Aside from the fact that Curtis Granderson didn’t hit a homerun, Opening Day sure felt like a repeat of the 2015 World Series. As the late Yogi Berra would say, “It’s déjà vu, all over again.” We had the following:
- Yoenis Cespedes failing to make a routine play in the outfield leading to a run;
- A good Matt Harvey effort getting wasted;
- The Royals taking advantage of a poor Mets defense;
- Michael Conforto being really impressive; and
- The Mets losing.
For all the debating over the course of the offseason regarding Terry Collins leaving in Harvey, we got a taste of what Game 6 would’ve looked like. It wasn’t pretty. It really highlighted what the Royals did well, and the Mets did poorly.
The main difference between these teams is fundies (as Keith Hernandez puts it), defense, and a little bit of luck. Cespedes drops an easy out off the bat of Mike Moustakas, and he later scores on a single past Asdrubal Cabrera, who showed off his limited range at short on the play. Eric Hosmer‘s bunt stays fair while Juan Lagares‘ goes foul. Yes, it would lead to a run. Alex Gordon hits one off the end of the bat falling just out of the reach of Lagares to score a run. It was as frustrating as the World Series.
Since the Mets lost, let’s start with the bad. Mainly, it was David Wright. He couldn’t hit a fastball. He was 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. The last strikeout was in the ninth with the tying run on third. He made a couple of plays in the field, but he was able to get absolutely nothing on his throws. While it’s still early, and you don’t want to overreact to anything. However, with Wright’s back, I’m not sure it overreacting.
Also, the home plate umpire wax terrible. He was calling strikes in the area where Noah Syndergaard goes when he’s standing 60′ 6″ away, but over the plate was called a ball. Even worse than that was the ESPN brand new telecast. They delayed the start 40 minutes for an already late 8:00 start. They did inane segments like “The Mendoza Line” and Aaron Boone imitating batting stances. Even better, there were all-in on the Royals. When the Mets got something going in the 8th, they were being Royals-esque.
This is also Opening Day – a time when anything is possible. A time when we are supposed to be full of hope. There were definitely reasons for hope.
Harvey was good. The stat line wasn’t pretty with him allowing four runs (three earned) with eight hits, three walks, and only two strikeouts in 5.2 innings. However, his stuff looked good, and he really wasn’t helped by his fielders.
Conforto was 2-2 with a double and two walks. Last year was a fluke. He’s a much better player than he showed he was last year. Another good sign was the Mets offense that was asleep for almost all of Spring Training, woke up in the 8th and made it a game. The rally was highlighted by a Lucas Duda two run bases-loaded RBI single.
Sadly, the 8th inning rally fell short as the new double play combination make the outs killing the rally. In the ninth, we yet again saw Wade Davis and record the save, stranding the tying run on third, and locking down the 4-3 win. It was as frustrating a loss as you could’ve imagined. However, the Mets can build off of this. There was nothing you can point to tonight that would make you believe the Mets aren’t World Series contenders.
It’s time to dust themselves off. Continue to work on things during their off day, and go to the next ace in the fold in Game 2.
The Mets lost the World Series 4-1. The Mets easily could’ve won the series in the reverse. The difference? The Royals executed in late innings. Terry Collins was terrible. The Royals got a little luck. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Not this series. Not tonight.
This was the moment Matt Harvey we all imagined when he first came up and pitched against the Diamondbacks. This is the moment we anticipated when Harvey started the All Star Game at Citi Field. We were left dreaming of it when he missed all of 2014 while he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
My God was he awesome. Awesome may be overused, but I can’t think of a better word. I’m not sure a word exists to describe how incredible Harvey was. He went 8+, five hits, two earned, two walks, nine strikeouts.
For all the narrative thrown his way during the innings limit drama, he promised he would be here when the time called for it. Terry Collins tried to take him out of the game before the ninth. Harvey heard the news from Dan Warthen, and he went over to Collins and told him he’s not coming out of the game. He then threw in a lipper and charged out to the mound. You don’t get more old school than that.
Unfortunately, it was the wrong decision. Harvey allowed a leadoff single to Lorenzo Cain followed by a stolen base and a Eric Hosmer double. Familia got a groundout sending Hosmer to third. Then the Mets late inning defense showed its ugly face again. Salvador Perez hit a groundball to David Wright. Wright looked back at Hosmer, but it wasn’t enough. Hosmer took off with Wright’s throw, and he scored on a poor Lucas Duda throw. Blown save. Tie game.
It certainly highlighted the fact that Terry Collins left Harvey in a better too long. It highlighted the poor offense with four double plays off of the grieving Edison Volquez. The only offense the Mets could muster was a Curtis Granderson leadoff homerun and a Duda sacrifice fly. The latter being the only run scored when the Mets had the bases loaded and no out. The first out of that inning came on a Yoenis Cespedes popout after he fouled a ball off his knee. He would have to leave the game after the AB.
For the second straight game Familia got hit with the blown save that wasn’t his doing. He got the groundball. He did buckle down, got out of the ninth, and shut down the Royals in the tenth. Jon Niese kept it tied. Addison Reed didn’t.
Perez leadoff with a single that dropped right on the right field line. Jarrod Dyson pinch tab and stole second. Travis d’Arnaud had no shot. With the way he’s throwing right now, he couldn’t throw out Sid Bream. Dyson would score on a Christian Colon single. Naturally, it was Colon’s first at bat in the playoffs.
Of course Daniel Murphy made another error. Of course Hansel Robles went unused again.of course Collins would wait for it to be 4-2 before lifting Reed. Of course Bartolo Colon would allow a bases clearing double to Lorenzo Cain. The game was out out of reach at 7-2.
Wade Davis came in, and the Mets went quietly into that good night. Duda struck out. d’Arnaud struck out. Michael Conforto singled leaving Wilmer Flores to make the last out. He struck out. Fittingly, it was his final at bat that left us all in tears.
When the game started, I lived deGrom’s approach. He established the fastball and used his breaking pitches well. The Royals were making contact, but it wasn’t solid contact. I’m not sure what happened next, but there are some theories:
Ex-Met watching the game on TV texted me that he couldn't figure out what, but Royals clearly had something on deGrom tipping in stretch.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 29, 2015
Another ex-Met told me deGrom may speed up on fastball and slow on secondary pitches. Or, seriously, facial expression may change by pitch.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 29, 2015
Whatever it was, it was a slow death for deGrom. The Royals batted around. They had four runs on one leadoff walk and five hits. To put it in perspective, deGrom let up five hits in Game 1 of the NLDS, six hits in Game 5 of the NLDS, and four hits in Game 3 of the NLCS. He practically let up as many hits in that inning as any game this postseason. It certainly leads credence to Adam Rubin’s information when you consider:
Numbers worth repeating: deGrom threw 94 pitches, and of those, the Royals fouled off 23, and had only three missed swings. 3.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 29, 2015
Regardless, deGrom didn’t have it in the fifth. Maybe it was Game 5 of the NLDS. Maybe Collins just wanted to outdo yesterday’s ineptitude. In any event, he let the game slip away with Jon Niese ready I the pen.
Don’t worry, Niese warmed up again after an effective Hansel Robles appearance in the sixth. Collins would go an inning too long with Niese because why not? The game was within reach at 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. It would be out of reach at 7-1 after that. On top of that the Mets probably lost Niese for at least Game 3. I really don’t know what Collins was thinking.
To make matters worse, the Royals outpitched the Mets in this game. deGrom went five. Cueto pitched a two hit complete game.
Tonight, the only good news was Duda. He was 2-3 with an RBI. He got the only two hits on the night. I guess the other good news is that the Mets are getting out of town.
Coming into this game, neither the Mets nor the Royals had won the first game in the World Series. Last night into this morning, they turned it into an art form.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 28, 2015
Ultimately, the game came down to Chris Young and Bartolo Colon. One was as tall as the other one was wide. While Young was mowing down the Mets, Colon was on a tightrope. He finally fell through allowing a sac fly in the 14th. The winning runner was on base after a Wright error and no challenge. The game was just sheer torture. Prior to this, there was an actual baseball game.
The game did not start the way Matt Harvey and the Mets wanted. Yoenis Cespedes misplayed a fly ball out into an Alcides Escobar inside the park homerun. The first in the World Series since a player named Mule Haas in the 1929 World Series.
This would kill most teams, but these Mets have shown themselves to be resilient. Travis d’Arnaud singled in Daniel Murphy in the fourth. Curtis Granderson homered in the fifth. Conforto hit a sac fly scoring Cespedes in the sixth.
Harvey was good tonight. Not great. Not bad. Just good. He pitched six innings allowing five hits, three earned, two walks, and two strikeouts. He was handed a two run lead in the sixth and couldn’t hold it.
