Featured photo: courtesy of nj.com
By: Eddie Poe
As the Kansas City Royals cruised to a dominate 7-1 victory over the New York Mets in Game 2 of this year’s World Series on Wednesday evening, the Mets found themselves in a rather unfamiliar position.
After advancing through both the National League Division Series and Championship Series with red hot bats, led by Daniel Murphy’s six straight games with a home run, the Mets bats have suddenly gone ice cold.
In Game 1, baseball fans got much more than they anticipated as the Royals won a 14-inning marathon 5-4 on an Eric Hosmer walk-off sacrifice fly. At five hours and nine minutes, it was the longest recorded Game 1 in World Series history.
Not to mention that the first pitch of the game saw Mets starter Matt Harvey give up an inside-the-park home run to Alcides Escobar of the Royals. Harvey blatantly ignored Escobar’s scouting report and grooved a fastball right down the middle of the plate, resulting in a first pitch ball hit to the gap in deep left-center field.
Mets left fielder Michael Conforto and center fielder Yoenis Cespedes were unable to effectively communicate and the ball kicked off Cespedes’s foot and rolled along the wall in left-field allowing Escobar to easily circle the bases for a home run.
While the Mets were able to score four runs (three off Kansas City starter Edinson Volquez), it was their bullpen who ultimately did them in.
With one out and no one on base in the ninth, Mets closer Jeurys Familia let a pitch find too much of the plate and Alex Gordon deposited it over the center field wall capping the Royals comeback and sending Kauffman Stadium into a frenzy.
It was Familia’s first blown save of the postseason and capped the Royals comeback as they trailed the Mets 3-0 heading into the sixth inning.
Moving on to Game 2, the Mets bats never once stood a chance.
Johnny Cueto was vintage Cueto as he hit nearly all of his spots and pitched a complete game two-hitter, allowing only one run.
To go along with their inept bats, Mets ace Jacob deGrom was unable to continue his postseason dominance (3-0, 2.57 ERA coming into Game 2) and was chased in the fifth inning after giving up four earned runs.
Unlike Cueto, deGrom was simply unable to hit his spots as he’s well-known for doing, and the Royals bats were all over him.
It’s difficult to totally blame the Mets bats for their lack of productivity when Harvey and deGrom were being looked upon to continue their overpowering of hitters just as they had done for much of the regular season and postseason.
With a regular season record of 14-8 and over 200 strikeouts, deGrom continued his dominance against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs as his near 100 mph fastball mixed in with his repertoire of off-speed pitches looked to be too much for opposing hitters.
You also can’t overlook the Royals bats which have been out swinging with a vengeance ever since coming back to defeat the Houston Astros in the American League Division Series.
Those bats then, to much surprise, went on to overpower the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Championship Series.
An exhilarating series which will most be remembered for Toronto fans throwing cups filled with beer on to the field in response to a controversial call, as well as Jose Bautista’s bat flip which caused another heap of controversy amongst the Twittersphere.
More importantly though, the Royals not only seem to be the better of the two teams, but also the more experienced. Let’s not forget that the Royals were one game away from winning last year’s World Series but fell short to Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner’s epic postseason performance.
While the Mets could probably care less about the Royals postseason experience, they know the series is still far from over.
Not only are they returning back home to Citi Field for three straight games, which you have to imagine will be rocking just as it was in the National League Championship series, they also have Noah Syndergaard taking the mound in Game 3 and possibly worn out Chris Young for the Royals in Game 4.
Also, weighing on the minds of the Mets is the question of how many teams have overcome an 0-2 deficit and won the World Series?
Before the New York Yankees did it in 1996, who was the last team to do it? You guessed it… the Mets in 1986.
Strangely enough, the team who overcame that same deficit before the Mets in 1986 were the Royals in 1985.
This year’s Mets may not have Bill Buckner to save them, but they do have a city that is hungry for another World Series title. Not forgetting that the city of Kansas City has just as much of an appetite for the championship hardware.
The Mets have not won the World Series since 1986. The Royals have not won since 1985.
Here’s to hoping that this year’s World Series turns out to be another one to remember.
Currently the Royal are on top 3-1 in the series with Game 5 on Sunday night, this could very well be the final game of the season.