The 2023 New York Mets went down as one of the most disappointing teams in franchise history, as the team rendered a $350 million payroll as pointless as they won just 75 games this year and saw a surprising amount of turmoil.
Now that the postseason turmoil has settled in, I went ahead and found some rather stark contrasts as to how the Mets were unable to win games at a high clip this year like they did last year.
1. The New York Mets had trouble setting the tone early in games.
What made the 2022 Mets so dominant at times was their ability to take control of games early and shorten them for Buck Showalter so often. In fact, the Mets led after the first inning 49 times last year, and went 41-8 in that span, the best record in franchise history, while they trailed after the opening frame just 34 times.
This year, one without an effective Starling Marte for much of the year and Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil with batting averages at least 50 points lower than last year, led after the first inning just 28 times (3rd fewest in baseball), in which they went just 16-12, while they trailed after the first inning 47 times (2nd most in baseball). That's 25 fewer such occurrences from last year (remember the Mets won 26 fewer games than last year).
Never in the history of this team has there been such a year-to-year contrast between quantity and quality of first inning leads in Mets history. There were so many times this season that the Mets didn't have comfortable first inning leads thanks to the Mets not hitting and being aggressive early on. The injuries to Edwin Diaz, Jose Quintana, and Justin Verlander magnified the deficiencies in the Mets' offense this year.