New York Mets are down but not out despite 0-2 World Series deficit
By Rob Curry
Going into Game 2 of the World Series, the Mets looked to be in good shape to tie the series up at a game a piece. The Mets hadn’t yet lost back-to-back games this postseason, they were up against an extremely volatile pitcher in Johnny Cueto, and most importantly, the Mets had Jacob DeGrom on the mound.
All year, the Mets have had a knack for bouncing back after particularly gut-wrenching losses. July 30th, the Mets lost a game to the Padres after leading 7-1 after six innings. Jeurys Familia blew a rare save with two outs in the ninth inning after a rain delay by giving up a three-run homer to Justin Upton. After that game, Mets went on to sweep the Washington Nationals in three games and Braves in four while they ascended to the top of the National League East.
On Tuesday night in Game 1, Familia blew the save in the ninth and the Mets went on to lose in 14 innings. History looked ready to repeat itself for the Mets in Game 2.
Early on, DeGrom looked effective despite not having the greatest control and the umpire squeezing him. He did not allow a hit through the first three innings and navigated a Lucas Duda error in the fourth inning. The Royals were making contact but right at people. This was when the Mets needed to score, rattle Cueto and get into the Royals tired bullpen. Unfortunately, Johhny Cueto was on his game Wednesday night.
The Mets’ best opportunity to score came in the fourth inning, when they had runners on first and second with one out while Cueto was struggling with his control. They managed to only push one run across on a Lucas Duda single and stranded runners on the corners.
Then came the fifth inning, where the wheels fell off for DeGrom and the Mets. After walking Alex Gordon for the second time, deGrom gave up consecutive singles to Alex Rios and Alcides Escobar as the game was tied. The Royals scored three more runs off DeGrom with two outs, using three consecutive singles and an uncharacteristic missed catch by Juan Lagares.
In the eighth inning, the Royals tacked on three runs, punctuated by an Alcides Escobar triple that Juan Lagares uncharacteristically watched go over his head
The Mets now head home facing a 0-2 World Series deficit. Despite this, the Mets are not about to roll over and hand the Royals their first World Series title since 1985.
The Mets were 49-32 at home in the regular season and 3-1 this postseason, with that one loss coming at the hands of Clayton Kershaw. Two of the three wins came against Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta. The Mets will not be facing any pitchers of that quality in the upcoming games at Citi Field.
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Yordano Ventura, who owns a 3.98 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in the postseason, goes Game 3 against Noah Syndergaard, and Chris Young, who pitched in Game 1 and routinely only pitches about five innings, goes Game 4 against Steven Matz. Obviously, the Mets have the pitching edge as they did in Games 1 & 2. Syndergaard has looked dominant in all three of his postseason appearances while deGrom and Harvey have struggled at times. Matz has only given up four runs in his two postseason starts.
Additionally, their offensive numbers favor them at home. During the postseason, the Mets have averaged 5.5 runs per game and have a slash line of .234/.292/.419 at home while averaging 4.2 runs per game with a slash line of .213/.281/.365 on the road. The Mets’ offense absolutely needs to take better at bats and drive the ball more at Citi Field to lessen the pressure on the starting pitching.
The 2015 Mets have been a very streaky team. They will play a stretch of games where their play looks sloppy and uninspired. Then, like a switch, they play an amazing series where their hitting, pitching and defense all click. A great example of this is the stretch of games from September 4th to the 13th. The Mets lost two of three games to the Marlins on walk-off wins against a very shaky bullpen. Then they went into Washington, D.C. and Atlanta and won all seven games while playing incredibly sound and clutch baseball.
And for some further optimism and historical trivia, the 1986 World Champion Mets were also down 0-2 in the World Series. The ’86 Mets lost Game 1 by one run, just like the 2015 Mets. The ’86 Mets lost Game 2 by six runs, just like the 2015 Mets. In Game 2 in 1986, the Boston Red Sox got to the Mets young phenom Doc Gooden, who only went five innings and was hurt by shoddy defense. Does this sound familiar?
The 2015 Mets looked to repeat history on Wednesday night by rebounding after a tough loss like they have all season. But maybe the Mets are bound to repeat history from 1986 instead and come from behind in order to seal the deal.