After one run scored, he had a chance to get out of it with Mike Moustakas at the plate. Harvey stuck with the offspeed pitches and was seemingly pitching around him to get to Salvador Perez with first base open. A changeup caught too much of the plate, and Moustakas got the RBI single an inning after he made a diving stop to prevent a possible RBI double. From the seventh inning on, it was a battle of the bullpens.
Remember, the biggest advantage the Royals had this series was the bullpen and team defense. Kelvin Herrera was lighting up the radar gun. He had two outs in the eight when Juan Lagares came to the plate. He was in the game as a defensive replacement for Michael Conforto. Mets fans collectively groaned.
Lagares had a terrific at bat fighting off everything Herrera had. He got a single. He then barely stole second, and then this happened:
Actually, no, but it was close.
Wilmer Flores hit a chopper towards Eric Hosmer, who tried to backhand it. It went through him, and the Mets grabbed a 4-3 lead. In a shock to everyone, Jeurys Familia blew the save on a Alex Gordon to homer in the ninth. It was a rare blown save:
Jeurys Familia had converted 21 straight save chances entering day Last one came day before Mets trade for Cespedes (July 30 vs Padres)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 28, 2015
Jon Niese came on to pitch in the game he was born to pitch in. Niese was born the day the Mets won the World Series. Well, he pitched like he was born for the moment. He went three innings holding the Royals at bay.
As we know it wasn’t enough. After watching it part of me wishes the TV stayed off.
However, the Mets hung in there. They’re resilient, and they have Jacob deGrom tonight. All they need is a split. It’s still on the table. I just hope Collins is better. The Mets generally need to be better.
They will. They just need to show the same resiliency they’ve shown in this game and all year.
Travis d’Arnaud finished the inning off by going back-to-back, apple-to-apple:
The Mets batted around in the first and had a 4-0 lead. This series, nay postseason, has belonged to NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, but tonight belonged to Duda. Duda came alive in this game. In addition to the three run homer, he would hit a two run RBI double in the second. It would be a record tying hit:
Mets with 5 RBI in postseason game Rusty Staub(1973) Edgardo Alfonzo (1999) Carlos Delgado (2006) Curtis Granderson (2015) Lucas Duda (2015)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 22, 2015
It was all the Mets pitchers need. Steven Matz no-hit the Cubs through three. However, he allowed a run in the fourth, and he got in trouble in the fifth prompting Terry Collins to replace him with two outs in the inning. Bartolo Colon came in and struck out Kris Bryant with runners on first and second.
Colon would pitch a clean sixth before being lifted for Addison Reed. Because Matz couldn’t get out of the fifth, Colon earned the win. It’s strange that the 42 year old Colin would get the pennant clinching win on a team with all of this dominant young pitching. The answer to the trivia question is Jeurys Familia struck out Dexter Fowler.
HISTORY FOR MURPHY! Daniel Murphy sets MLB record with his 6 straight postseason game with a HR. pic.twitter.com/pIniutM4da
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 22, 2015
Overall, the Cubs had some fight in them, but it wasn’t enough. They lost 8-3 tonight. The only damage inflicted was Yoenis Cespedes leaving the game early with a sore shoulder. Hopefully, it’s not series because he’ll be needed in the WORLD SERIES!
The Mets swept the Cubs. The Cuba never had a lead in the series. It is the first time the Mets have ever swept a best of seven series. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but the Mets are going to the World Series! There’s no way to describe this amazing feeling. There may be only one way to describe this:
Normally, if I said to you there was a run scored on an out, you’d assume a fielder’s choice or a sacrifice fly. You’d see the occasional suicide squeeze. In this strange postseason where you don’t have to touch a base to be safe and Daniel Murphy became Babe Ruth, the Mets scored the go-ahead run on a two out strikeout.
In the sixth, Yoenis Cespedes lead off with a single, and he moved to second on a Lucas Duda sac bunt. I thought he was going for a hit against the shift, but they awarded him with a sac bunt. Cespedes would steal third. Michael Conforto came up with two outs and would strike out:
— Cut4 (@Cut4) October 21, 2015
Then the inning got strange. Wilmer Flores went the other way and hit a sinking line drive to right. It went under the glove of Jorge Soler. Conforto was already around third by the time the ball disappeared in the ivy.
The common joke all over the place was Bartolo Colon could’ve scored on the play if he hit it. However, because of ground rules written in 1912, it was ruled a groundrule double. No runs scored. Conforto to third and Flores to second. They would be stranded, but the Mets escaped with a 3-2 lead.
