The New York Mets’ playoff hopes may come to an end tonight, but there is still reason for optimism among the fan base. The fact that the Mets gave their fans exciting baseball all the way until the end of September is a welcome change from the past few years, where the Mets were playing out the string by August. That could have been the case once again this year, with the Mets entering the All Star Break at 40-50, but they rallied to turn this year into a net positive.
At that point, the Mets had the second worst record in the National League, ahead of only the Miami Marlins. The Mets may well end up with the NL’s sixth best record, meaning they would be the best team that failed to qualify for the postseason in the Senior Circuit. It would have been very easy for the Mets to pack it in after a disastrous June left them buried in the standings, but this team fought hard to get back into the race and give themselves something to play for.
Last night’s win over the Miami Marlins was a perfect example of that resiliency. The Mets had lost the previous game, and they saw on the scoreboard that the Milwaukee Brewers had won, so it would have been understandable if they mailed in the end of that game trailing 4-0. Instead, the Mets took advantage of two Michael Conforto homers to tie the game and walked it off in the 11th on a Brandon Nimmo bases-loaded walk.
That game may not mean much in the grand scheme of things, essentially delaying the Mets’ elimination by a night, but there is plenty to build on here. The Mets got to play through a pennant race in September, which is a great experience for a roster loaded with young core players like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and J.D. Davis. Those guys have all gone through the pressure of meaningful late-season games, and that experience should be a big help for them going forward.
This group has also demonstrated that they will fight until the last out, which is an admirable quality a lot of teams don’t possess. Plenty of players have played the role of hero for the Mets down the stretch, so it wasn’t just a case of Alonso coming through in big spots. That may not be necessarily sustainable year-to-year (ask the Boston Red Sox about the difference from last season to this one), but it does create a certain camaraderie that adds a lot to a big league clubhouse. If the Mets can find a way to bottle some of that and carry it into 2020 with them, that could be a key ingredient to a playoff run.