NEW YORK (AP) — Mets manager Buck Showalter expects little empathy from the rest of the major leagues for his team's sorry season.
Expected to contend for a title with a record payroll of $355 million on opening day, the Mets entered the schedule's last three weeks with a 65-77 record, eliminated from the NL East race on Sept. 2. They were nine games back in the wild-card chase with 20 to play and six teams ahead of them for the final berth.
“You’re looking for sympathy up here, people will step on your neck and laugh while you’re bleeding,” Showalter said before Monday night's series opener against Arizona. “Just like we would have at them last year.”
New York's record was so bad the team's management gave up at the Aug. 1 trade deadline, jettisoning star pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander along with closer David Robertson, outfielders Mark Canha and Tommy Pham and reliever Dominic Leone.
New York's depth was first tested when All-Star closer Edwin Díaz tore the patellar tendon in his right knee on March 15 while celebrating the final out of Puerto Rico's victory over the Dominican Republic at the World Baseball Classic.
“I had turned it off,” Showalter said, “and the phone started just — I think you all call it blowing up — but I call it just being very active. And I went: Uh oh, this ain’t good.”
In Díaz's absence, Robertson became the closer and other relievers were forced into later innings.
“We tried to figure it out with Robby. We tried to figure it out with other guys, but nobody cares about your problem," Showalter said. “Everybody’s got something.”
Veteran left-hander José Quintana, Monday's scheduled starter, didn't make his season debut until July 20 after fracturing a rib during spring training and undergoing surgery.
“It's an excuse,” Showalter said. “We should have played better. We had opportunities to make it not matter.”
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press