Alonso: 'I guess now the fat lady's singing'

Mets eliminated from postseason contention after Brewers' win

September 26th, 2019

NEW YORK -- If the Mets needed a reminder of what could have been, it was laid plain before them Wednesday night at Citi Field. Their best pitcher, , offered a final, convincing (and possibly superfluous) argument for a second consecutive National League Cy Young Award. Their best hitter, , bashed his 51st home run to move within one of Aaron Judge’s Major League rookie record. Their talent saturated the diamond.

On their 158th try, the Mets played one of their most complete games of the season in a 10-3 thumping of the Marlins -- the kind that made those in attendance wonder, with some measure of seriousness, how this collection of players could ever lose. But they did lose, often. Before they secured the final out, the Mets learned that they had been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention by virtue of the Brewers’ win over the Reds.

“I guess now the fat lady’s singing,” Alonso said. “It’s unfortunate, but we came back so awesomely, and the way that we went about our business was spectacular. It’s bittersweet, if I had to put it shortly."

With those words, one of the more turbulent seasons in franchise history came to an unofficial end. That the Mets remained in mathematical contention until the fifth-to-last game of the year marked something of a miracle, considering they held a losing record as recently as August and a 3.9 percent chance to make the postseason, according to FanGraphs odds, in late July. But the Mets rallied to win 15 of 16 during one second-half juncture, taking advantage of a soft midseason schedule to reestablish themselves as October aspirants.

They then played sub-.500 ball over a roughly five-week stretch, allowing the Nationals and Brewers to take control of the NL Wild Card race.

After Wednesday’s game, manager Mickey Callaway addressed the Mets in uniform in their clubhouse, urging them to take pride in their ability to stay alive until the last week of the season.

“I felt like we still had a chance until I saw that ‘F’ up on the board,” Callaway said, referring to the Brewers’ score going final. “I really did. That’s how I felt all year, and I thanked them for making that so."

One of the most significant forces behind the Mets’ renaissance was deGrom, who threw seven shutout innings to move to second in the NL in ERA, second in innings, first in strikeouts and first in WHIP. Those numbers may be enough to win deGrom his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award, even though they weren’t enough to keep the Mets afloat.

“I’m happy with how I ended my season, but not happy where we’re at,” deGrom said. “The goal is to win the World Series, and we fell short of that goal. So it’s a tough night, a tough pill to swallow. We proved that we can win baseball games. We’ve just got to put it together for a full season."

It was a quiet end for a Mets team that began with bold aspirations, rooted in general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s preseason proclamation for the rest of the NL East to "come get us." The division obliged; the Braves took over first place in mid-June and never looked back, while the Nationals parlayed a midseason hot streak into an NL Wild Card spot. The Mets, meanwhile, are guaranteed to finish in third or fourth place for the third consecutive season, and the eighth time in the last 11 years.

Third or fourth place, despite the fact that deGrom is the favorite to defend his NL Cy Young Award. Despite the fact that Alonso is the overwhelming favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award. Despite the fact that , who sustained a season-ending right wrist fracture, will finish among the top handful of NL hitters in batting average. Despite the fact that has hit 33 homers, that the rotation stayed uncommonly healthy, that contributed an eye-popping season in relief. Those are all positives, and the Mets choose to see them as such, even though they did not result in a playoff berth

“I thought we played pretty good baseball down the stretch to try and stay in it,” Callaway said. “Obviously, Milwaukee was just off the charts. Nobody was catching them.”