Oh, how excited we were, when we wrote our mag column a fortnight ago, espousing the specific virtues of this Mets team, daring to dream that this could be as unlikely a giddy a breakthrough as 1969. Since that column was published, the Mets have gone 1-9. Uh ... sorry?
Last night was as brutal a loss as any of them, an 8–2 ten-inning loss to the Nationals, the second game in three days in which the Mets have shipped an offending pitcher out of town within hours of his failure. (Last night it was Pedro Beato; Saturday it was Miguel Batista, who, in the one bright spot of the last week, you will never, ever have to watch pitch for the Mets again.) You could say this is as bad as it could get for the Mets, but you were probably saying that last week.
This was probably always going to happen with the Mets, who were playing over their heads and simply hoping the kismet and good vibes would overcome that bullpen. It didn't, and now they're two games under .500 and in the midst of another of those second-half collapses that their fans know oh so well. But there is good news! The collapse couldn't have happened at a better time: Now the Mets know precisely where they stand. They know it's not time to buy. Had this collapse held off until August, the Mets might have given away a key prospect or two to help fix that bullpen for a likely quixotic postseason run. That it happened now means the Mets can get back to the business of rebuilding, which was the plan for this year all along.
Of course, just because the Mets won't be buying doesn't mean they'll be selling. Mostly because they don't have much to sell. They won't be trading David Wright, and the only two "major" pieces they have to sell, Scott Hairston and Tim Byrdak, wouldn't fetch enough in return to make it worthwhile. There's no Carlos Beltran–for–Zach Wheeler deal to be had this year. Chances are, the Mets team you're seeing right now is going to be the one you see at the end of September. Now you just don't have to worry about them losing any prospects. So there's that. You don't have to worry about them contending anymore, either, though.