The time has unfortunately come again. After climbing from the depths of being above of only the Marlins in the national league to getting with a half a game out, carried by their starting pitching and core of young position players, the Mets have fallen short. After losing 2 of 3 to the Phillies and being 4 games back with only 20 the Mets have only a 7% chance to reach the postseason (according to fan-graphs). So what happened?!?! There is a long version but it came down to 2 things. An awful bullpen and maybe an even worse manager.
The bullpen has pitched 462.1 inning this year which ranks them 28th in baseball or the 3rd fewest only behind the Indians and Nationals but they also have the 3rd worst ERA, so a group that shouldn’t be over worked is still struggling as worse as anyone. The main culprits are also the guys who were brought in to fix it Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia. Familias ERA is 6.19 and Diaz is at 5.77, I should be able to stop there but more needs to be said. The much maligned Familia has actually been one of the most consistent relievers in baseball since he broke out in 2014 never having an ERA 3.13 outside of his injury riddled 2017. Being brought in as the setup man, most thought he wouldn’t be asked to pitch in the high leverage situations that fan remember him failing in. His BB/9, H/9 And HR/9 have all jumped considerably which directly has lead to his struggles and with 2 years left on his contract, all this points to trouble going forward. The statically struggle for Diaz is much more worrisome. Last season Edwin was the best closer in the game and in the 2 years prior he wasn’t the best but he was very effective, never posting an ERA over 3.27. He’s given up 14 home runs after only allowing 16 earned runs last season, his H/9 has almost doubled as has his WHIP. It’s really stunning to someone go from the best to in useable in games with any meaning. The facts are, unfortunately, the facts here and that is the Mets bought incredibly high on a closer and it has blown up in their face. Could he bounce back? Maybe. That talent is most certainly there but the chances of a repeate 2018 happening isn’t likely.
Now on to the Manager, Ooofff, what a diaster. A laundry list of questionable moves compiled with his apparent lack of comprehension of what is actually happening has led fans to scream rated R comments at the TV every time he says “we battled” after another bullpen implosion. I’m not sure about anyone else but my tipping point was when he went off on a reporter and the apologized so poorly that he needed to do it twice, so poorly actually that the ace, leader and only person around here who had any sense Jacob Degrom offered to be a spokesman and apologize for everyone. Multiple reports have said the Wilpons are the only reason he still has a job (to no one’s surprise) and Brodie wanted to fire him during the season. If he’s brought back for the 2020 season than you can’t sell me this team is serious about winning.
After reading this you might think the Outlook for 2020 isn’t great but that isn’t the case. Pete Alonso is a stud, so are Jeff McNeil and Michael Confoto. JD Davis had a breakout season as did Amed Rosario. That’s 5 position players, join them a hopefully healthy Brandon Nimmo, the steady hit machine Wilson Ramos and whatever you get from Robby Cano that is a solid lineup which put them in the top half of baseball in wRC+, wOBA and offensive WAR ( all according to fangraphs). The offense is there, The starting pitching is there, the defense is a bit suspect and should be addressed but not playing everyone out of position and maybe getting an actual center fielder for the love of Carlos Beltran. A fix in the bullpen so that Seth Lugo’s arm doesn’t fall off and a competent manager would do wonders for this team. I try to “believe” but they make it harder and harder every season.