So it turns out the Mets are going to be playing meaningless games the last week of the season after all—just not the type anyone was predicting before the season. Now that the Mets have clinched the division, the remaining regular season games might have a little less sizzle. But even though the Mets aren’t playing for a spot in the playoffs anymore, there are still some reasons to tune in.
We’ve all been scoreboard watching the last few months, and now it’s time to turn that attention out west. The Mets have a 1.5-game lead on the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the NLDS, plus an extra tiebreaking edge for winning the season series. The Dodgers play four games against the Giants in San Francisco before they finish off the season with a three-game set against the Padres. Getting home-field advantage would mean the Mets not only get a possible Game 5 at Citi Field, but it means that Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke wouldn't get to pitch at home.
Jon Niese in the bullpen
Jon Niese will be heading to the bullpen for the 2015 playoffs, and so the rest of the regular season he’ll be getting ready for that by doing work out of the pen. The bullpen is foreign territory for Niese; he’s only made one appearance out of the bullpen in his major league career, and that was back in 2011. Niese isn’t a lefty specialist by any means, but other than Eric O’Flaherty—whom the Mets should be reluctant to turn to in any role—the Mets don’t have a southpaw to stare down powerful left-handed hitters late in games. Niese, then, can establish himself as the top lefty in the bullpen over the season's final week.
The 25th roster spot
After Juan Uribe re-aggravated his chest injury on Friday, it’s possible that he might miss the NLDS. That opens the door for somebody to step up and take the 25th spot on the postseason roster. Does Eric Young Jr's speed get him in the playoff door? Or Eric Campbell's defensive versatility? Or someone—anyone!—else?
The last bullpen spot
There are nine pitchers that have their spot all but locked up in the bullpen, and so the Mets need somebody to step up for that 10th, or possibly 11th, spot. Sean Gilmartin, Erik Goedell, Eric O’Flaherty, Carlos Torres, Logan Verrett, and Hansel Robles have been making their case all year long and we’ll likely see them used throughout the week for one more tryout.