Lesson 2: Injuries are no excuse
The Mets' famously fatalistic fans believed that the season ended the moment Edwin Diaz's knee gave out in March, and maybe they were right. The inability of Starling Marte to get healthy this year also contributed to a season that went sideways, but injuries happen to every team, and the one left standing in the end overcame its injuries and didn't use them as an excuse.
The Rangers were struck with one injury in particular that Mets fans know all too well. Jacob deGrom, who defected from Flushing to Arlington last offseason, was seen as a key component to a Rangers team that was ready to make a playoff push after a 68-win season in 2022, but the injury-prone righty made only six starts this year, and his season was done before May.
Rather than accept a lost season in a crowded N.L West, the Rangers kept battling, leading the division for most of the year. They were buyers at the trade deadline, bringing in Aroldis Chapman from the Royals, Max Scherzer from the Mets, and Jordan Montgomery of the Cardinals, and in the end they were rewarded with their first playoff berth since 2016 and the first World Series title in franchise history.
Could the Mets have made a run if they played the trade deadline differently? We'll never know, though fans hope that the prospect haul they got from dealing Scherzer, Justin Verlander, David Robertson, Tommy Pham, Mark Canha, and Dominic Leone to playoff contenders proves worth it in the end.
The Rangers' move for Scherzer was seen as one of the biggest win-now moves of the deadline, but the veteran's impact was minimal. He missed time in September with a strained teres major muscle in his throwing shoulder, then was removed from the World Series roster with back tightness that forced him to leave his Game 3 start in the fourth inning.
The Rangers also lost their playoff MVP, Adolis Garcia, in Game 3 to an oblique strain. Garcia had been playing like a cross between Reggie Jackson and Pedro Cerrano throughout the postseason, slugging eight homers while setting the record for RBIs in a single postseason with 22.
Through it all, the Rangers persevered, overcoming the early loss of deGrom and the late-season injuries to Scherzer and Garcia to turn in a dominating playoff performance in which they eliminated four teams with a combined 374 wins between them. The Mets could learn a lot from that tenacity when the injury bug inevitably hits next year.