Monday, November 02, 2015

Best in the NL. Top Dogs In NYC.

If I had told you back in June that the New York Mets would still be playing baseball on November 2nd, what would you have thought? "Yeah, in Puerto Rico or one of the Winter Leagues?"

It was an amazing run for the Mets to get to play meaningful baseball this late in the season. I got to see my first ever World Series game live and in person this past Saturday night, as I sat in left field for Game 3. It was the thrill of a lifetime, as Citi Field was simply electric throughout most of the game.

A lot of things went right for the Mets to get where they were last night. They made a few shrewd trades, to acquire Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard, Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. Their main opposition in the NL East, the Washington Nationals, did not live up to expectations and faded badly.

The young pitching came through big time. The bullpen did very well, with Jeurys Familia becoming one of MLB's best closers. They took out the Dodgers in five games, and shut down a young and upcoming Cubs team in a four-game sweep.

I thought that if the Mets pitched as well in the World Series as they did in the NLCS it would be the Mets first championship since 1986.

But it was clear this was a determined and focused Kansas City Royals team. They beat the Houston Astros in a five game ALDS, and the Toronto Blue Jays in a six game ALCS. And they kept coming from behind to do it, with an amazing eight wins after falling behind in the postseason, a record since MLB went to the current playoff format in 1995.

Unfortunately for the Mets, they did not pitch lights out they way they did against the Cubs. Matt Harvey was only so-so in Game 1, and Jacob deGrom got lit up in Game 2. Noah Syndergaard was terrific in Game 3, and Steven Matz pitched five good innings in Game 4. The only otherwordly start was Harvey's amazing Game 5 performance. And Terry Collins was absolutely right letting him come out for the ninth inning with the 2-0 lead. He had retired the last six hitters without problem. Familia was struggling in this World Series, having blown two previous save opportunities. Harvey was clearly the best choice to start the ninth. You go with your best.

The Royals simply were not to be denied. Harvey walked Lorenzo Cain, who stole second. You can argue that Collins should have lifted him after the walk, as Eric Hosmer doubled Cain in to make it 2-1.

Familia got three ground outs, but the second one will be talked about for a long time. Hosmer raced in from third as David Wright fielded a grounder and threw to first, and Lucas Duda threw wildly home and it tied the score.

It was a battle of the bullpens, and you knew KC would win that one. Five runs in ninth gave them their second ever World Series title, 7-2. Salvador Perez was voted Series MVP.

This Series will be remembered for Daniel Murphy's error in Game 4 and Duda's wild throw in Game 5. But their offense was held in check, as the Mets hit just .193 in the five games. It should be remembered for a KC team that lost in the 2014 World Series in seven games, with the tying on third in the ninth in the final game. It was a brutal way to lose a World Series, but they came back this year and deserved this championship. They scored 51 runs in this postseason from the 7th inning on. That is pretty damn impressive. If the Mets terrific young starters couldn't stop this Royals team, nobody in the NL would have. They are worthy champions.

Mets fans are heartsick today, but they should hold their heads up high. The Mets are the top dogs in town again, and that is a good thing. (Who's that other team again?) Their future is bright, with a starting pitching staff that is the envy of MLB. The Mets will be back.

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