This is the first in a series that will take a look at all 10 MLB teams to qualify for the postseason. We'll give them a ranking on a scale of 1-to-10 (1 being the Yankees, 10 being the Mets) to determine who best deserves Mets fans' casual support in the playoffs this year.
First up, the Houston Astros
The Team: The Houston Astros
The Case: On Sunday, our expansion brothers clinched their first division crown since 2001, and have been to a World Series just once in their existence. That was 12 years ago, and they don't even have a World Series win, as they were swept by the White Sox in 2005 (Yup, 2005 was 12 years ago). There's enough of a novelty there that the Astros winning it all would feel good.
Jose Altuve is very small, and by far and away, the best second baseman in the game. Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman are a monstrous left side of the infield, and Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander should allow them to match up against anyone in the league. Plus, they have a sense of humor!
The Astros also felt the sting of an improbable Royals comeback in the 2015 playoffs, before eventually dropping the ALDS in five. We can relate, guys. We can relate...
After years of kick ass uniforms, the Astros decide to ditch the brick-red-and-black prior to the 2013 season and made their uniforms awesome again. Orbit seems like a good dude. And post-Hurricane Harvey, this could be a Boston Strong-type moment that would probably serve as a nice distraction.
Why To Hate Them: Mike Scott, basically. How he somehow turned into Cy Young (8.4 WAR in 1986, 24.8 overall in nine seasons with the Astros) the minute he left the Mets (-0.7 WAR in four years in New York), nearly derailing the eventual 1986 world title run in the process, is one of the most quizzical turnarounds in baseball (Well, not if you ask the '86 Mets...).
Also, if you're not into grumpy, unwritten rules of baseball types, then former Braves and Yankees catcher Brian McCann is here to throw a wet blanket on your party.
Mets connections: Remember Carlos Beltran? One of the best (if not, the best) position player to ever play for the Mets franchise? I know, I know, you're still mad at him for one strike out. But he's here, and at 40-years-old, it might be his last chance for the nine-time All Star to add a World Series ring to his Hall of Fame resumé.
For those of you who lived and died with those immortal 2012-13 Mets teams, Collin McHugh is also among the ranks. He's battled a finger injury this summer, but should make the postseason roster as a swing man out of the pen.
And if you've gotten over Tyler Clippard walking the tying runs on base in Game 4 of the World Series (or Terry not just bringing in Familia for a five-out save), you have another to root for. At the very least, love this man because he can dance.
Rating: 8/10. It's going to be hard to beat the Astros, who feel like kindred Mets spirits here. Personally, they were my preseason pick as the AL champions, so I'll gladly watch them prove me right.
Tailgate with us on Saturday September 16th at Citi Field! Kick the night off with us in the Marina Lot! The Mets take on the Reds at 7:10pm so we expect fans to start showing up around 3pm. If you can't swing that early, just get there when ya get there.