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Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active with Yogi passing it brings back all of the memories of his days with the Mets and leading them to an improbable World Series appearance in 1973. Of course anyone and everyone with any knowledge about the Mets recalls that 1973 was the year of "Ya Gotta Believe!" And after the first half of the season...and even heading into the latter part of July, the team hung in there, and then once reinforcements arrived, you really had to get back into the Ya Gotta Believe groove.

But since the bombardment of the Rockies in Colorado and the Phillies thereafter in Philadelphia, the team has not looked all that formidable. Even through the recent 8-game winning streak, things looked a bit shaky. That streak ended with the team losing six of the next eight games to finish a home stand at 3-6. And the way it all happened really is concerning.

TugMcGrawYaGottaBelieveThe Mets won the first game of each of the  three three-game series, only to drop the second and third games of each one. And even though they won the three games, they did not look any close to being the dominant team they appeared to be for much of the month of August. They say that a team is never as good as they are when they are at their best...and never as bad as they are when they are at their worst. But if the Mets are heading into post-season play - thanks in large part to the Nationals horrific season - playing the kind of baseball they have been playing the last couple of weeks. there will be a quick exit.

The hitting has tailed off considerably. The Mets seem to have gotten Homer-happy and their swings are long and they continue to strike out way too often. The middle relief corps is simply horrible as it has been all season, with the exception of a few bright spots every now and then from Sean Gilmartin. But I would truly like to know why Eric O'Flaherty ever takes the mound during a game. Tyler Clippard was masterful for a time, and he looks like he has hit the wall. His last few appearances have been dreadful. Jeurys Familia appears to be tiring as he, too, has had a diffult time recently. And other than Matt Harvey's five inning stint against the Yankees, the Mets big three of Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard have not only looked human, they look fatigued AND very hittable. Steven Matz has looked good in his return from the DL but the starter who has looked the best recently has been Bartolo Colon. Even Jonathan Niese has looked better.

So even the Mets strongest asset going into a short playoff series, the group of Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, and Matz...does not look as fearsome as it did a few weeks back. Couple that with the fact that the team is making silly bonehead plays in the field, and baserunning mistakes that Little Leaguers don't even make, and rather than "Ya Gotta Believe!" it makes you think more of Jimmy Breslin's "Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?"

Yeah...the magic number to clinching is going down and the Mets are getting closer to clinching a playoff berth. But if things don't turn around soon, the playoffs won't last very long for this team.

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Alan Karmin is an award-winning journalist and author. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and spent most of his life growing up in the New Jersey suburbs. Alan's family were avid Brooklyn Dodgers fans and when the Dodgers moved west, the Mets became the team to root for. The Mets have always been a true focal point, Alan even wrote a term paper in high school to analyze what was wrong with the Mets. While at the University of Miami, Alan honed his craft covering the, gulp, Yankees during spring trainings in Fort Lauderdale for a local NBC affiliate, as well as the Associated Press and UPI. He broadcasted baseball games for the University of Miami, and spring training games for the Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. New York Mets Mania is a forum for Alan to write about his favorite team and for baseball fans to chime in and provide their thoughts and ideas about New York's Amazin' Mets.