Mets lose despite deGrom’s award-worthy performance, expanded postseason might be here to stay

Well, I guess the Mets are finally done competing for the World Series in 2020. On Monday night, even with the season on the line and Jacob deGrom on the mound with his best stuff, New York lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1. deGrom made his penultimate push for the Cy Young Award with 14 strikeouts, two walks, and two runs allowed in seven innings, but it wasn’t enough.

The Rays threw a bullpen game and the Mets only broke through in the fifth inning when Jeff McNeil hit an infield single with the bases loaded. Willy Adames made a great play to keep the ball from escaping the infield, which would have allowed the tying run to score. Instead, the Mets settled for one and J.D. Davis lined out to right field to end the inning. If the Mets still had their mojo, Davis’s drive would have landed in the outfield and cleared the bases, but this isn’t our year.

New York is somehow still only 2.5 games out of the wild card, but there are too many teams to overcome, and some of those teams are playing each other. It’s been frustrating to watch the Mets blow so many opportunities to get back in the pennant race only to look at the standings and see that they’re not far out. They now have to win all six of their remaining games to finish with a .500 record. That might be good enough to sneak in, but probably not.

In both the National League and the American League, there are teams at or below .500 that will probably make the playoffs. That makes me wonder about the rumor that MLB will stick with the 16-team field beyond 2020.

“I’m a fan of the expanded playoffs… I think getting back to that three-game series in the first round is a positive change. I think the initial round could have the kind of appeal you see in the early couple days in the NCAA tournament. It’s going to be crazy — just a lot of baseball in a compressed period of time. We’re going to have a bracket, obviously. People love brackets and love picking who’s going to come through those brackets. I think there’s a lot to commend it. It is one of those changes that I hope becomes a permanent part of our landscape.”

– Rob Manfred

Fans say that they don’t want half of the circuit in the postseason, but will an expended field really drain excitement from the regular season? I think it will, but I’m not sure if regular season ratings would decrease enough to make baseball pass on more revenue-generating playoff games. MLB has to be careful that it doesn’t become like the NBA where the top teams can sleepwalk through the regular season, even if that means sticking with the current postseason format.

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