The wound is about a week old now, and I think the scab is starting to form. My prediction of the Mets winning the World Series in 6 fell about as flat on it’s face as it could. Mets lost in 5, Rory lost happiness.
To be honest, I had no idea just how goddamn good that Royals team was. Death by 1000 paper cuts. Every time they got a guy to second, he scored. Their bullpen was pretty much untouchable. They put the ball in play, find holes, steal bases, and make boneheadedly aggressive plays on the bases that always seem to work out. (see: Eric Hosmer game 5 scoring on a grounder to 3rd). Just when you thought you had the game in hand, a walk, a steal, and a tapper through the 5.5 hole and the game is fucking tied. The MLB is in the midst of a paradigm shift, and the Royals are the only team who seem to recognize it. They are a great team and will be for the foreseeable future.
The Mets could have very easily won that series. After playing near flawless baseball against the Cubs, they reverted to the Mets of June and July in the WS: starting pitching good enough to win games, an offense that goes to sleep for games on end, shotty middle relief, questionable managing, and a quality of defense that you are likely to see on a field in Williamsport.
I can talk about all of these for the remainder of my existence, but for now I am going to address the last two:
First: The fielding. If the Mets play league average defense in that series, it goes to, at the very least, 7 games. Cespedes’ misplay in the very first at bat of the series that lead to the inside the park HR, Wright booting the ball in extras in game 1, Darno having a slower pop time than the catcher on my middle school baseball team, Murph forgetting how to use a glove in the final two games, and Duda’s throw home in game 5 that I’ve seen every time I’ve closed my eyes for the past week.
I get that the Royals put the ball in play more than every other team, but these were plays (save Darno) that big league players should make 999/1000 times. Yet the Mets managed to squish half a dozen of them into the 5 most important games any of these guys will probably ever play. Simply put: if the Mets play league average defense in that series, a game 7 would have been played.
Now onto the managing (specifically, the choice to leave Matt Harvey in for the 9th of game 5): After Harvey came off of the hill in the 8th, I texted my Dad: Harvey pitched his balls clear off his body. I told my buddy who I was watching the game with: Two runs for Familia should be enough. I assumed there was no chance Harvey goes back out there. He was over the century mark in pitch count, his v-lo was down, he was going to be facing 3-4-5 for the 4th time in the game, and the Mets have one of the best closers in baseball ready to rumble. Get the planes ready for Kansas City because we’re going to have a game 6.
Then I see Harvey telling Collins that there is “no way” he is coming out of the game. Then I see Collins freeze. A few minutes later I see Harvey sprint back onto the field. About an hour after that, I see see water coming down from my shower head onto my still clothed chest as I sit in my tub as, yet again, a defeated Mets fan.
Matt Harvey, Mr. Dark Knight, Mr. New York bullied his way back onto the mound when he had absolutely no business being there. And there was absolutely no problem with him doing that. I would have been worried if he didn’t try to get back in. He’s a professional competitor. He was pitching a fucking gem and he wanted to complete what he started. But there was no way in hell Terry could have allowed him back out there. It is your goddamn team, Terry. YOU make the decisions. YOU know what is best. YOU knew his pitch count, YOU knew who was coming up in that inning and how many times around the batting order it had been. YOU knew Familia should have been in that game. YOU should have told Matt to put his ass on the bench and shut up while YOU try to give the team the best chance to win.
But no. Terry Collins had to show the baseball world just how big his and Matt Harvey’s dicks were. He had to fall into the century old starting pitcher machismo bullshit that has been proven statistically over and over to be false. The most important game Terry Collins may ever manage, he allowed ego to get in the way of logic.
But it happened. The shit that plagued the Mets all year came back beat them. They got outplayed in the World Series. But at least they got to there. In a year where I predicted 81 wins, they got as far as a team can go and still end up with heartbreak.