That lead would expand in the seventh. Cespedes knocked in David Wright, who had a great game, with a single off of Kyle Schwarber‘s glove. For the second time this series, Schwarber’s inexperience in the outfield cost the Cubs a run. Later in the inning, Murphy would score on a Duda groundout.
On the mound, Jacob deGrom finally had a good start in Wrigley Field. His final line was 7.0 innings, two earned, one walk, and seven strikeouts. Tyler Clippard held down the eighth, and well Jeurys Familia got the save again.
In other news, we care about from this game, Murphy did this in the third inning:
He’s now the Mets all time and single postseason homerun leader with six. He also tied a major league record by hitting a homerun in five straight postseason games.
Wright was terrific. He went 3-4 with two runs, a walk, and a double. Duda snapped out of his funk a bit by going 1-3 with an RBI and no strikeouts. There something else I’m forgetting.
Oh yeah, after the 5-2 win, the Mets are now one win away from the World Series. I can’t believe it. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
The Mets are up 2-0 in this series because they repeated the same formula from last night: (1) great starting pitching; (2) Daniel Murphy hitting homers; and (3) Curtis Granderson being a table setter.
Noah Syndergaard used his fastball to overpower the Cubs lineup. On only two days rest from his relief appearance, he would pitch 5.2 innings allowing three hits, one earned, one walk, and nine strikeouts. The nine strikeouts but him in elite company:
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 19, 2015
Thor allowed his first and only run when Kris Bryant hit an RBI double. He walked off to a standing ovation and gave way to Jon Niese. Niese pitched today despite recently losing a family member. He summoned everything he had and struck out Anthony Rizzo. As he left the mound to cheers, he pointed to the sky as if to say thank you to the new angel who was at his side tonight.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) October 19, 2015
The Mets got three of those four runs in the first. It started with a Granderson single. He scored on a . . . wait my notes can’t be correct . . . let’s me check the box score online. Wow, Granderson scored on an RBI double from David Wright. That is why you let your best players play. Speaking of your best player, Murphy hit yet another homerun.
Daniel Murphy has homered in 4 straight playoff games. 1969 World Series MVP Donn Clendenon homered in 3 straight. pic.twitter.com/zfvUU52o3v
— Baseball Tonight (@BBTN) October 19, 2015
In the third, Granderson reminded everyone he should be in the way too soon MVP discussion. He walked and stole second. This gave the Cubs the opportunity to walk Murphy rather than let him hurt you again. Granderson then stole third and scored on the Yoenis Cespedes infield single. To further his MVP case, Granderson robbed Chris Coghlan of a homerun:
When you have great pitching and two players in a dogfight for NLCS MVP, you’re going to be up 2-0 in the series. After taking care of home field, the Mets travel to Wrigley with a significant advantage in the starting pitching matchup. Let’s let Bon Jovi take us out since the Mets are halfway there while living on a prayer:
I really thought Matt Harvey was going to pitch a no-hitter. He had the Cubs batters off balance. It seemed he already got his tremendous defensive play with Wilmer Flores leaping to snare a sure to be line drive base hit. He had all the run support he needed from a Daniel Murphy first inning homerun (of course) off of Jon Lester.
Then the fifth inning happened. By the way, the fifth inning is the reason why I think the Mets are going to win the World Series this year.
Harvey started the inning by plunking Anthony Rizzo. He then let up a line drive to Starlin Castro. Immediately off the bat I thought right to Juan Lagares, easy out. Lagares misplayed it into an RBI double. The score was tied 1-1. Then the Javier Baez got the Cubs first true hit off of Harvey:
The Mets responded in the fifth. Flores and Lagares got basehits. Harvey botched a sac bunt attempt leaving runners on first and second. The Mets were lucky Kris Bryant dropped the ball on what could’ve been an inning ending double play. Curtis Granderson then hit an RBI single to reclaim the lead.
The Mets responded to the Cubs run. They would score in three consecutive innings. In the sixth, Travis d’Arnaud hit a homerun into the homerun apple. In the seventh, Lagares would single, and this time, Harvey would bunt him over. Lagares was gradually expanding his lead, and then he took off and stole third. This allowed him to score on a shallow fly ball to left.
It was a tremendous slide by Lagares to just beat the tag. Tim Teufel was smart to send Lagares because he was taking advantage of Kyle Schwarber‘s inexperience in LF (he was a catcher in the minors). It was a good throw, but it took him a while to throw it. Schwarber would be heard from again in the eighth when he hit a homerun to CF, London, or Vancouver. I can’t tell because he hit it so far I think it crashed through a window on a flight out of Laguardia.
