Reason #4 – September Collapse. They were on a roll!
And finally, this season hurts more than anything because they were so close!
On September 12, the Mets were only 2.0 GB out of the second Wild Card spot. Then they began to falter.
And while there’s no clock in baseball, there is October 1. And for a team that has fallen before getting right back up, the calendar running out means that there are no more chances for them to make up for lost ground this time.
They were so close to answering Ed Kranepool’s challenge and making a miracle come back on the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets, no less. The only comparison I could draw would be in reflecting on the 2007 and 2008 seasons when the Mets missed the playoffs by 1.0 and 3.0 GB, respectively and had horrific bullpen meltdowns to point to as the main cause of what made them fall short of October baseball.
For the 2019 Mets, the hitting failed at times, and got back on track; the starting pitching had its bleak moments and made strong starts in their next outings; but the bullpen remained as the only consistently terrible performer (collectively, sorry Seth Lugo!) on this roster.
The bullpen buckled 27 times too many, and it cost the Mets a playoff berth much like in 2008 when they missed a division title by 3.0 games and suffered 29 blown saves at the hands of their bullpen.
The Mets were 40-50 before the All-Star break (10 games under .500). In the second half of the season, they will finish well above .500. The clock ran out on them. There is no doubt in my mind that if they had another month, or even another two weeks, guys like Alonso, Davis, and McNeil would get this team back on track through sheer will.
But as we Mets fans return to a baseball-less Fall, remember to be a proud Mets fan. Van Wagenen was just hired, and I want to trust the process and stomach the growing pains, as he and his team figure out how to bring the Fall Classic back to Citi Field.
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The 2019 season was only the beginning. The 2020 campaign could very well be the year.