July 13, 2012 12:00 AM
" Baseball finally returns on Friday night and the Mets will not get a chance to ease themselves back into the swing of things.
They head to Atlanta, who lead them by a half-game in the NL East and for the Wild Card, for three games this weekend and then they will move on to Washington for three games against the division-leading Nationals.
Six games aren't going to tell us anything that we don't already know about these teams, but they could give us some guidance about where the Mets should go from here.
If they have a winning week, they'll push their way from wishful to hopeful on the playoff meter and increase the likelihood that Sandy Alderson will make moves to push the needle even further in the right direction. The NL East has no juggernaut and gaining on Washington before Stephen Strasburg gets shut down makes it even more likely that the Mets can hang around the top the rest of the way.
A losing week doesn't knock them out of anything, but it will obviously make the math a little more difficult "
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