Coming off of what most fans would likely consider to be a disappointing season, those who identify as fans of the New York Mets are hoping to see their team on the field in late October this year. Since reaching the World Series in 2015, the Mets have had only one postseason appearance, losing to the San Fransisco Giants in the Wild Card round in 2016.
After what seemed like some good offseason strategy following the 2018 season, especially the addition of Major League Baseball’s best closer at the time, those associated with the Mets had their eyes set on the postseason in 2019. The team’s ace starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom would look to repeat as National League Cy Young Award winner, even though following up a season of a 1.70 earned runs average seemed impossible. Additionally, players like shortstop Amed Rosario and outfielder Michael Conforto were hoping for breakout seasons as both were thought to be long overdue.
As the 2019 season began, young talent quickly turned to stardom for first baseman Pete Alonso and utility fielder Jeff McNeil. This tandem, paired with arguably the most well-rounded pitching staff in Major League Baseball, had New York City buzzing about playoff possibilities.
Let’s take a closer look at the 2019 season for the New York Mets:
The Mets opened up the regular season with a 2-0 road victory, and eventual series win, over the Washington Nationals. After posting a .500 record in April, the Mets hadn’t seemed to impress anyone yet. Although, Pete Alonso did take home Rookie of the Month honors, giving fans something to be excited about.
The month of May consisted of some streaky baseball from the New York Mets. First came the losing as the club dropped five of their first six games to begin the month. The losing continued as the Mets went on another streak, this time of five straight games, three of which were to the last-place Miami Marlins. However, a 6-1 record on a homestead followed, including a four-game sweep of the Nationals immediately following the Marlins series.
The first eight games of the month resulted in a 4-4 record, followed by a Subway Series split with the New York Yankees. The rest of June was filled with losing, beginning with two consecutive series losses to the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. Then, after splitting a road series with the Chicago Cubs, the Mets lost four straight to the Philadelphia Phillies and two more to Atlanta. The skid finally ended on the final day of the month when the Mets defeated the Braves by a score of 8-5.
July began with another Subway Series split which was followed by a series loss at home against Philadelphia. The Mets then posted a 6-5 record over the next 11 games, but ended the month on a 6-game win streak. Also important to note is the acquisition by trade of starting pitcher Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays on July 28.
The winning continued into August as the Mets won 9 of their first 10 games of the month. Dating back to the final week of July, the team had a 15-1 record in their previous 16 games and currently sat one game out of a Wild Card spot in the National League. The Mets went on to win 6 of their next 9 games before losing two crucial home series against the Braves and the Cubs. These six consecutive home losses eventually proved to be a momentum shift in season from which the Mets could not recover.
The game that punctuated the season for the New York Mets came as a historic loss on September 3. A combination of relief pitchers surrendered a 6-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals. The Mets had a statistically projected 99.7% chance to win that game heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Prior to the game, the Mets had never lost when leading by six or more in the ninth, posting an all-time franchise record of 806-0 when in the given situation. The Milwaukee Brewers clinched a Wild Card berth on September 25, ending the Mets’ postseason hopes. On the bright side, Pete Alonso broke the rookie home run record on September 28, just one day before the end of the regular season.
Following a season filled with both celebration and disappointment, Mets fans appear to remain hopeful. Posting a final record of 86-76, the club finished in third place in the NL East division and just three games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. Particularly positive is their 46-26 record following the All-Star Break, the second best in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. In a competitive division, the Mets must hope Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso can continue to lead en route to a playoff appearance this upcoming season.