Failure? The Mets fell short of the ultimate prize, winning the National League Championship but losing to the Kansas City Royals, the one team in the Adulterated League they matched up poorly with, in the World Series. Maybe it was the somewhat reduced expectations, but I wouldn’t call this year a failure. Actually it is a qualified success, but one that will be better measured based on what our heroes do next year.
If this is the start of a run of sustainable success with them actually winning the World Series sometime between now and say 2018, then this year will be viewed as the start of something big. If they go the other route and are scuffling in the second division in two years, then this year is a failure, the season they got to the big dance, only to choke away an opportunity to win it all.
All of that is yet to come and we here at Mets Today will be around to chronicle it. But meantime, lets take a final look at the 2015 season, which had its ups and its downs. Along the way there were many moments that can keep us warm this winter and on this day of giving thanks, is our way of saying thanks to the Mets for the memories they gave us this year:
- Mets Today Contributor Correctly Predicts Division Win 4/1/15. Just in case you forgot, you can read it here.
OK just kidding. I’ll never mention that again. Here is the real list:
- Jacob deGrom’s and Daniel Murphy’s Hollywood Ending, 10/15/2015: This was the game of the year and probably in the best Met game since the Bobby Jones game in 2000. We can argue that point in the comments section. Here’s what came down: after failing to put LA away back in New York, the Mets traveled west to face the dreaded Zack Greinke and the red-hot Justin Turner. Down 2-1 after the first inning, the Mets rallied in the 4th when Murphy “stole” third as the Dodgers fell asleep during a shift play against Lucas Duda, who had walked. Travis d’Arnaud’s sacrifice fly to right scored Murphy, who later homered in the 6th against Greinke to give the Mets the lead. After a shaky first, deGrom settled down and pitched five strong innings, including a momentum-changing, two-out K of Adrian Gonzalez with two on in the 2nd. Manager Terry Collins brought in Noah Syndergaard in the 7th and “Thor” recorded two strikeouts around a walk. Collins’ hot streak continued as he brought in Jeurys Familia for a six-out save. BTW–this game occurred on the anniversary of Game Six of the 1986 NLCS.
- Thor drops the Hammer on KC 10/30/2015: What could be better than a Mets’ World Series win? OK, three more wins. Syndergaard knocked down Alcides Escobar with his first pitch, which got the KC dugout chirping. David Wright and Curtis Granderson both homered as the Mets won 9-3. Unfortunately, this was the last win of the season for them.
- Matt Harvey and Syndergaard Deep Freeze The Cubbies, 10/17 & 10/18/2015: Talk about a coming out party. If the Mets young pitching hadn’t already made an impact on the national conscience, these two games probably did it. Harvey and Thor combined for 18Ks of the surprisingly over-matched Cubs. The heat from both aces juxtaposed nicely with the early fall chill that turned Citi Field into an icebox. MVP Murphy homered in both games and d’Arnaud had a nice shot that clanked off the apple. Familia saved both games. The Cubs season essentially ended on the frozen tundra, but there was still another act to go…
- Miguel Montero Channels Mickey Owen, 10/20/15: You can read about Owen’s blunder here. In the sixth inning of this game, Montero dropped a third strike against Michael Conforto, which allowed him to go to first, but more importantly, saw Yoenis Cespedes score from third. Instead of the ending the inning, the Cubs fell behind 3-2. The Mets, who never trailed in the series, went on to a 5-2 win. In case anyone in Chicago didn’t believe in curses before this game, this one must have convinced them.
- Aliens Abduct Sandy Alderson, July 24 through August 31: We certainly did our share of vilifying Alderson for most of 2015. Then, on July 24, he stirred, shipping two minor league pitchers off to Atlanta for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Not bad, we all said. Then on July 27th, he swapped a more prospect-y arm to Oakland for 8th-inning arm Tyler Clippard. Whoa, we all said. He then had a near miss on Carlos Gomez before the BIG one, an 11th hour deal, trading one of his blue-chip prospects to Detroit for Cespedes. These deals, along with Wright and d’Arnaud returning from the DL and Conforto’s promotion from the minors, totally transformed the team. Alderson wasn’t done, he traded another minor leaguer to Arizona for reliever Addison Reed on August 31. Other than Reed, there is an good chance that none of these acquisitions will be wearing a Met uniform come Opening Night next April. But, kudos to Sandy for the guts to make the moves that transformed the franchise, opening what is hopefully a long window of contention a year ahead of schedule.
- Tears of Joy One: The Cincy Clinch, 9/26/15: I am passionate about the Mets, but I seldom get choked up over them or game results. I came close on this one. Harvey atoned for his agent’s ill-timed snafu over innings limits earlier in the month with a strong game. My son was set to play in a baseball tournament that night, but we really wanted to see the clinch live. With him in full uniform, we stood in our living room while the Mets kept scoring, delaying the inevitable. Finally the game ended and we saw the celebration. My son had the game-tying RBI double in his game later that evening. It was a great baseball day in my household.
