Why should you take valuable time from your schedule to watch one of the remaining New York Mets games, when the team has about a one in a million chance of making the playoffs?
It's a very valid question, and I would have a tough time ripping someone - even a hardcore Mets fan - for not tuning in until next year, when the team record gets wiped clean. However, there's at least a handful more games left in the 2012 season that every Mets fan should watch.
Here's a look at the five August New York Mets games worth watching:
1) New York Mets vs Miami Marlins, Aug. 9: With the Mets out of playoff contention, one of the top reasons to keep watching is to follow Dickey's pursuit of the 20-win plateau. The 37-year-old knuckleballer was once a shoo-in to reach that heralded mark, but a slip in performance in July has him at 14 victories with about 11 or 12 starts left on the season.
The Mets haven't had a 20-game winner in over two decades, as Frank Viola was the last man to do it back in 1990. Dickey would love nothing more than to reach win No. 15 on Aug. 9 against the Marlins.
2) New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves, Aug. 12: There's nothing quite like ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. The Mets and Braves will have the national sports spotlight all to themselves on Aug. 12 with an 8:00 p.m. start time, live from Citi Field and airing on ESPN. Unfortunately, this tilt is more about the Braves trying to hang on to their slim 2.5 game wild-card lead, than it is about the Mets.
3) New York Mets vs Washington Nationals, Aug. 18: The Nationals are nursing a three-game lead over the Atlanta Braves for the NL East lead, so the Mets have a fun opportunity to play the role of the spoiler when they travel to our nation's capital on Aug. 18.
4) New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves, Aug. 10: Matt Harvey gets his fourth start in the big leagues on Aug. 10, and the game also marks the young man's Citi Field debut.
Perhaps the top reason to watch the Mets down the stretch is to keep an eye on the young prospects on the team to see who belongs on the roster for the season ahead. Harvey has been sharp so far, with more good starts than bad. He has a 1-2 ERA with a 3.86 ERA, but start No. 4 should give us a better look at what he's capable of.
5) New York Mets vs Miami Marlins, Aug. 7: Jon Niese is coming off a seven-inning gem against the San Francisco Giants, but I'm very interested to see if he can piece together back-to-back solid starts.
It seems like Niese is this year's A.J. Burnett or Mike Pelfrey, an example of a guy with all the talent in the world, who just happens to alternate bad starts with great ones. Niese has an 8-5 record with a 3.72 ERA.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
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