Well, Mets fans, we did it. We endured another long season of Mets baseball, only to see our boys play to an 79-83 record (fourth in the NL East) and miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Though we will now turn our attention to football, hockey, or basketball, let’s take a look at some of the memorable moments of this season.
The Mets looked great on opening day with Johan Santana leading the team to a 7-1 victory over the Marlins and Josh Johnson. But with Mike Jacobs, Gary Matthews, Jr., and Alex Cora in your Opening Day starting lineup, what could you really expect from this season?
Early in the season, the Mets battled the Cardinals in a 20-inning thriller and emerged with a 2-1 road victory. Mike Pelfrey actually picked up the save in this one.
Speaking of Pelfrey, he was unstoppable in the early going. He started the year 10-2 with a sub-3.00 ERA. It finally appeared that Mike figured things out on the mound. The fans showed their appreciation by giving Pelf a curtain call after his start yesterday, although he had to be coaxed by Jerry Manuel.
Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco each contributed with exciting walk-off homers in back-to-back games in early May.
In late May, the Mets pulled off three straight shutouts of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies looked inept during that series, but everything seemed to click for the Mets during those games.
On June 8, the Mets battled the San Diego Padres at home. Mike Pelfrey and Clayton Richard engaged in an epic pitcher’s duel, with each only giving up a run. Ike Davis stepped in to lead off the bottom of the 11th and crushed a ball out of sight to right field for the win. Davis had an impressive rookie season, and the future looks bright for our young first baseman.
Two days later, Jon Niese took the hill in the second game of a doubleheader, still against the Padres. Niese gave up a third inning double to Chris Denorfia, but that was it. Despite the overall numbers, Niese has stretches of brilliance this season and will be a cog in the Mets rotation next year.
The road trip that followed saw the Mets win seven consecutive games. The Mets struggled all season on the road so that was a nice bright spot.
On a fateful night in mid-August, the Mets unsung hero of 2010 R.A. Dickey came so close to entering the Mets record books. He looked masterful against the Phillies, with his knuckleball dancing all night. He three a one-hitter that night, with the only hit being a bloop single to Cole Hamels…the pitcher of all people. Still, it was a great performance and a great season for Dickey.
Even when the Mets were out of contention, it was great to see walk-off wins off the bats of Luis Castillo, Ruben Tejada, and Josh Thole late in the season.
David Wright rebounded from a poor 2009 to hit 29 HR and drive in over 100 runs. He also received a nice curtain call from the fans following yesterday’s game. Angel Pagan finally got the chance to “spread his wings” and had a memorable season this year.
Despite these positives, the Mets wouldn’t have an under-.500 record had it not been for some negatives.
Jason Bay, who the Mets signed to lucrative offseason contract, struggled to the tune of only six home runs. While he missed a good chunk of the season, his production was far amiss from team expectations. Hopefully, he can bounce back in 2011, assuming he’s healthy.
Despite his pathetic performance, Oliver Perez refused to be sent to minors to work on his control. He put the Mets in a tough bind, since they were basically pitching a man short for a large part of the season. How fitting that Ollie’s first appearance in 27 days came in the 14th inning yesterday. And how fitting that he walked in the run that wound up being the game-changer. No wonder why Pedro Feliciano pitched in over 90 games.
The Mets were actually looking good heading into the All-Star break. However, for some strange reason, the three-game series against the Marlins in San Juan started a downward spiral. They lost two of three in tough fashion and began burying themselves in a hole.
Still, 48-40 going into the break was solid. However, the infamous West Coast road trip caused the wheels to officially come off for this Mets club. They lost three of four in San Francisco, were swept by Arizona, an lost another three of four to Los Angeles. That trip basically spelled the end of the Mets hopes this season.
In the midst of this streak, Pelfrey started his own streak of starts where he looked bad, and I mean bad. But overall, 15 wins in a nice accomplishment for Big Pelf.
And then there’s K-Rod. You know he was actually having a decent season before the assault on his girlfriend’s father. I’m sure you all know this horrific story so I’ll spare you the details.
Instead of having their play on the field dominate headlines, the biggest issues surrounding the Mets had to do with the futures of Jerry Manuel and Omar Minaya (which we will hopefully find out about soon).
Finally, the Mets gave up 12 grand slams without hitting one of their own. Not a stat to be proud of.
So, the season is over. One of the main things to remember about this season is that some of the integral parts of the future (Davis, Thole, Tejada, Gee, and Duda) all got some great experience. Can they continue their strong performances?
February 2011 can’t come soon enough. I’m excited. Are you?
Feel free to add some other positive or negative moments that I may have forgotten.