Every fan base has those games that rip you apart emotionally. Some fan bases have many more to choose from than others. In my years as a New York Mets fan, there are many games and moments that have ripped me apart. I have rounded this down to the Ugly Eleven All-Time Met losses in my lifetime. As a 45-year-old fan, I am going to limit the pain to games starting in the ’80s going up until now. This list is sure to bring back many bad memories for every Mets fan.
As I reveal the 11 unlucky games some will be really easy to guess. But I do have some games on my list that don’t get talked about nearly enough in my opinion. The breakout is as follows: six regular-season games, two NLCS games, and three World Series games.
Before we get into the “Ugly Eleven” as an honorable mention I want to highlight my “Fantastic Four” from the 2019 season. There were many games that could have been picked but these four losses were not only brutal but served as a microcosm of the New York Mets 2019 season.
June 23rd vs the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field
Cubs 5 Mets 3
We all remember this game. It was the finale of a four-game series that saw the New York Mets beat the Chicago Cubs twice in the first three games. Winning three out of four in Wrigley would have been a big boost to a team that needed it. Jacob deGrom was on the mound so you knew the Mets were going to have a good chance to win the game. You also knew that either the bullpen or the lack of offense would doom deGrom. This is something Met fans have gotten used to seeing the last few seasons. deGrom was his usual brilliant self pitching six innings giving up two runs with nine strikeouts. He even had an RBI single. deGrom can do it all.
Cole Hamels pitched well too giving up three runs in seven innings. The Mets led 3-2 going into the bottom of the eighth inning. Seth Lugo who was in his second inning of work gave up a leadoff single to Kyle Schwarber. After a Kris Bryant flyout, Anthony Rizzo walked. Javier Baez then crushed a three-run home run to sink the Mets. The Mets would go quietly in the ninth inning after being held hitless the last three innings by that vaunted Cubs bullpen. But the fireworks were just beginning.
The on the field story was that Lugo was not as sharp as he usually is and threw 20 pitches in the seventh inning. By the time Baez came up to the plate in the eighth inning Lugo’s pitch count was well into the 30’s. Mets closer Edwin Diaz was on two days rest and was not called on to get a five-out save.
The clubhouse story was Mets manager Mickey Callaway stating that Diaz would have got the call if it was a four-out save but was not available for a five-out save. The press was peppering Callaway with question after question until it blew up. Callaway got into a heated argument with reporter Tim Healey. Callaway cursed at him and pitcher Jason Vargas had to be restrained by Carlos Gomez and Noah Syndergaard.
Not only did the Callaway show he is not right for this team and town the Mets lost a game they could have won. This game showed that the Mets were still had a lot of circus clown in them despite having several good players and stories throughout the 2019 season. The Mets would then go into Philadelphia and get swept in a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies followed by two home losses to the Atlanta Braves to drop to 10 games under .500 at 37-47.
July 19th vs the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park
Giants 1 Mets 0 10 innings
The New York Mets came out of the All-Star break with a 4-1 record and were seven games under .500 as they started a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants. After dropping a 16 inning heart breaker in the opening game of the series the Mets turned to ace pitcher Jacob deGrom. Once again deGrom was brilliant tossing seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. This time the bullpen did not let deGrom down it was the offense who failed to score a run all game long. In fact, the Mets managed only three hits and a walk. The game ended in the bottom of the 10th inning on an error by Dominic Smith in left field.
Out Of Position
Smith is a first baseman, not an outfielder. But as any Mets fan knows this is a trademark move for the Mets. Over the years the Mets love to move players away from their natural defensive position to get their bat in the lineup basically trading defense for offense. The problem is this is not the NBA and it does not work. We have seen the likes of Mike Piazza and Todd Hundley both moved to another position in two failed experiments only to keep their bats in the lineup.
This series against the Giants was emotionally brutal as the Mets lost three games out of four. All three losses were in extra innings and were due to a lack of hitting, more bad bullpen performances, and poor defense especially by Smith. This is not shade getting thrown to Dom Smith. I like his bat and love the fact that he was willing to play anywhere to get in the game. This is on the Mets coaches for not putting Smith in the best place for him to succeed. On top of that, the Mets wasted another deGrom gem.
August 28th vs the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field
Cubs 10 Mets 7
The New York Mets got hot after the All-Star break and had a 67-63 record coming into a three-game series vs the Cubs in Queens. The Mets had just came off another gut-wrenching three-game sweep against Atlanta and needed to get back on track. After losing the first game the Mets needed a win badly as their losing streak just hit four games. Also, the Cubs were one of the teams the Mets were fighting with for a wild card spot. On the mound for the Mets was the ultra-talented Noah Syndergaard.
The Mets badly needed a gem from Thor but got coal instead. Syndergaard was rocked giving up ten runs in three innings leaving the Mets in a 10-1 hole after three innings. The Mets scored five runs in the fifth inning to cut the lead in half. The Mets still trailed 10-6 going into the sixth inning. But on this night the Mets got six shutout innings from the bullpen keeping them in striking distance. Despite having two runners on base in each of the next four innings the Mets lost 10-7.
Mets Showed Fight
If there ever was a game the Mets had no business winning it was this one. But still, with some timely hitting, the Mets could have won this game. After the game, it was reported that Syndergaard does not like throwing to Wilson Ramos suggesting this was a reason he did not pitch well. The discussion among Met fans throughout last season was “do we or don’t we” trade Syndergaard. Especially if the Mets did not have any intentions of signing him long term.
As talented as Syndergaard is everyone in baseball is still waiting for that one season of utter dominance like deGrom has had the last two. Syndergaard will be a free agent after the 2021 season and just had Tommy John surgery. This will make the long term decision on his Mets future that much harder to predict.
September 3rd vs the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park
Nationals 11 Mets 10
This was the most brutal loss of them all. Guess who was on the mound. You got it Jacob deGrom in another episode of how can the Mets snatch a loss out of the jaws of a victory. This game was different. The New York Mets scored four runs in the fourth inning capped by a two-run homer by Joe Panik. After a Jeff McNeil home run in the top of the eighth inning made the score 5-2 deGrom came out to pitch the bottom of the inning. Just two batters into the inning Juan Soto hit a two-run homer off of deGrom chasing him and bringing in Seth Lugo.
Huge Break Maybe
Lugo has now established himself as the Mets best relief pitcher. However, Lugo didn’t always pitch back to back games and would be used for two-inning stints when needed. This game was looking like another two-inning sting for Lugo. He cruised through the eighth inning and Brandon Nimmo led off the ninth with a solo homer to give the Mets a 6-4 lead. Then this game got crazy.
With runners on first and second and one out, Tomas Nido hit a tailor-made double-play groundball to shortstop Trea Turner. Turner thought there were two outs and calmly threw the ball to first base retiring Nido for the second out. From there the Mets made the Nationals pay. McNeil hit a two-run single and Pete Alonso followed with a two-run bomb to give the Mets a 10-4 lead.
The New York Mets now with a six-run lead replaced Lugo with Paul Sewald. It is debatable if Sewald had enough time to properly warm up. From there every Mets reliever pitched like throwing gasoline on a fire. Sewald got roughed up followed by Luis Avilan and then finally Diaz who gave up a walk-off three-run homer to Kurt Suzuki.
Every Met fan could see how this game was going to play out as the ninth inning was unfolding. Turner’s mental error in a crazy way won this game for the Nationals. It got the only reliever any Mets fan had any confidence in out of the game. The Mets would finish the season on a 16-8 run. But they could not make up enough ground to make the playoffs.
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