Coming into the 2019 season, the New York Mets were predicted to be a contender and bring back the feeling they had four years ago when they went to the World Series.
With a rotation led by reigning Cy Young award winner Jacob Degrom, followed by Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz and Marcus Stroman, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in July, New York was favorited for at least a wild card spot in the NL.
Now we’re in mid September, there’s 13 games left and Mets, once again, are on the outside looking in, four games back of the Cubs and five-and-a-half games back of the Nationals for a wild card spot.
So what was the problem this season? Why couldn’t they get it done? The offense wasn’t a problem, with a lineup led by rookie sensation Pete Alonso, who has set the record for most home runs by a Met with 47. The Mets also got a breakout season from Jeff McNeil, who is a hitting machine at the top of the lineup.
As it turns out, the fate of the Mets has come down to the bullpen. The acquisition of Edwin Diaz has imploded in general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s face. Despite giving up top prospects to the Mariners for second baseman Robinson Cano and Diaz, the Mets lead the majors in blown saves in 2019 and it seems like every time a starting pitcher does their job, the bullpen finds a way to lose the game.
Four games back with two weeks to go isn’t easy when the teams you’re chasing are hot. The Cubs’ offense is on fire and the Cardinals don’t seem to lose in the second half. The Nationals’ rotation is finally healthy and the Brewers, who are one team up on the Mets, have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the National League.
The Mets go to Colorado for three games, which could go either way. Then they go to Cincinnati, who has been good as of late with the other major league home-run leader, Eugenio Suarez, facing off with Alonso. Then, they come home to face the Marlins for a four-game set. If they are still in it at that point of the year, those four games could really help with the worst team in the NL, but then they take on possibly the best team in the NL to end the season in a three-game divisional matchup against the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves.
So after losing the series against the Dodgers, is it out of the question to say the Mets are out of it? They will need to win at least eight or nine of the 13 final games and have help from the teams above them to gain ground.
Mickey Callaway’s job could be in jeopardy and it could be a long offseason for the Mets, as they watch their crosstown rival Yankees represent New York again in the postseason. If the Mets are going to make it, it’s gotta be something amazin’.