Thursday, October 29, 2015

It's Not Safe

The Mets now find themselves in the unenviable position of being down 0-2 to the Royals in the World Series. That's not good in and of itself, but what's of greater concern is the way the Royals have just pecked the Mets to death over these two games. Losing on Tuesday night was pretty bad and had every sign of being a truly crushing defeat. Wednesday, though the Mets came out with some fight in them, ultimately the Royals just outplayed them on both sides of the coin. I wouldn't go so far as to say they were deflated by losing the first game, they were deflated by a team that has just buzzsawed them in similar fashion to the way the Mets were buzzsawing the Cubs just last week. Jacob deGrom looked brilliant until he didn't, the Mets had figured out Johnny Cueto until they didn't, everything tilted the other way and the end result was a 7-1 loss in which the Mets had all of two hits.

There's not much that can be said about this game, because there was no momentum-changing key moment you could point to, no key misplay that changed the scope of things. Everything was fine through 4 innings. Jacob deGrom was every bit as good as the Mets needed him to be, Lucas Duda had 2 hits and an RBI, the hitters were making Cueto work and it seemed like just a matter of time until they figured him out and got a good rally going. But instead, the roof caved in on deGrom in a nightmare 5th inning that saw deGrom throw just about everything he could possibly muster at Royals hitters only to see them nick every deuce or turn the pitch around for a hit. That tenuous lead vanished and just as quickly turned into a 3-run deficit and all of a sudden the Royals were making deGrom look rather pedestrian. I don't know whether it's a fatigue thing or a tipping pitches thing, or a sign-stealing thing, but let's face it, those are all grasping at straws to try to come up with a reason for a guy who's been just about unhittable for a month now to come unraveled.

The real reason is that the Royals just don't give away a thing. It seems like getting to the edge of it last year just put a fire in this team and now they seem to go after every At Bat as though they're never going to get another one. I'm not saying that the Mets haven't looked like that at times, but over the first two games I see a little more "Happy to be here-ness" in the team. Maybe I'm nuts. It's not in everyone, but outside of Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda, the offense has been a disaster. Michael Conforto has gone back to looking like a Rookie, David Wright looks old, and Flores and d'Arnaud just seem off.

So, yeah. This is pretty bad. The Mets went into this series with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom starting the first two games and managed to lose them both. Right now, I'm sure they must really rue not being able to close it out on Tuesday, but again, this is more a testament to the Royals tenacity than the Mets inability to execute. That's been the story of the series so far. But because it's the World Series and the entire planet is watching, it seems like theories and predictions and explanations are much more prevalent and from the point of view of a fan that just wants to see his team be competitive, that's not helpful.

The Mets, of course, have been down 0-2 in the World Series before and they came back to win it, so this isn't totally unprecedented. But I'm not thrilled at the prospect of having to win 4 out of 5 games against a team that always seems to have an answer in them. I'm not panicking—I don't feel particularly panicked—but I don't feel especially confident either. A day off for the Mets right now might be helpful, if only to burn off the tension that these first two games have generated. They've got little to lose at this point and they'll now get to come home, and get these guys in their house, with their fans and their rules and maybe that's what they need to get them started in the right direction.

That's the pragmatic side of me. The lunatic fan side of me sounds more like this: Time to get your asses in gear, guys. I know that this team didn't go through all of this just to get to the World Series and go down in flames. People are already starting to laugh at us again. Don't make this another example of the Mets looking like jackasses when the whole world is watching. They haven't knocked you out yet, so time to start fighting back.

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