams after weathering an August filled with games against the Dodgers, Braves, Phillies, and Yankees.

A Struggle in September for the Mets

But after Jacob DeGrom looked human and the offense didn’t offer any support in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, the Mets started that 24-game stretch with just a 5-6 record. Compare that to August, when 20 of the team’s 30 games were against teams likely to make the playoffs. Against that much more difficult slate, New York was 20-10.

Both the offense and pitching haven’t produced at levels that they were for most of the season, but New York’s production in the heart of the order has noticeably decreased.

The Braves, meanwhile, beat the sub-.500 teams on its schedule to start the month and won on Tuesday in San Francisco to snap a three-game losing streak (two to Seattle, one to the Giants) to tie the Mets in the loss column with three weeks left to go in the regular season.

Mets Still Slightly Favored in NL East Futures Odds

While the gap has closed considerably since Sept. 1, New York remains slight favorites to capture the National League East over its rivals. Here are the current odds from FanDuel.

TEAMCURRENT ODDS TO WIN NL EASTODDS TO WIN NL EAST ON SEPT. 1
New York Mets-210-500
Atlanta Braves+160+300

Why Are the Mets Still Favored With the Division Tied?

The overall schedule still plays in the Mets favor, assuming that they get back on track against teams they should be easily handling. They are in danger of being swept for the first time all season in a three-game series when they host the Cubs tonight. After that game, the schedule is as follows:

  • 4 vs. Pittsburgh
  • 3 at Milwaukee
  • 3 at Oakland
  • 2 vs. Miami
  • 3 at Atlanta
  • 3 vs. Washington

The Braves play the rubber game of a three-game set with the Giants and then look like this down the stretch:

  • 3 vs. Philadelphia
  • 3 vs. Washington
  • 4 at Philadelphia
  • 3 at Washington
  • 3 vs. NY Mets
  • 3 at Miami

Seven of the Braves’ next 10 against the Phillies, who are battling for a wild card spot, is likely why the Mets are still slightly favored to win the division.

In addition, the Mets got infielder Luis Guillorme back from the injured list and could have pitchers Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill back next week. The only player who may be out for an extended period of time is All-Star Starling Marte, who suffered a break in his hand when he was hit by a pitch last week.

Finally, there will be no one-game playoff for the division title this year, and the tiebreaker is head-to-head games. The Mets currently lead the season series against Atlanta by one game, so all they would have to do to earn the tiebreaker is win one of the three games remaining in Atlanta from Sept. 30-Oct. 2. If that happens, the Braves would then have to earn an extra game over the Mets in the standings and have to beat them outright in order to win the division.

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