For about 90 days until last week, the New York Mets dominated the NL East division.
It wasn’t always a smooth ride, but the mediocrity in the division helped them stay on top for nearly three months.
However, the Mets have been losing games at a rapid pace since last month, and they have a 9-15 record in the second half.
They have dropped four games in a row and lost their division lead last weekend, getting swept by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Now, the Mets are 56-55, about to fall to .500, and 2.5 games behind the Phillies.
Actually, the Mets are now third, because they also fell behind the Atlanta Braves (0.5 games back.)
The New York Mets on July 25 were 4 & 5 Games Up on PHI & ATL. @fangraphs had NYM odds to make postseason @ 79.1% (87.9 wins)
Now on August 8 at 5pm ET, Mets 2.5 GB from Phillies and in third place. @fangraphs has NYM odds to make postseason @ 21.9% (83.0 wins)
— Dan Vasta (@The_StatsGuru) August 8, 2021
The situation is getting hairy in Queens, and one has to wonder if failing to make the playoffs should be considered a disaster.
The Mets Have A Whole Structure In Place To Make The Playoffs
The answer to the question is yes: if the Mets miss the postseason another time, it should be considered a disaster.
A sports-related, or competitive, disaster, that is.
After all, the other teams are also professional, talented, and with playoff aspirations.
However, the Mets have a unique combination of circumstances and huge expectations that means sports-related disappointments tend to have a bigger impact on their fan base.
They are one of the most passionate fan bases in MLB, and want their third World Series championship, and the first one since 1986.
Expectations are high because a billionaire owner who happens to be a fan of the team took over as the new owner just in time to plan the whole offseason.
The Mets brought capable executives, brought a respected veteran as the president of baseball operations in Sandy Alderson, and made moves to win now and in the future.
Yet, as of now, all they have to show for it are a record that is now dangerously near to .500 and lots of injuries that severely damage their rest-of-the-season outlook.
Injuries, Underperformance And Passivity Have Gotten In Their Way
However, in our analysis, we just can’t overlook the fact that the Mets have been heavily affected by injuries on all fronts, more than any other team in MLB.
At one point, they had 17 players on the injured list.
Injuries have depleted the Mets at times and severely hampering their depth and star power.
Still, the Mets should be held accountable for failing to bring a high-profile rotation reinforcement near the deadline and/or a top bullpen arm.
A lack of awareness and some bad luck also contributed, as the team getting deGrom’s MRI results (which were not encouraging) near the trade deadline was less than ideal.
"At that point, we didn't see any top of the rotation guys that really fit for us"
Zack Scott talks about how Jacob deGrom's injury affected the Mets' trade deadline plans: pic.twitter.com/6W2jhJXvoi
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 31, 2021
The Mets have a lot of resources invested in winning this season, so it’s baffling that, at times, they seemed to lack the sense of urgency to improve the roster (beyond Rich Hill and Javier Baez, who is an odd fit) and keep the advances of other rivals in the division in check.
They still have time to save their season, but they need to stop the bleeding and start winning some games.