Last week, Will asked a reasonable question as the All-Star break came to an end: Can the Mets do this again in the second half? They'd exceeded expectations in the first half but still had some question marks, not to mention 76 more games to play, beginning with six in a row against the top two teams in their division. It's too soon, of course, to answer that question definitively, but after one weekend, the early results aren't promising. The Mets got swept in Atlanta this weekend, and it was all sorts of discouraging. On Friday night, they fell behind 5-0 early and couldn't recover. Saturday's loss was especially rough: R.A. Dickey allowed five earned runs, but the Mets rallied to take the lead before the bull pen gave it back in the eighth. (Also: This bit of nuttiness happened in the fifth.) Then yesterday, they were shut out for six innings by Ben Sheets, who shares a name with a guy who used to be really good for Milwaukee many years ago. (What's that? That was the Ben Sheets who pitched yesterday? Well, then, good for him!) In any case, the Mets are 6.5 games out of first now, and 3.5 back in the Wild Card standings. Six of their next nine are against the first-place Nats, beginning tomorrow night in Washington.
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