As second half begins, Mets face tough tests

As second half begins, Mets face tough tests

As second half begins, Mets face tough tests
ATLANTA -- The Mets began the second half in third place in the National League East and play six straight games against the two teams ahead of them in the standings -- the Braves and the Nationals. Manager Terry Collins said he doesn't view the next six games any differently, despite the chance to make up ground.

The rest of July, however, Collins said will be crucial to determining the success of the rest of the season.

"We're going to know our standing when we get to Aug. 1, if we're still in the dogfight," Collins said.

In the next 2 1/2 weeks, the Mets play six games against the Nationals, host the NL West-leading Dodgers and begin an 11-game West Coast road trip.

While Collins can wait until August to determine whether he feels like the Mets can contend for the rest of 2012, general manager Sandy Alderson doesn't have that luxury. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching on July 31, he must decide whether to be a buyer or seller in the trade market.

Collins, however, said the Mets can't try to make Alderson's decision for him.

"We've got to show to ourselves and the guys in that room that we're good enough and that we can compete right now," Collins said. "Because if you don't make a move, they better still believe they're good enough."