All of the Mets, and their fans, worries came to fruition in Game 2. After cruising through three innings, the Royals figured out Jacob deGrom and forced an early exit. DeGrom was clearly frustrated as he was unable to put away the Royals hitters. Part of that was due to him missing his locations with his secondary pitches, especially when he was ahead in the count, and part of it was the Royals make contact at any cost approach at the plate. To make matters worse, the defense was sloppy and continuously put the Mets in a jam. A big part of Kansas City’s game plan is to put pressure on the other team’s defense and force mistakes. They’ve done just that in Games 1 and 2. Finally, the bullpen, which is this teams biggest question mark, was unable to stop the bleeding after deGrom departed from the game. That’s certainly not a promising sign going forward.
What’s bothered me the most about the Mets is their offensive output. Far too much of the lineup is swinging for the fences. I don’t understand how you can sit through these first two games, watching what the Royals are doing right before your eyes, and not try to mimic their approach. Very rarely do you see them attempting to hit the long ball. If they do, it’s early in the count and they adjust their plan of attack accordingly to the situation. I’m not saying swing early and often in the count, I know that’s not something the Mets have done this season. But if you do get your pitch to hit, go for it. Kansas City starters aren’t exactly dominating arms, despite what their stat line in Games 1 and 2 may say. By taking good pitches early and letting them get ahead in the count, the Mets are giving the Royals’ arms an edge that they need in order to succeed.
It only took two games to realize just how special Daniely Murphy was throughout the NLDS and NLCS. Without Murphy getting that big timely hit, the Mets offense has sat stagnant. It’s unfair to expect Murphy to continue hitting at that torrid pace. It’s also unrealistic. While I still expect Murphy to put together quality at-bats, the realist in me knows he is a line drive hitter, not the home run hitting machine we’ve seen throughout the postseason.
I know that it will take more than one hot bat in order to beat the Royals. This will have to be a complete team effort. The Mets must find a way to keep the lineup moving. And, if they’re able to do that, capitalize on as many scoring opportunities as possible. They’ve had their chances, especially in Game 1, but have been unable to get that key hit. As we saw in Games 1 and 2, the Royals are relentless. If the Mets can get Kansas City down, they cannot take their foot off the gas pedal, as the Royals are rarely ever out of a ballgame.
As for the starting pitching, forget the scouting reports. I’m tired of watching our power arms bow down to the Royals lineup. Yes, they are a very good hitting team. I love their unselfish approach at the plate. They will single and double you to death. But, the Mets young arms are shying away from what got them this far. It wasn’t throwing off-speed stuff nearly 50% of the time. If the Royals lineup is going to beat you, make them do it with your best pitch. I agree that they need to change their look throughout the game to keep these hitters off balance, but don’t get carried away with it. When it comes time to get that big out in a key situation, remember what got you this far.
After Game 1, comparisons were made to the 2000 World Series and how the Mets lost in similar fashion. After Game 2, comparisons were made to the 1986 World Series and how the Mets lost the first two games by the same margin. What do you say, Mets? Which ending will we receive – a quick and quiet defeat like 2000 or a miraculous comeback that we cherish for years to come like 1986?
The Mets return home tonight for the first of three games. In my opinion, they must win all three in order to have a real shot at winning this series. I just don’t see them winning more than a game in Kansas City. If Game 1 was a gut punch, than Game 2 was an early round knockdown. The fights not over, but the judges are already penciling in the Royals as the winner.
Watch how the late great Rowdy Roddy Piper reacted to the Mets being down 2-0 in 1986: