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Schedule will stay easy for Mets and Nationals

Both the Mets and Nationals will continue to feast on vulnerable foes to close out the season.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After the Mets showed they meant business by sweeping the Washington Nationals, stealing the NL East title went from a distant possibility to an entirely realistic outcome. Fresh off those three monumental wins, The Wall Street Journal's Jared Diamond noted that the Mets' upcoming schedule represented baseball's easiest batch of opposition, with the Nationals ranking second.

Playing the strength of schedule game often fails. Bad teams can catch fire, and a club's best pitchers could happen to take the hill during the series. The Mets, however, have fully capitalized on their easy offerings, entering Wednesday night with a combined 12-0 August record against the Miami Marlins, Colorado Rockies, and Philadelphia Phillies.

Good news: There's little tough sledding on the way. Including Wednesday and Thursday, the Mets get eight more games against the Phillies, seven versus the Atlanta Braves, and six against the Miami Marlins. They'll also collide with the last-place Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds, giving them just nine remaining games against teams with winning records—including three against the Yankees in late September.

The Nationals also get to feast on the NL East, enjoying nine games against Miami. But at least they have to deal with the St. Louis Cardinals next week. Along with dropping four games to the San Francisco Giants, they split their six slates with Colorado, allowing the Mets to seize a five-game advantage. Yet the preseason favorites are fully healthy for the first time all year, making them poised for a scorching September against a cupcake schedule.

Their six head-to-head bouts will obviously prove monumental, with their season-finale showdown possibly marking the most important games in Citi Field history if the division remains up for grabs. If the Mets keep crushing poor competition, however, they'll simply need to avoid calamity against the Nats.

Mets' remaining schedule:

Aug. 26-27 @ PHI
Aug. 28-30 vs. BOS
Aug. 31-Sept. 1 vs. PHI
Sept. 4-6 @ MIA
Sept. 7-9 @ WAS
Sept. 10-13 @ ATL
Sept. 14-16 vs. MIA
Sept. 18-20 vs. NYY
Sept. 21-23 vs. ATL
Sept. 24-27 @ CIN
Sept. 29-Oct. 1 @ PHI
Oct. 2-4 vs. WAS

Nationals' remaining schedule:

Aug. 26-27 vs. SD
Aug. 28-30 vs. MIA
Aug. 31-Sept. 2 @ STL
Sept. 3-6 vs. ATL
Sept 7-9 vs. NYM
Sept. 11-13 @ MIA
Sept. 14-16 @ PHI
Sept. 17-20 vs. MIA
Sept. 21-23 vs. BAL
Sept. 25-27 vs. PHI
Sept. 28 vs. CIN
Sept. 29-Oct. 1 @ ATL
Oct. 2-4  at NYM