The Mets picked a bad week to have a bad week.
Or, perhaps more likely, the Royals simply exploited the Mets greatest and widely discussed weakness in 2015.
The World Series could be defined simply by a myriad of missed opportunities for the 2015 New York Mets, as they watched their season take a one-way trip to oblivion aboard the runaway train known as the 2015 Kansas City Royals.
The missed opportunities began right off the bat in this World Series for the Mets. Literally.
The first pitch Matt Harvey threw on Tuesday set the stage and the tone for a series in which the Mets always seemed to be playing one step behind the Royals.
Harvey threw a mid-90s fastball down the middle to open the bottom of the first inning in Game 1 last Tuesday, a pitch Alcides Escobar shot into the gap in left-center field. But the ball was indeed playable, as both Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes approached the spot near the wall to catch the ball.
But the ball wasn’t caught. (more…)
The morning after is never kind to the team that’s forced to watch a champion celebrate.
Especially after a World Series where everything that got that club to the dance went incredibly wrong in one fell swoop.
In what turned out to be yet another gut wrenching and heart breaking loss for the Mets, there was no question the Mets left everything they had out on the field on Sunday night at Citi Field.
The ending was unkind and the loss certainly left behind many “what-ifs” and “if-only’s,” but the Mets played their final game of the season with a lot of heart and emotion, doing everything they possibly could to get this series back to Kansas City.
Unfortunately, they fell a little short.
The Mets faded away in Game 5 of the World Series, going down 7-2 to the Royals in extra innings as Kansas City captured their first World Championship since 1985.
The Royals won the World Series 4-1 over the Mets.
Here are my takeaways from the loss…
The season is over for the New York Mets.
Another day, another brutal loss for the Mets in the 2015 World Series. And mercifully, their season is now over.
Things started off just fine for the Mets. In fact, things were fantastic into the ninth inning.
This night was really all about Harvey, who was picked up by Granderson thanks to his leadoff home run in the first inning, and really his leadoff walk in the sixth inning.
The Mets had minimal offense, but with the way Harvey pitched, it seemed like that was all which was necessary on this night to pull within one game of the Royals in the World Series.
But it wasn’t, because the Royals just always seemed to find a crack in this series, and turn it into an abyss for the Mets to fall into.
Harvey was breathtakingly good in his last start of the year, leaving it all out on the field in dominating fashion. He pounded the strike zone on Sunday, living off his fastball and kept the Royals guessing with a brilliant array of off-speed pitches right out of the gate.
It was the best game of his life in the biggest moment of his life, and he soaked it all in while shutting down this incredible Kansas City offense from the first pitch he threw.
Meanwhile, the Mets didn’t muster much offense against Edinson Volquez, although they got an early lead in the first inning thanks to a leadoff home run from Curtis Granderson. They scratched across only one more run in the sixth inning after loading the bases with nobody out, and didn’t really mount anymore meaningful threats despite having numerous opportunities to knock Volquez out early.
But to Volquez’s credit, he buckled down and made some gutsy pitches of his own and did what he could do to give the Royals a chance.
It took a while, but eventually the Royals broke through in the ninth inning after Harvey was removed from the game with the tying run aboard, leaving it all out on the field in the process.
Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain to leadoff the inning, then Eric Hosmer doubled him in. Terry Collins lifted Harvey and went to Jeurys Familia, who induced a groundball to the right side to advance Hosmer to third.
Then with the infield in, Familia got the groundball he needed to the left side as David Wright held Hosmer at third. But as Wright threw to first, Hosmer took off for the plate and scored the tying run to the surprise of everyone in the ballpark and everyone watching on television.
It goes down as another blown save in this World Series for Familia. In two of them, he didn’t give up a hit.
But for the Royals, it was just a tremendous, gutsy base running play by Hosmer, as he forced a good throw from Lucas Duda at first base, which did not occur.
And once again, the Mets – as it’s seemingly gone all week long – could not make the big play when they needed to.
