If you can remember back to April 5th, you'll recall a beautiful Monday afternoon when the New York Mets defeated the Florida Marlins 7-1 and everything in Mets Land was perfect. Nothing is better than a 1-0 record.
Since then, however, the Mets have been thrown into the bowels of mediocrity, cursed to a 69-71 record and playoff irrelevance as the season heads into its final weeks. Since the beginning of summer, inconsistent play and poor hitting have put the team in this dire situation, and the Flushing Faithful into a "next year" type mindset.
For every team that sees its season go down the toilet, there is usually more than one reason for that. The case is no different for the Mets.
The Mets season was great heading into the summer. On June 24th they were tied for first place in the division and were about to play the Detroit Tigers in an attempt to gain first place. They lost that game 6-5. Since then, they have very slowly lost 11 games of ground in the division. Since then, they have only won two games in a row twice, doing so against both Washington and Pittsburgh.
You can pinpoint that date as the time of the Mets' demise, but what was the cause?
It's always easy to blame management, but in the Mets case it's a pretty good reason. The team hit a small bump in the road, and instead of changing things up after the All-Star break, they kept going with what didn't work. Beltran kept hitting in the middle of the order despite not hitting over .220 for most of his time with the Mets this season.
Sub .200 hitters are not the types of players that you want in your lineup, but that is who was in the lineup consistently. It seems as if the Mets were trying to develop players like Ruben Tejada and Josh Thole before their playoff run was over. Thole has done well, but Tejada cannot get above that Mendoza line, nor can Mike Hessman or Fernando Martinez. Don't forget that Alex Cora was playing almost everyday this summer before the Mets released him.
The Mets are also paying a whole bunch of players on their roster a lot of money who they don't actually want to have there, including Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, and others. The only reason the Mets were ever good in the first place was because of surprise players like Angel Pagan, R.A. Dickey, and Ike Davis.
Now, as they await the final game of this season, possibly the most sad season the Mets have had in quite a while, they will be testing out the young guys. Guys like Lucas Duda who, since coming up is batting .045 (1-22). Others include Jenrry Mejia, Nick Evans, and Luis Hernandez.
So as they say in Chicago, wait 'til next year!