The final game of the 2008 Mets' regular season felt the exact same way as it had the previous year. Heading into both games, the Mets were in a must win position in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
As was the case with John Maine in 2007, the Mets received an extraordinary performance from their starting pitcher the game prior from Johan Santana. And in identical fashion they, fell to the Florida Marlins to cap off yet another disappointing season.
Following the 2008 season many Mets fans asked the same question, "How could a team this good on paper play so poorly?" The answer to this question is very complex.
Some have tried to simplify it by pointing out the teams lack of offense. However, three of the Mets starters (David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado) each drove in more than one hundred runs.
The other answer many fans give is the man who signed a four-year twenty four million dollar contract in the off season, Luis Castillo.
While I do agree with the majority of Mets fans who believe Luis Castillo's play was sub-par and that his signing was in fact a mistake; I do not believe he should be blamed for the teams poor play.
Firstly, Castillo was injured for a good part of the season and only appeared in eighty seven games. In his place, the combination of Damion Easley and Argenis Reyes filled in nicely, especially Easley who provided an offensive upgrade at the plate.
What fans fail to realize is that Castillo was injured for a majority of the season and is a lifetime .300 hitter. Am I saying that he is blameless in the Mets' shortcomings? Absolutely not. However, Castillo was not responsible for the twenty seven games that the Mets bullpen let get away.
The 2008 bullpen also heard its share of obscenities from the Shea faithfuls, and rightfully so as they cost the Mets many crucial games, including the final game of the season.
Much of the blame was placed on Aaron Heilman, who had a particularly bad year on the mound. Heilman, who had an earned run average of less than four for the previous three seasons, saw his 2008 ERA jump to 5.21.
In my opinion, however, the New York fans have given up on Heilman too quickly. In years past we have seen cases of pitchers either pitching threw an injury or having a down year come back the next year and return to their old form.
There are a couple players, who have not gotten there share of blame for the heartbreaking season's end.
One high profile player, who I feel got sympathy from both the media and the fans was Pedro Martinez. This past season Pedro Martinez pitched the worst season of his career with an ERA above 5.
Granted, Pedro dealt with both injuries and the death of his father, which most likely distracted him from the game. However, all this still doesn't change the fact that he helped contribute to the demise of the team last year.
Another player, who went under the radar in terms of being singled out was Carlos Delgado. Carlos Delgado's play during the first half of the season was horrendous. Yet, just about everyone forgot about that after his impressive second half.
The fact of the matter is, Carlos's poor play in the first half of the year really hurt the team as it's offense was already compromised by the loses of both Ryan Church and Moises Alou.
There is, however, no "I" in team, thus the blame stemming from the disastrous 2008 season lays on the shoulders of all 25 men on the roster. And it is they as a whole that must work together in order to ensure that history does not repeat itself.
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