The Schwarber homerun knocked Harvey out of the game. It took that long homerun to do it. The Cubs couldn’t even knock him out of the game when a comeback line drive hit Harvey in his pitching arm. His final line was 7.2 innings, four hits, two earned, two walks (one intentional), and non strikeouts. He walked off the mound to a well earned standing ovation. Terry Collins brought in Jeurys Familia, who recorded the four out save.
The save was punctuated by a Murphy sliding stop and throw to first. He looks like he can do everything right now. So do the Mets. They beat the Cubs 4-2, and they’re up 1-0 in the series. They looked like a pennant winner. They looked like a champion.
However, Murphy was all it took. In the first, after a successful challenge awarding Curtis Granderson an infield single, Murphy came up with one out:
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2015
It was later changed to a double and an error, but it was a huge RBI hit nevertheless. He would be stranded.
In the bottom of the first deGrom was hit HARD. He couldn’t locate at all. The 1-0 lead quickly became a 2-1 deficit. Every inning thereafter deGrom was in trouble. Deep trouble. I still don’t know how he kept rope-a-doping the Dodgers, but he did. His final line was:
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2015
The stat line is so misleading because deGrom was not good at all, and yet, he was brilliant. He summoned everything he had and somehow fought through six innings in the biggest game of his life. Sure, Game One was incredible, but I was more impressed by this. He won this game by sheer will.
He got the win because of Murphy’s help. With the Mets down 2-1 in the fourth, Murphy singled. With one out, Lucas Duda worked out a walk. However, with the extreme shift and Greinke failing to cover third, Murphy stole third:
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2015
He would score on a Travis d’Arnaud sac fly, but with the Mets sputtering offense, the inning would soon be over.
Murphy would come up again in the sixth, and did this:
— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2015
He gave the Mets a 3-2 lead almost single-handedly. He went 3-4 with two runs, two RBIs, a stolen base, a double, and a homer.
After deGrom’s final inning, Noah Syndergaard, who had been up and down all game long (not an exaggeration) entered in the seventh. He Thortuted the Dodgers. He was seemingly the only Met to get doubles machine Justin Turner out in this series.
Jeurys Familia came in for the six out save. He zipped through the eighth. He got Jimmy Rollins to ground out to end the inning. He faced Chase Utley to start the ninth. He got perfect revenge by getting the coward to fly out to right on his way to saving this 3-2 game giving the Mets a 3-2 series win. The answer to your trivia question is Familia struck out Howie Kendrick for the final out.
This game was a microcosm of the Mets season. They struggled to score runs, but they got enough. They relied on their young pitching to take them home. It was very impressive. The Mets have now slayed the demons of 1988, 2007, and 2008.
This game was gravy as the NLCS will be. Lets Go Mets!
Honestly, I thought the Mets were going to find a way yesterday. I really did. Even going into the bottom of the ninth, I thought they were going to do it.
The main reason the Mets lost last night was Clayton Kershaw was Clayton Kershaw. He pitched 7.0 innings pretty much allowing only a Daniel Murphy fourth inning homerun. My fears came true. However, the Mets were far from perfect, and they didn’t capitalize on their chances.
First, Kershaw threw 94 pitches. Of those 94 pitches, 64 of them were strikes. One of of looking at that is saying, Kershaw was on, and when he’s on what can you do? However, there is another point to consider. Of those 64 strikes, only were 15 of them were looking. That means the Mets came up swinging. They came up swinging when you wanted to work deep counts to get Kershaw out of the game early.
It shouldn’t be all that surprising that Steven Matz couldn’t keep up with Kershaw. Very few can. I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t think he was that good. There were a lot of hard hit balls. He couldn’t get the big out in the third.
The game winning rally started because Matz got too cute with Kershaw. I realize he allowed a broken bat RBI single to Adrian Gonzalez, but that’s where you bear down. You’re facing Kershaw. You have to know a crooked number in this inning means the game (it did). He then allowed a two run RBI double to Justin Turner (aided by a misplay by Yoenis Cespedes in left). Ballgame.
The Mets rallied a few times, but they couldn’t get that big hit. It was frustrating. It is even worse when it happens in the playoffs. It could’ve been the clincher. Now, the Mets play a do or die game in Lis Angeles. I still like the Mets chances with Jacob deGrom.