The Mets have given their fans a reason to remain interested in this season. To take it a step further, they have given them a season when at the All-Star Game break in July it appeared the rest of the summer would be spent waiting for, make that hoping for, manager Mickey Callaway to be fired and vilifying first-year general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

The Mets came out of the break on July 12 by losing their first game to the Miami Marlins 8-4 to fall 11 games under .500 with a record of 40-51. Then, in an unforeseen and stunning reversal, they went 21-5 in their next 26 games, including winning streaks of seven games (July 25 through Aug. 1) and eight games (Aug. 3 through Aug. 10) to remarkably improve their record to 61-56 and become wildcard contenders.

When the Mets hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks last night (Wednesday) at Citi Field in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, they were 74-70 with 18 games remaining. The Mets have already taken the first two games of the four-game series to stay within striking distance of the final wild card spot. They were only three games behind the Chicago Cubs but were also looking up at the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and Diamondbacks. The Washington Nationals, at 79-64, held the top wild card position.

The number of games the Mets trial the Cubs is not their most challenging predicament. It’s having to leapfrog so many teams to put themselves in one of the top two spots. Time is also not on their side. They are running out of games and each outing becomes increasingly critical. Furthermore, after completing their current series with the Diamondbacks this afternoon, the Mets did not have any more head-to-head games versus the teams they are chasing.

Their remaining five series respectively are against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who clinched their seventh straight National League West title on Tuesday; The Colorado Rockies (three games); the Cincinnati Reds (three games); the Miami Marlins (four games); and a regular season-ending three-game series facing the Atlanta Braves Sept. 27, 28 and 29.