Its so unfortunate, because in that ninth inning in particular, Terry Collins did everything right, the lone exception maybe being leaving Harvey in after the leadoff walk. But the Royals have bled the Mets to death for every mistake and decision they’ve made through the entire World Series, and that did not change in Game 5.
So on this game went to extra innings, an area of the game the Mets really didn’t need to be in when facing elimination against a superior Royals bullpen.
And as was the case in Game 1, it just seemed like a matter of time before the Royals would claw the Mets and on this night, win the World Series.
The Mets got otherwise good bullpen work from Familia and Jon Niese, and Collins handed the ball to Addison Reed in the 12th. But he allowed a leadoff single to Salvador Perez. He was immediately replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who of course stole second. He then got to third when Reed induced a groundball from Alex Gordon.
Ned Yost then turned to Christian Colon for his first at-bat in the postseason. And he will forever be remembered for delivering the Royals their first World Championship since 1985.
The Royals poured it on from there, and fittingly, an error by Daniel Murphy reared it’s ugly head in the 12th, allowing Kansas City to run away in this game.
It was a sad but very fitting end to this World Series. The Royals owned the Mets from the very first pitch Harvey threw last Tuesday, and owned them until they sucked the last drop of blood from their souls at the end of Game 5.
The best Harvey Day ever, and it was still not enough.
With the Mets backs against the wall, they asked Matt Harvey to help them get this series back to Kansas City.
And in what was his last start of a brilliant comeback season in 2015, harvey delivered the best game of his life against a Royals team which has shown time and time again they can beat anyone in any place and any time.
He came out of the gate pitching with a purpose, basing everything off of an absolutely electric fastball with a brilliant curve, a brilliant change-up and aggressive pitching inside to both the Royals lefties and righties. At one point, he struck out four straight batters in the fourth and fifth inning with utterly dominating stuff before walking Alex Gordon with one out in the fifth. But he resumed striking out Royals batters, getting Alex Rios and Edinson Volquez looking to round out the fifth inning, leaving the Royals completely befuddled into the middle innings, and cruised through eight innings and owned the Royals in the process.
He was electric, intense, dramatic, energetic, and both gutsy and dominant all rolled into one, delivering in the biggest start of his brilliant young career.
Harvey was so intense and passionate about this game, he battled both Dan Warthen and Terry Collins to stay in this game after breaching the 100-pitch threshold after the eighth inning. The fans began chanting “WE WANT HAR-VEY!” in an effort to coax Collins to send him back out there in the ninth inning.
Collins obliged Harvey and the the fans, gave the ball to his pitcher in the ninth inning.
But he got into immediate trouble when he walked Lorenzo Cain and allowed an opposite-field double to Eric Hosmer which made the score 2-1. That ended Harvey’s night, but unfortunately the door was open for the Royals and they went right in and left Collins, Harvey and the Mets with a real sunken feeling.
But if there was any doubt Harvey’s guts and desire to win for these Mets, that has been put completely to bed with his showing tonight.
He is a tremendous Met, a tremendous player, and an absolute winner.
The Mets really needed to come out and attack Volquez early and often on Sunday. At first, it looked like they would do that when he allowed a solo home run to Curtis Granderson to leadoff the game for the Mets on a hanging change-up.
But that was really it for the Mets until the sixth inning when they barely scratched a run across after loading the bases with nobody out.
They also grounded into three separate double plays which shutdown any of those attempted rallies.
The frustrating part was they had Volquez on the ropes several times on Sunday. He allowed four men to reach base leading off an inning, but the Mets could only plate two of them thanks in part to grounding into three double plays and striking out on five other occasions.
That kept the Royals in the game, which is really not what the Mets can afford to do.
And of course it came back to bite the Mets in Game 5.
The Royals retired 13 straight batters between Michael Conforto’s single in the seventh inning and Daniel Murphy’s walk in the 12th inning.
There’s not much else to say. Second guess the manager all you want – they didn’t hit much in this series, they didn’t field either, and that is why they lost.
Don’t be ashamed…
This was a disappointing series on a number of levels for the Mets. Their defense wasn’t good and betrayed them at the worst possible times, they were locked out offensively, and they just couldn’t match the Royals speed and aggression right out of the gate in the World Series.
