The New York Mets trounced the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-2 on Sunday to continue their hot streak that has the team just a game away from .500 and in the midst of a crowded fight for an NL Wild Card spot.

Mickey Callaway's club has won 9 of 10, moving them to 15-5 since the All-Star break (damned those extra innings losses in SF, otherwise they'd be a game or two out of a playoff spot).

What's changed?

Well, the Mets' bullpen is no long hemorrhaging runs with every call to the pen. Although, closer Edwin Diaz is still routinely allowing late home runs, he fortunately didn't cost them any games this past week. Diaz and company have a National League worst 22 blown saves this season and a Save Percentage of just 55%.

If the Mets are to stay hot and really make a run, they need the offense to keep clicking and while still having the ability to add an insurance run or two late in the game. I don't see the Mets magically transforming into a shutdown bullpen, but any improvement would be helpful. And it has, of late.

Much of the Mets' success in the second half of July and the first series of August has also been a product of their opposition. Much of their recent success has been against teams worse than they are - the Pirates, White Sox, Marlins and Padres.

These next two weeks are key. The Mets will play four against Miami, including a doubleheader on Monday. From there, back to back series with the National and Braves - division rivals, with better records and ahead of them in the standings.

For this Mets fan to stay believin', they need to more than just 'hang' with other legit teams, they need to win series. The Mets schedule at the end of August and into September includes some the teams they're currently chasing for a Wild Card spot - the Phillies and more games with the Nationals, along with division leaders Atlanta and Chicago.

But before those potentially crucial matchups down the stretch to actually matter, Mickey Callaway and company have to keep the momentum going as they approach, and hopefully breeze past the .500 mark.

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