Disappointment. That is, alas, the word that best captures the Mets’ last five seasons before this one. The club fielded some stellar players — David Wright, Jose Reyes and Johan Santana, to name just a few — but just couldn’t seal the deal to get into the playoffs. And the last few years the Mets haven’t even come close.
But who knows? 2012 is going better than anyone thought it would before Opening Day. When it comes to the boys from Flushing, Miracles Do Happen, and Ya Gotta Believe.
Record: 88-74, second in National League East.
In perhaps the most disappointing season in Mets history, the team leads the division for virtually the entire season before finishing second to the Philadelphia Phillies. After a 34-18 start, the Mets go 40-42 in June, July and August. After winning nine of their first 11 games in September, they lose 12 of their last 17 to finish second.
Reyes leads the club in runs with 119; Wright hits 30 home runs, drives in 107 and scores 113; Carlos Beltran hits 33 home runs and drives in 112. Moises Alou enjoys a 31-game hitting streak.
John Maine and Oliver Perez lead the pitching staff with 15-10 records, while Tom Glavine is 13-8, which includes his 300th career win, Aug. 5 in Chicago. Reliever Billy Wagner saves 34. Attendance climbs to 3,853,955.
Record: 89-73, second in National League East.
After a 34-35 start, Willie Randolph is replaced as manager by Jerry Manuel. Under Manuel, the Mets go 52-32 and are in first by one game on Sept. 19, before losing six of their last nine to once again come up short.
Wright ties the club record with 124 RBIs while hitting 33 home runs and scoring 115 runs; Carlos Delgado hits 38 home runs and drives in 115; Beltran hits 27 homers, drives in 112 and leads with 116 runs scored. Reyes scores 113.
Johan Santana, acquired from Minnesota, has a stellar season (16-7, 2.53 ERA, 206 strikeouts) while Mike Pelfrey is a pleasant surprise at 13-11.
The Mets go 3-0 at Yankee Stadium for the first time ever. In their final year at Shea Stadium, they draw 4,042,045 fans. Shea closes for good with a 4-2 loss to the Marlins on Sept. 28. Scott Schoeneweis is the loser, Beltran hits the final Mets home run, and Ryan Church is the last batter.
Record: 70-92, fourth in National League East.
Citi Field, the Mets new ballpark, opens for business on April 13 with a 6-5 loss to San Diego. On June 1, the Mets are 28-21, before going 41-71 the rest of the season. Along with several crippling injuries to front-line players, the season is epitomized by two unbelievable losses: On June 12, the Mets are leading the Yankees 8-7 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Bronx, when Luis Castillo drops a routine pop-up, which allows 2 runs to score; and on Aug. 23 at home, they are losing 9-7 to Philadelphia when, with two runners on and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth, Jeff Francouer hits into an unassisted triple play to end the game.
Daniel Murphy leads in homers with 12, and Wright leads in RBIs with 72. Santana tops the staff at 13-9. Francisco Rodriguez saves 35.
Record: 79-83, fourth in National League East.
On July 1, the Mets are 44-34, but they go 35-49 the rest of the season to once again end under .500. Wright leads with 29 home runs and 103 RBIs, while rookie Ike Davis hits 19 homers. Pelfrey is 15-9, Santana goes 11-9, and R.A. Dickey is a pleasant surprise at 11-9.
Manuel is fired at the end of the season.
Record: 77-85, fourth in National League East.
Under new manager Terry Collins, the Mets’ struggles continue. They are 55-51 on Aug. 1, but go 22-34 the rest of the way. In his final year with the team, Reyes wins the batting title at .337, while scoring 101 runs. Beltran, despite being traded to the Giants in late July, leads the team with 15 homers and 66 RBIs; he also hits three home runs in a game in Colorado on May 12. Both Wright and Davis spend significant time of the disabled list. Rookie Dillon Gee goes 13-6 to lead the pitching staff.
Next week: the Mets all-time dream team.