On July 13th, following a 4 day All-Star break, the Mets were 1/2 game behind 2nd place Atlanta for the 2nd and final Wild Card spot. 6 games over .500, and now with the opportunity to cement themselves as a playoff-bound team.
It's hard to believe that was the discussion only 42 days ago. But in a season with many twists and turns, the Mets have fallen off the road map and into the abyss, 1/2 game away from the cellar of the NL East.
How did things get so bad for the Mets?
Batting - Now, don't get us wrong. The Mets haven't expressed themselves as a strong overall team in the batter's box. For three months, the core of the Mets offense centered around one man - David Wright. His hot April and May cooled to a frosty July and August, and no longer is he a feared man to the opposing pitcher. Before the All-Star Game, Wright was a .351 hitter, but has since batted a .248. Ike Davis not being a consistent strong batter throughout the season hasn't helped, and Jason Bay... well, the less that is said about him is better.
Overall, as a team, their .244 batting average in this second half doesn't help the cause.
RISP - A strong batting team is able to either produce a big hit that will bring runners on 2nd and 3rd home, or they are able to pull the ball deep enough to bring in the run from 3rd. The Mets don't have that firepower. Continuously through out this second half they have had runners on 2nd or 3rd with nobody out and haven't been able to drive the runner home. Think of runners in scoring position without a single out as opportunities, and when you leave them on base, they are genuine wasted opportunities.
KKKKKKKK - There are many games where the Mets have struck out, resulting in 40% or more of their 27 outs. Those lead to the wasted opportunities mentioned above, when the pitcher records an out without putting the ball in play. Granted, a good pitcher will be able to get 10+ K's in a game, but when your K's outweigh your H's on a consistent basis, then there's a problem.
Promotions/Demotions - Lucas Duda was a dud for the Mets when he was on the field. His fielding errors outweighed his occasional Pepsi Porch power. Demoted, he is doing more for the Buffalo Bisons than he ever did for the Mets. Omar Quintanilla wasn't a power hitter for the Mets. He's still not a great hitter for the O's, but in 2 fewer games he has hit three home runs (compared to 1 with the Mets) and is a .365 hitter at Camden Yards. Maybe it's time for the Mets to consider a trip to the minors for Jason Bay and see if he can't get out of his trainwreck of a season.
And we could make countless references to a bullpen that has allowed the opposing team to blow games open, but we'll save that for another misadventure.
Now coming up next ... have the Mets given up?