The big discussion of the week for the Mets has been whether or not the team is prepared to cash in their chips on a nice first half and start building in earnest for next season.
There's been a lot of chatter about waiting a couple of weeks to see how the team does before making any big decisions about trading away Carlos Beltran and others and reasonable people can have different opinions about the wisdom of such moves. That might not be the case after this weekend.
Three games with the Phillies will give the Mets a pretty good idea about where they stand right out of the gate.
If they aren't able to take this series at home against a division leader that isn't using Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, is it really a good bet that they are going to make a sustained run that carries them into playoff position?
We can hear the cries of the true believers from here. This weekend doesn't mean everything, there's still a lot of baseball left to be played and the Mets are going to get a slew of players back to help them make the final push up the mountain.
While it is true that Jose Reyes and David Wright are moving toward returns, the chance that Ike Davis will need season-ending surgery is becoming greater and greater.
He needed a cortisone shot in his ankle and will be shut down for three more weeks before making a final determination, a state of affairs which feels like waiting until all four walls of the house are on fire before dialing 911.
Assuming Reyes and Wright make it back without any trouble, the Mets can certainly survive without Davis. But surviving isn't the point here because they need to thrive for it to make any sense to simply stand pat without trying to improve the team's chances of contending in 2012.
That brings us back to this weekend and the need to start thriving right from the get-go regardless of what might happen a week from now in terms of reinforcements.
Despite all the reasons to feel good about the Mets, the simple, unavoidable fact is that they are closer to fifth place in the East than they are to the Wild Card and you can only delude yourself so long under those circumstances.
One weekend, good or bad, can't decide everything in a long baseball season. It can push the needle, though, and we'll have a lot better idea whether the Mets are running on empty by the close of business on Sunday.