- Washington’s Farewell Address, 9/9/15: The end of the Nationals. Covered here.
- Tears of Joy Two: Wilmer Unpacks His Bags, 7/31/15: The Mets thought they had traded Wilmer Flores to the Brewers for Gomez two days earlier. Flores, believing he had been traded, cried while on the field, which the cameras spotted. The Mets lost the game, but to their good fortune, the deal fell through. That Friday, the same day Cespedes, instead of Gomez, had been acquired, Wilmer hit a 12th-inning walk-off homer that was the first salvo in the eventual demise of the Nationals. Along with the Marlins, I really despise Washington, so two entries in a row is sweet. Speaking of sweet…
- Sweet 16 as Wright Returns, 8/24/15: Wright returned from the DL against one his favorite punching bags, the Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff. Fittingly, he homered in his first at bat with Howie Rose’s hopefully ad-libbed “Holy Smokes” call a priceless soundtrack to the event. Flores, d’Arnaud, Juan Lagares, Murphy, Cespedes and Michael Cuddyer also homered in the 16-7 win.
- Meet The Matz, 6/28/15: I am not 100% sold on Steven Matz just yet, but his debut was one for the ages. Not only did he strike out six Reds, he also had three hits and 4 RBI, while making an internet sensation of out his Grandpa.
- 11 in a Row, 4/12 to 4/23/15: Yes that happened this past season. It seems a like years ago doesn’t it? This streak essentially buried Atlanta, Philly and the Fish. The 1986 Mets had an April streak like this one. While the 2015 team couldn’t sustain this level of play, it certainly got the season off to a good start. They could use another one in 2016.
- Logan Verrett’s Spot Start 8/23/2015:. Remember Wally Whitehurst? He had a couple of decent starts in 1991, including one stellar outing on July 4th that convinced the Mets to insert him into the rotation at the expense of Ron Darling. Wally went 1-7 before the plug was pulled on the experiment, while Darling was traded to Montreal (and later to Oakland) where he averaged 162 innings per year for them for the next four years. Whitehurst bounced between three teams during the same time and barely pitched that many innings in the next four years combined. Verrett got a spot start against Colorado while Matt Harvey was rested. Logan tossed a one hitter in Coors Field with 8Ks. A few birdbrains floated the idea of dealing Harvey and inserting Verrett in his spot. That it didn’t happen is why this game is included here. Maybe Sandy isn’t so dumb after all.
And finally, thanks to all of our readers. Despite the drop in content frequency due to some life changes among the staff, we still continued to get a lot of hits to this site. We’re still here, we’re still viable and some good changes are coming.
What was your favorite Met moment of 2015?
Beyond that, deGrom and Familia against the Dodgers in the NLDS, the baserunning against the Cubs in the NLCS, and the quality ABs by Granderson throughout the postseason were highlights.
Murphy’s HR streak was unforgettable too, but more in a fortunate fluke sort of way, at least for me.
Watching Cespedes mash 4 extra-base hits in Colorado was fun, as was the HR fest in Philly.
When Familia first added his splitter to his sinker/slider combo, he looked completely unhittable for a month, holding opponents to a .400 OPS from mid-August to mid-September. Smelling opponents’ fear of your closer is a great feeling.
Syndergaard’s start at Cincy on 9/25 was utter dominance for 7 2/3 innings, with only one hard base hit, and 11 Ks in 20 batters at one point.
DeGrom was even better, every time he took the mound against an AL West team. He held the Padres, Giants, Dodgers AND Rockies to two hits apiece without giving up a single run.
Possibly the most impressive individual achievement, though, was David Wright getting back to being a capable big league player after developing a condition that puts some people in wheelchairs.
Thank you, Mets!
Yes, there were many awesome moments, and you covered them quite well above.
For me, the Matz debut, with three hits, and his life-long grandfather living the dream was just fantastic.
While they didn’t beat themselves vs. the Nats, they did to some extent vs. the Royals, and I still can’t get Duda’s throw home out of my mind. Yes, they likely would have fallen in KC, but you just never know. Anyhow, not to end on a downer, it was a tremendous season, one which has succeeded (at least in my mind) in removing the negativity associated with the team and Met brand. We cannot just assume WS trips, but they are very well poised, and should be able to assemble a top NL team for 2016 without anything drastic. It is a good time to be a Met fan. I look forward to more fun in 2016, and more excellent dialogue on Mets Today.
In 2016 their team should be better but if they don’t go after Cespedes, who will fill his shoes? In House or from afar? Now or at the deadline again?
I haven’t done the Math but it seams like a no brainer that they should get Cespedes back, sold out ballparks and NY for themselves.
Well soon see the plan they have in place