The Mets' Amed Rosario reacts after being walked during the...

The Mets' Amed Rosario reacts after being walked during the third inning against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 31, 2020 at Citi Field. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

It’s the final countdown of baseball season, and the Mets are — somehow — in the playoff picture.

As they spent their day off in Philadelphia on Monday, they are just two games back of the Giants for the last National League wild-card spot and four games behind the Marlins for second place (and a guaranteed postseason berth) in the NL East.

That is despite being 21-26, most recently having a winning record on July 29, when they were 3-2, maxing out at three-game winning streaks, and getting their only series wins against the Marlins.

FanGraphs grants the Mets an approximately one-in-four shot of making the playoffs. Baseball Prospectus says about the same.

In order to end with a .500 record, the Mets will need to finish 9-4, which they have not done at any point this year.

"Crazier things can happen," Todd Frazier said. "It’s not like we’re seven games out and it’s like, oh man, pretty much we’re done with. No. We have a great chance. But we have to win, so that great chance turns into not a great chance if we don’t win games."

Before the Mets begin their season-concluding stretch of 13 games in 13 days, here are a few reasons to believe — and a few reasons not to believe — in their playoff hopes.

(Statistics entering play Monday.)

Reasons to believe in the Mets

1. This lineup is really strong.

The Mets are first in the majors in average (.278), first in OBP (.354) and fifth in slugging percentage (.463). If you judge by wRC+ — a sort of all-encompassing, bottom-line measure of hitting in which 100 is average — the Mets are first, again, at 123.

They even have solved their early-season RISP woes, batting .317 with runners on second and/or third this month.

The Mets already have a couple of down-ballot MVP candidates in Michael Conforto and Dominic Smith. If Pete Alonso can look like his 2019 self for these two weeks? And if J.D. Davis breaks out of his little funk? The batting order can be a wrecking ball, and it will need to be if the Mets are going to make a — wait for it — run.

2. Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo are scheduled to pitch a lot.

They are slated to combine for six of the remaining 13 starts. That includes the final two games of the season, Sept. 26-27 against the Nationals.

DeGrom, looking for his third consecutive NL Cy Young Award, leads the league with a 1.67 ERA. Lugo has a 2.63 ERA, including 2.65 in four starts.

Of course, their performances will matter little unless the rest of the rotation gives the Mets a chance. Rick Porcello is due to get three more starts, David Peterson two more and a No. 5 starter to be named another pair.

3. They have a normal schedule.

Thirteen games in as many days isn’t easy, necessarily, but it is a routine chunk of season, this year or any other.

Much of the Mets’ wild-card competition can’t say the same. Including Monday, the Marlins are playing 16 games, including two doubleheaders, in 14 days. The Phillies are playing 15 games (two doubleheaders). The Cardinals have 18 games and the Brewers have 17 — and they play each other 10 times.

Reasons not to believe in the Mets

1. There are a bunch of teams ahead of them.

Of the 12 NL teams that are feasibly in the playoff picture, the Mets are tied for last with the Reds. Scoreboard-watching becomes a skill when you have to keep an eye on what the Marlins, Phillies, Cardinals, Brewers, Reds, Giants and Rockies are doing each night.

"It’s not fun to know, even if we do win, we might not gain a game," Frazier said. "That’s the toughest part, knowing that we have to win and other pieces of the puzzle have to fall into place."

2. They are playing mostly playoff-caliber teams.

After visiting the Phillies this week, the Mets will host the NL East-leading Braves and the AL East-leading Rays for their final homestand, then wrap up with a four-game set against the Nationals. The defending World Series champions stink this year, but there is a chance the Mets will face Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin for half of that series.

3. They just . . . aren’t very good

As the 20th-century philosopher Bill Parcells said, you are what your record says you are.

That probably is less true in the small sample of a 60-game season, but still, it is getting harder to argue with the Mets’ track record. On Saturday, manager Luis Rojas said "we beat ourselves" when Amed Rosario was picked off first base to end the game with the potential go-ahead run standing at the plate. On Sunday, Frazier ended a rally by making an out on the bases, and the game got away from the Mets when Brad Brach and Jared Hughes walked four consecutive hitters to open the sixth.

"We need to clean it up," Rojas said.

As Brach put it: "It’s been one thing after another. If we hit, we don’t pitch. And if we pitch, we don’t hit. That’s a recipe to not be able to string some wins together."

NL postseason seeding

(After Monday night's games)

1. Dodgers (W-1) 33-15, .688

2. Cubs (C-1) 28-20, .583

3. Braves (E-1) 28-20, .583

4. Padres (W-2) 32-17, .653

5. Marlins (E-2) 24-21, .533

6. Cardinals (C-2) 21-21, .500

7. Phillies (WC) 23-23, .500

8. Giants (WC) 23-24, .489

-- Reds 23-26, .469

-- Brewers 21-25, .457

-- Rockies 21-25, .457

-- Mets 21-26, .447