So keep your auditions for somebody
Who hasn’t got so much to lose
‘Cause you can tell by the lines I’m reciting
I’ve seen that movie too
This has been a tough stretch of games for the Mets. With people already out, people going on the disabled list and guys not able to go deep into games, it hasn’t been easy for the pitchers, even if the offense has been extremely productive as it squares off against two first-place teams. In their last eight games, the Mets are 2-6. Nothing remarkable about that, especially given that seven of these games have been on the road. But how they got here – well it’s both unusual and a painful reminder of a time we’d most like to forget.
Here are how the last eight games have played out and the late Win Expectancy (WE) for the Mets in the games they lost:
5/23 – Loss 2-1. Had a 91.5 WE in the 9th inning
5/24 – Win 5-0
5/25 – Loss 4-3. Had a 96.1 WE in the 9th inning
5/26 – Loss 17-6. Had a 70.7 WE in the 3rd inning
5/27 – Loss 8-7. Had an 81.6 WE in the 7th inning
5/28 – Loss 4-3. Had a 78.7 WE in the 9th inning
5/28 – Win 8-5
5/29 – Loss 7-6. Had a 91.3 WE in the 8th inning
Wow. Just wow. If you knew nothing else besides these WE, you’d expect a 7-1 or 6-2 record. Maybe because it’s the Mets you’d think 5-3. But 2-6 is just heartbreaking.
It brings back memories from a decade ago, when Billy Wagner got hurt and the Mets’ bullpen couldn’t hold a lead. That year the Mets had a 3.5 game lead with 17 games to play and couldn’t hold it, as they went 7-10 down the stretch, including 3-6 in their last nine games.
But this recent streak of hard-luck games was more winnable than that closing 2008 kick. Here are the WE for the final six losses of 2008:
9/20 – Loss 4-2. Fell behind early and never exceeded the 50.0 WE of the first inning
9/21 – Loss 7-6. Had a 74.6 WE in the 8th inning
9/22 – Loss 9-5. Had a 68.8 WE in the 3rd inning
9/24 – Loss 9-6. Had a 93.3 WE in the 9th inning
9/26 – Loss 6-1. Fell behind early and never exceeded the 50.0 WE of the first inning
9/28 – Loss 4-2. Had a 58.8 WE in the 7th inning
This year’s stretch had five losses where the team had at least a 78.7 WE in the seventh inning or later, including three with over a 90 percent chance of a win. The final 2008 collapse had just one loss with a WE over 90 from the seventh inning on.
To be sure, 2008 saw some stunning late-inning losses. That’s the year if the Mets had won every game they led after eight innings that they would have won the division by 12 games. But they were a bit more spread out.
It feels like right now is a defining moment in the 2018 season. The club can retreat to the corner and lick its wounds or it can come back fighting. We heard so much in the offseason and in April about what great leaders this team had. Now we get to find out how true that statement is.