It seemed like every button the Royals pushed worked, and every button the Mets pushed led to failure.
The Mets were outplayed, outclassed, outsmarted, overran, and simply run over by this Kansas City team. They force teams to play up to them, and that never works for an opponent. The Royals deserve a lot of credit – that’s a fabulous team.
But this should not take away from a fabulous and memorable season for the Mets. This was a team picked by almost nobody to even contend for the Wild Card, let alone win the National League East and get to the World Series.
This was an amazing first step for this organization, and a surprising one at that. They were a pleasant surprise and a wonderful story all year long as they battled so many untimely obstacles and injuries, some controversy and instability only to pull together, revamp the lineup and go on this magical run into November.
They have nothing to hang their heads over. There’s work to do, clearly, but the Mets are close. Really, really close.
They should be proud of themselves even though they came up short against a fantastic Kansas City Royals club. I know I am proud to have covered them and to be a fan at this moment.
The Mets will look to stay alive in Game 5 of the World Series when they take on the Royals at Citi Field at 8:15 pm.
Here is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:
Curtis Granderson – RF
David Wright – 3B
Daniel Murphy – 2B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Matt Harvey – RHP
Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:
Matt Harvey will start for the Mets.
Edinson Volquez will start for the Royals.
Here is what I’m looking for from the Mets tonight:
It aint over.
Last night stunk. Plain and simple. And the Mets are in a boat load of trouble as they have their backs to the wall and on the brink of ending their season.
But the season isn’t over until the Royals win one more game. And until then, the Mets need to just take this one pitch at a time, and focus on getting this series back to Kansas City.
It starts with cleaning up their act, playing better, and winning on Sunday night.
If they’re going to lose this World Series, it would be better if they lost making their best pitch, and playing their absolute best.
Then, there are no regrets, and no “what-ifs.”
They just need to take this pitch-by-pitch, win this game, and then focus on Tuesday. They can’t worry about what might have been or what lies ahead.
All that matters is winning Game 5 on Sunday.
And it’s the last Harvey Day of the year. He is tasked with keeping the season alive and getting his team on a charter flight back to Kansas City later on tonight.
He pitched well on Tuesday night in Game 1, but got away from what made him successful when he threw a season-low 37 percent fastballs. Ultimately, that came back and bit him in the sixth inning of that start.
It will be interesting to see how much he goes back to his fastball and whether or not he comes hard and in to the aggressive Royals hitters.
He’s had a rollercoaster of a year, but for the most part a very successful year. Hopefully he can give the Mets one of his patented big starts and shut down the Royals, and give the team a pulse.
Go batty, have fun.
Nobody expects the Mets to win this World Series now. Only six teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in World Series play, so history certainly plays a role in that thinking.
But if that’s the case, the Mets have nothing to lose now. There’s no pressure in that sense, so the Mets should use go out there and have a whole lot of fun in Game 5.
It starts with attacking Edinson Volquez early in counts and early in this game, get a big lead and tack on runs to make for a relaxing game. After last night, the Mets could sure use another laugher and at least let the Royals know that they won’t go down without the fight of their lives.
Terry Collins is well aware that he and the Mets could very well be in the drivers seat in the World Series, and sitting up 3-1 if they had been able to execute better defensively, specifically in two plays in Game 1 and Game 4 against the Royals.
But instead, the Mets have their backs to the wall in Game 5, as they’re the club facing elimination and needing to win three games in a row, two of which at Kauffman Stadium if they can pull off a win on Sunday night.
But as he’s done all year, Collins is not harping on the past and what could have been.
Rather, he is focused on trying to pull his team back into this series with a win on Sunday.
“I don’t live in yesterday. I live in today,” Collins explained. “I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, I only worry about today. Last night is over. We’ve got to get ready for tonight. The biggest game of the year is tonight. We have arguably maybe our best pitcher going tonight. We’ve got to go win. And we can’t look back and say, ‘What if?’ Well, we could do that all season long. We’re not. We’re here. So we’ve just got to move forward.” (more…)