The writing has been on the wall for weeks now as the Mets descended into one last resounding thud to dash any unrealistic hope of a late rally to make the playoffs.
Saturday night’s 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers wasn’t just the Mets’ 12th loss in their last 15 games, but it finally, mathematically eliminated them from postseason contention, making it a fifth-straight year in which the franchise will not see playoff baseball.
Yet another season of futility for a franchise that has made October baseball a scarce experience. This is the sixth time in franchise history that the Mets have missed the playoffs for a stretch of five straight seasons or more. They’ve also made the playoffs just nine times in 60 seasons of existence.
What makes this newest miss all the more frustrating for a tormented fan base is that expectations rarely seen this high surrounded the team during spring training.
Now, they’re left to sift through the rubble of another failed campaign.
“I think it’s pretty clear we didn’t swing the bats well enough,” Mets right fielder Michael Conforto said. That’s obviously a big part of it.”
A Mets offense that looked as though it would be the most feared lineup in franchise history ranks 28th of 30 teams in Major League Baseball in runs scored per game. That includes an astounding 78 contests in which they were held to just three runs or fewer as well as getting shut out 12 times.
Conforto was one of the major strugglers within the Mets’ sputtering offense — all but eliminating the chances of him securing a monster new contract in free agency this winter. He slashed just .222/.338/.366 with 12 home runs and 50 RBI in his first 118 games.
“I don’t know if I can explain it. I can only speak for myself,” Conforto said. “I just wasn’t competing at the level I expect to. My approach changed at times. Maybe there were some mechanical issues going on, but it’s tough to try to explain what happened. I know for sure that each of these guys will learn from this year.”
They went 29-33 in one-run ballgames, not only failing to come up with timely offense, but also putting tons of pressure on a pitching staff that was seemingly held together by glue and duct tape.
Carlos Carrasco missed more than half the season. Noah Syndergaard hasn’t pitched in 18 months and is trying to get back for at least the last week of the season. Above all, though, superstar hurler Jacob deGrom has been out since July with arm issues that plagued him for most of what should have been a historic season.
“Our pitching was always pitching in stressful situations… a lot of stressful innings for them,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “Our low hitting with runners in scoring position… that all led to stressful innings and that wasn’t sustainable.
“It’s disappointing. That’s the word. You can go back and think of the different things we went through and where we are today.”