The Mets have been the same team since April. While teams seek consistency, it’s not the kind we see from the Mets, and it’s killing them.
The Mets are an open book – they hide nothing and the pages turn faster than a James Patterson novel.
A Patterson Alex Cross novel that is written today reads the same as when the first one appeared. While his character never changes, the setting and subtle plot setups alter a bit.
The same is true with the 2021 version of the New York Mets. Games played today look remarkably like the ones played in April, June, and (now) September.
The Mets are now 28-31 in one-run games this season and have lost 14 of their last 16 one-run contests. They wasted a prime chance to gain ground in the playoff race with three of the five teams they are chasing in the Reds, Phillies, and Braves all losing last night – losing to the Cardinals in extra-innings.
Mets: The Wrong Brand Of Consistency
Since April, the Mets have consistently ranked at or near the bottom of 2021 team batting stats.
Today, of the 30 MLB teams, the Mets rank 27th in runs scored, 25th in slugging, 23rd in OPS, 25th in base hits, 25th in fielding percentage, and 23rd with the most fielding errors.
Any fan of baseball knows that is not a winning formula.
And yet, with sixteen remaining games, the Mets still are among four teams with a chance to secure the final Wild Card spot in the National League.
But when realism kicks in, it’s quite another story. Assuming that 85 wins are needed to capture the final Wild Card, the Mets (72-74) will need to go 13-3 to reach that mark.
Moreover, the Mets September schedule includes the Phillies, Red Sox, Brewers, and the Atlanta Braves.
There’s a law in Physics that states a body in motion will tend to stay in motion. In baseball, it works both ways though, with hot teams like Toronto in the AL, and St. Louis in the NL rushing forward while the competition falters.
To illustrate, take a look at the table below, paying special attention to each team’s record over the last ten games – as Mets fans wonder why couldn’t it have been us?
Mets: A Season Of False Starts And Empty Hearts
To their credit, no one can say the Mets ever laid down this season. Since day one, the “we can do this” spirit has permeated the team.
But spirit and effort have no weight in professional sports. Teams must produce on the field, and the Mets have consistently not done that, especially in the crucial categories of scoring runs and situational hitting.
Although injuries and innings pitched have slowed the pitching down, the Mets still rank eighth in the major leagues in pitching with a 3.80 ERA.
Moreover, that mark exceeds eight teams with better than .500 records, including the Brewers, Padres, Braves, St Louis, and Boston.
To hammer the point home, while the Mets have a -22 run differential, two teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race have a +28 (Cincinnati) and +48 (San Diego).
Translated, this means the Reds have scored 50 more runs than the Mets, and the Padres 70 more. Those stats would, of course, have less impact if the Mets had shown an ability to win the close ones, but as we know that hasn’t been the case.
Mets: Too Little Too Late From Key Players
Overall, the Mets team batting has improved slightly in September, but it’s probably going to prove to be too little too late.
Michael Conforto is finally showing some life as he rushes to judgment as a free agency, Javier Baez has been on a tear since the “Thumbs Down” uproar and Francisco Lindor has been jump-started by his buddy (Baez) pounding the ball.
Unfortunately for the Mets, though, their fortunes have come about while other teammates continue to slide, or like Pete Alonso, whose slump is at 0-for-19, and he let his frustrations show by snapping his bat over his leg following a pivotal strikeout in his last at-bat.
Riding Out The Storm
The Mets will not lay down – ever. But at the same time, their front office must be abuzz with advice coming from everywhere as to what the team needs to do to strengthen themselves for 2022.
The first order of business on Steve Cohen’s plate, though, has nothing to do with player personnel – it’s to find and hire someone capable of replacing Sandy Alderson, and a bonafide General Manager.
Familiar names like Billy Beane and Theo Epstein are being bandied about, but ultimately this will boil down to the most significant decision in Cohen’s short career as the owner of the Mets.
2022 will be the middle year of Cohen’s three-plan to bring a championship to Mets fans. Most fans will give Cohen a mulligan for next year, but after that, all patience and promises will have been evaporated.
For now, every game remains a must-win, and on the heels of last night’s disaster, the Mets need to salvage the final game of the Cardinals series.