After falling 7–1 to Kansas City in Game 2 Wednesday night, the New York Mets find themselves behind 0–2 in the World Series, yet all is not lost in this best-of-seven set for the Mets.
The Fall Classic is a time when every game, every lead, and every at-bat is overly dissected (like what I’m doing now). Every game is seen as a must-win.
That said, this deficit is far from the Mets death knell. Technically, all the Royals did was hold serve at home the last two games. If the Mets do the same over their three-game homestand, they’ll just need to get a split in Kansas City (in Games 6 and 7) to bring home the World Series trophy for the first time in 29 years.
It’s that simple. As it is, the series would be discussed much differently right now had they held onto that Game 1 lead.
1. They Should Have Won Game 1
Had the Mets returned to Queens with the series deadlocked at a game apiece—which the Mets were two outs from making happen in Game 1—the prevailing sentiment would be how the Royals were behind the proverbial eight ball. Instead, Alex Gordon smashed a one-out, ninth-inning home run off Mets vaunted closer Jeurys Familia to send the game to extras, where KC eventually won.
But that’s a rarity for Familia.
The Mets would gladly take that situation—Familia on the mound in the ninth with a one-run lead—every time out and they’d win 9 times out of 10.
Familia had 43 saves (in 48 chances) and a 1.85 ERA in the regular season. In the postseason, he’d allowed no runs and just two hits in his 9 2/3 innings before taking the mound in Game 1.
In other words, it won’t happen again.
2. NL Rules the Next Three Games
The Mets were just 3–7 in road interleague games this season. With the DH rule in the American League ballparks, it’s an adjustment for the NL team, for sure. You don’t get to face that weak-hitting pitcher in the nine-hole that can help you out of a jam. Instead, the Mets had to deal with two-time All-Star Alex Ríos in that spot—whose best days may be behind him, but he’s still good enough to hit .308 this postseason.
The flipside for this homestand is that the Mets don’t have to worry about KC’s DH Kendrys Morales, who not only leads the team with four home runs this postseason, but his switch-hitting nature gives their lineup more L-R balance. Although they’ve tried to move either him or Eric Hosmer to right field, their experiment hasn’t worked. Instead he’ll be relegated to pinch-hitting duties.
3. World Series Jitters Don’t Last Forever
There’s been a lot of talk about how the Mets fastball-heavy rotation is facing the best fastball-hitting lineup in the majors—and losing—but it’s only been two games. Were Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey at their best? They didn’t look like it (of course neither did the offense). It’s a confidence thing though. While the Royals planned to be here, the Mets didn’t look like they expected to win on the big stage. Once they wake up and start pitching and hitting the way they can (playing at home will help) the momentum will shift in the Mets favor.