In what became a play with three acts, the New York Mets made the final act of their 2018 season a good one. The Mets continued to build on their strong second half with an excellent September, where they went 18-10 to finish the season with a 77-85 record. That record is a full seven games better than the 70-92 mark the Mets posted in 2017, and there is plenty of credit to go around for the team’s strong finish.
The Mets dropped only two series in the entire month, dealing critical losses to teams like the Philadelphia Phillies (who fell out of the playoffs entirely thanks in part to four losses in seven games with the Mets), Los Angeles Dodgers, and Atlanta Braves. The games may not have meant a lot for the Mets, but the team deserves a ton of credit for not simply rolling over and playing dead with a lot of meaningless games on the schedule. The result was a team that built a ton of momentum at the end of the season that can hopefully be carried over to the start of 2019.
Offensively, the Mets got a ton out of Michael Conforto, who was arguably the hottest hitter in baseball not named Christian Yelich. Conforto batted .294 in the month of September while racking a team high nine home runs and 29 RBI’s in 27 games. Jeff McNeil also continued his hot hitting, batting .333 with a homer, nine RBI’s, and an .841 OPS in 102 at bats. Other solid offensive contributors included Amed Rosario (.291/2/8/8 stolen bases), Dominic Smith (.270/3/8) and Jay Bruce (.241/5/18).
While the offense was good, the pitching was even better for the Mets. Jacob deGrom likely sealed the National League’s Cy Young Award with an excellent finish, going 2-1 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts, striking out 45 batters in 35 innings pitched. The rest of the rotation was also brilliant as Noah Syndergaard (3-1, 2.20 ERA in five starts), Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.86 ERA in three starts), Steven Matz (2.51 ERA in six starts) and Jason Vargas (2-1, 3.27 ERA in four starts) gave the Mets a taste of what they could look forward to with good health in 2019. The Mets also got good showings from young relievers Daniel Zamora (0.00 ERA, 8 strikeouts in four innings pitched), Tyler Bashlor (2.45 ERA in eight appearances), and Jacob Rhame (1-0, 1.04 ERA in seven appearances).
All of those things are good signs for the Mets headed into 2019, but they still have a lot of work to do to become a playoff contender. The Mets need to upgrade at catcher and in center field offensively. More depth would also help, particularly on the infield. The bullpen also needs a lot of help with only Anthony Swarzak, Seth Lugo, and Robert Gsellman locked into roles out there in 2019. The Mets still have a long way to go, but perhaps September showed that they aren’t as far away from being a winning team as they looked back in June.