Mets Memo- 5/15
Season-defining losses are a fact of life for Mets fans. Almost every year, fans can pinpoint one game or series and say “yup, that’s where it all went wrong.”
Two years ago it was the July 29th game vs. the Padres, where Jeurys Familia allowed three two-out hits—the last of which a 3-run go ahead home run by Justin Upton—to lose 8-7. But just a day later, Yoenis Cespedes joined the team, and Mets 2015 campaign took a 180 degree turn as the team went on to win their first pennant in 15 years.
Last year it was the disastrous mid-August home sweep by the Diamondbacks, culminating in a 9-0 shutout in game three and a post-game tirade from Terry Collins. But series victories in St. Louis and Philadelphia in the subsequent weeks allowed the Mets to claw their way back into the playoff picture, eventually clinching the 1st Wild Card spot with a game to spare.
The reason why these losses aren’t as memorable as they might have been is because the team was still able to make the playoffs, so there was never a need to pinpoint where things went wrong.
But that might change in 2017. And this year, the “season-defining” loss has come way ahead of schedule.
On Mother’s Day, the Mets blew a 7-1, and later 9-6, lead to the Brewers, losing 11-9 in the final game of a Milwaukee sweep. Leave it to the Mets to have their ace on the mound, their best hitter (that’s right, I said it) Michael Conforto come up a single short of the cycle, and still find a way to lose in humiliating fashion.
Things are getting bad. And there’s not much help on the horizon.
Cespedes is about 2 weeks away from returning, Noah Syndergaard is out until at least the all-star break and Familia is 50/50 on whether he comes back at all - and if he does, it’s going to be some time in August or September.
Each injury seemed to be a worse blow than the previous one: Cespedes is the team’s biggest bat but other guys (Conforto and Bruce, namely) have stepped up in his absence. Syndergaard’s injury, meanwhile, was a real blow because Matt Harvey, Robert Gsellman, and Zack Wheeler haven’t been good enough to replace such a gaping hole. But the Familia injury might be the one that sinks the Mets: the bullpen, even with him, has been shaky at best this season. But some people thought Addison Reed would be fine in the closer’s role in Familia’s absence.
All Reed did was give up a 3 run, go-ahead home run to Manny Pinna in the bottom of the 8th inning on Sunday afternoon. Because of course.
But here’s what’s crazy: Mets don’t need to be exceptional right now. With the makeshift roster they have right now, all they need to do is stay afloat. Don’t forget, last year’s Mets were under .500 as late as August 24th and still finished 87-75. And keep in mind Jacob DeGrom missed almost all of September with an Injury. If injury recoveries go to plan, this Mets team will be primed for a nice September run.
If the Mets are one or two games below .500 at the All-star break (or god willing, above .500) they’ll be fine. But if they’re 10 games below .500 at the all-star break…well, that’s just too big of a hole to dig out of.
That latter possibility is becoming more and more likely every day.