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The Mets Are Still in the (Pretend) Playoffs!

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21:  Kirk Nieuwenhuis #9 of the New York Mets grounds into a into a fielder's choice in the ninth inning as Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants looks on at Citi Field on April 21, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) Did nobody tell Kirk he gets to use a bat?

Rainouts are a bigger deal this year than they usually are in baseball. (They're usually just "annoying but harmless.") This year, because of the shoehorned-in-at-the-last-second extra Wild Card spot, days at the end of the season that would usually be earmarked for makeups of rainouts will be used for tiebreakers and the extra Wild Card coin-flip game. Game One of the World Series starts on October 24, and the regular season ends on October 3, which means MLB has twenty days to fit in rainout makeups, tiebreakers, the extra Wild Card coin-flip game, both Division Series, and both League Championship Series. So rainouts are a real problem. The Yankees' rainout yesterday will probably be made up when they're in Fenway again in July. The Mets' rainout, because it's against the Giants, who won't be returning to Citi Field this year, is being taken care of today, with a single-admission doubleheader. That'll cost MLB and the Mets some money, a single-admission twin bill, but desperate times, as they say.

Speaking of that second Wild Card, if the season ended today — and we repeat, if the season ended today, it would only be because of some tragic national calamity, we weep for our nation — the Mets would have it! They really would. Here's how the playoffs (in both leagues, actually) would look, were the national tragedy to befall us:

American League
Toronto Blue Jays/Chicago White Sox (Wild Card coin-flip winner) versus Texas Rangers
New York Yankees versus Detroit Tigers

National League
New York Mets/Atlanta Braves (Wild Card coin-flip winner) versus Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals versus Washington Nationals

Hey, go NL East! Three teams! The two games against the Giants in this series so far have been a bit batty, with each team doing everything in its power to lose each game late. (We picked the Giants to go to the World Series in the preseason, but watching that team this weekend, we're not so sure that was the smartest pick. They just don't have enough bats.) But the Mets are still hanging in there at 8-6, with today's doubleheader (with the imposing pitching duo of Dillon Gee and Miguel Batista) before three more home games with the Marlins. Then they have a reasonable road trip to Colorado and Houston. If you want to see the Mets in the next month, you'd better do it this week: After this Miami series, they only have three more home games until May 14.

The Mets' pitching has been fairly predictable, but it's definitely worth noting that not only is David Wright hitting the bejesuses out of the ball — he's second in the National League in OPS — but also Josh Thole and Kirk Nieuwenhuis are playing outstandingly as well. Thole is second among National League catchers in OPS, and Nieuwenhuis is second in the NL among center fielders in OPS. Those are handy little pieces to have.

Can they keep it up? Probably not. But as long as the Mets are in the playoffs "if the season ended today," we promise to inform you, every Monday. The Red Sox are 4-10. The Mets are 8-6. This is progress!

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Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images