No witty headline today.
It was a whitewashing in every sense of the word. Jacob deGrom didn’t ace, the Mets didn’t hit and usually when you neither pitch nor hit, you don’t win baseball games.
The Royals now lead the Mets 2-0 after Johnny Cueto finished off a two-hitter in a 7-1 victory in Kansas City last night. The teams have today off to travel before picking back up tomorrow night in Queens for game three.
Coming off the gut-punch that was game one, the Mets looked deflated and couldn’t get anything going offensively. Cueto was somewhat erratic, but the Mets couldn’t make him pay when they had their limited opportunities.
After scratching a run across a run in the 4th on a Lucas Duda flare to left, the Mets couldn’t even get another hit for the remainder of the game and gave away at-bat after at-bat as if they couldn’t wait to get back in the dugout.
To my eyes, the game was lost in the top of the 5th. After being given his one run of support, Jacob deGrom endured an incredibly stressful bottom of the 4th before escaping unscathed. Upon returning to the dugout, deGrom barely had time to catch his breath before Michael Conforto, Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares produced three of the most pitiful at-bats of the season causing deGrom to head back to the mound almost immediately.
It was evident that Jacob didn’t have it in the bottom of the frame as he missed repeatedly flat and over the heart of the plate. The Royals, to their credit, didn’t sully the moment and knocked deGrom around to the tune of four runs in the inning.
Despite their best efforts, the game was still in reach until the bottom of the 8th when the Royals put up another three runs and put the game away for good. If the wind wasn’t out the Mets’ sails before that, the inning served to completely demoralize the team and fanbase.
As I’ve said to friends today, if the Mets had to lose, I’m glad it was like this and not another nail-biting, punch to the balls like game one was. Those kinds of games have a way of getting into your head forcing you to dwell on what could have been had one play, at-bat, or – in the case of Jeurys Familia – one pitch gone a different way.
This Mets team is a special group whom I’ve enjoyed watching all season. They’ve suffered more than a few absolutely devastating losses this year that you thought would destroy any promise of a successful season and they’ve continued to show an ability to bounce back.
I’d expect to see nothing less from them tomorrow night as they return home for the first World Series game to be hosted in Queens in 15 years. They’ve been given a shock against a team that they haven’t seen the likes of all year, but they’ll be ready to begin the uphill battle. They better be.
The more I think about it, the more I think that Noah Syndergaard is the perfect guy to be starting tomorrow. While it’s obviously the biggest game of his life, the rookie has shown a fearlessness and an embracing of the big game stage and I expect him to provide a solid performance.
As we’ve said all season, the Mets have to hit, though. No matter how good deGrom could have been last night, you can’t expect to win a game in the World Series with a run on two hits. The Royals are solid 1-9 in their lineup while the Mets look to have about five glaring holes.
It may be time to shuffle the deck a bit. Not necessarily benching people, but just switching up the order in an attempt to get something – ANYTHING – going at the plate.
Citi Field will be rocking tomorrow. Hopefully, the energy will translate on to the field and get the team back in this series or else we could all be watching hockey a few days earlier than any of really wanted to.