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5 key dates for the Mets in the second half

National League All-Star Jose Reyes #7 of the

National League All-Star Jose Reyes #7 of the New York Mets looks on during batting practice before the start of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field. (July 12, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

The Mets don’t have the luxury of time as they try to stay in the playoff hunt – and in doing so, maybe keep the team together. That’s why the key dates are sooner rather than later.

July 15: The second half begins Friday with three games against the division-leading Phillies at Citi Field. A bad showing here could be an early knockout blow.

July 22: The Mets have targeted the series opener against the Marlins, and the start of a 10-game road trip, as the return date for Jose Reyes and David Wright. Will it be too late?

July 31: The non-waivers trade deadline. If the Mets are facing a double-digit deficit in the wild-card race by then, Sandy Alderson will continue his wheeling and dealing.

Aug. 19: The return of K-Rod to Citi Field. Will it be as closer or set-up man for the Brewers?

Aug. 31: The last chance for teams to trade for a player and get them eligible for the postseason. Also, players have to pass through waivers to be dealt. Shouldn’t be a problem if Carlos Beltran is still on roster by then.

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