The New York Mets have had a season filled with their share of tricks and treats. From the Saturday afternoon comeback against the Yankees and Mariano Rivera to the several Bobby Parnell blown saves, this team has had a wild ride.
On this Halloween day, and in the theme of the the season, I thought it would be interesting to look at the moments that scared us the most from the 2011 season.
Number Three: A 5-13 start
The Mets began the season with decent expectations. They were starting without ace Johan Santana, but were hopeful he would be back by the All-Star break. With a new manager in the fold, they were looking to make a statement. The statement they ended up making was that they were not going to compete. Fans saw the 5-13 start as the end of the season. Only real fans continued to follow them into May and June.
The team started the first series in a promising way by taking two of three from Florida. It went downhill there, though. They lost two of three in Philly and in Washington. If that wasn't bad enough, they were swept in a four game series by the Colorado Rockies at home. That series included a double header sweep.
Two days later, they were swept again in a double header by Atlanta. They even lost two of three to the Houston Astros. That start kept this team out of contention. Even a .500 record in this initial stretch would have been sufficient. They went the rest of the season trying to get even.
Number Two: Two for one special
On August 7th, the Mets were finishing a series with the Atlanta Braves. Jose Reyes suffered a re-strain of his left hamstring. The first injury kept him out from June through the All-Star break. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough, they lost Daniel Murphy. Murphy tore the MCL in his left knee.
Prior to this, he was carrying the team in the absence of Ike Davis and David Wright. This killed the Mets already slim hopes of putting together any kind of postseason run. Reyes came back to win the batting title (though not without controversy) for the first time in Mets history. Murphy is still uncertain for next season.
Number One: Goodbye Carlos
On July 28th, the Mets came to a big decision at the time. They traded their leading power hitter, Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants gave up minor league pitching sensation Zack Wheeler. With this trade, the Mets were not only announcing their best hitter this season was no longer a Met, they were saying they were changing direction and had given up on the season to an extent.
It was a scary time for fans because it meant change. As much as Beltran had been scrutinized in Queens, he was also one of the Mets all-time top 15 stat leaders in several categories. They were losing a solid hitter in their history in exchange for an unproven pitcher. For the team, it was scary because the clubhouse dynamic had changed. They had to change with it. The players had to agree that they were not going to throw in the towel.
In hindsight, it may be for the best. Beltran struggled with the Giants and eventually finished the season injured, while Wheeler may turn out to be a top tier pitcher in the rotation. Time will tell just how much the Mets won this trade by, but for now, Sandy Alderson still looks like a genius. At the time, though, Mets fans were being scared out of their seats.