By Michael Otero
Armed with four stud-starting pitchers, the Mets had every reason to believe they would raise a third championship banner in 2015. As a great baseball mind once said, “Offense gets you to the playoffs, pitching wins you playoff games.”
The Mets rolled over the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, swept them in four games, and made their first World Series appearance since 2000. Their opponent, the Kansas City Royals, were in their second straight Fall Classic and determined to bring a championship one year after losing in game seven.
Matt Harvey got the ball in game one and held the Royals in check for the most part, but the story of the Royals season has been ‘not giving up until the final out.’ With the lead in the ninth inning, the Mets turned the ball over to perennial all-star closer Jeurys Familia, and he served up a game-tying homer to Alex Gordon. In extras, the Royals won on a sacrifice fly. A game, seemingly in the Mets’ hands, but snatched away by the Royals. After the Royals took care of arguably New York’s best pitcher, Jacob deGrom, they took a commanding 2-0 lead in the series to New York.
Game three turned the series around for a short time. Citi Field was rocking and the Mets offense came to life. The Mets captain, David Wright, set the tone with a two-run bomb in the first inning, and the boys from Queens never looked back. The Mets took game three handily and looked to even the series the next night.
With the lead late in game four, the Mets bullpen, which was one of the weaknesses of the team, showed its ugly head. Aided by a defensive error by NLCS MVP Daniel Murphy, the Royals scored three runs in the eighth inning, and took control of the series. Game four showed where the Mets had holes in their team and the Royals took advantage of those holes.
Matt Harvey, the Dark Knight, got the ball again in game five, and he was on fire. He allowed no runs through eight innings and was single-handedly putting the team on his back. After a decision that will get second-guessed by many fans by Terry Collins to leave Harvey in the game, the Royals showed their resiliency. Down two runs and with three outs to go, Eric Hosmer doubled home a run and then made the biggest play of the series. Hosmer broke for home on a grounder to Wright and the throw from Lucas Duda airmailed the catcher.
A few innings later, the Royals showed their championship heart and put up a five spot in the 12th inning. The last out by closer Wade Davis was just a formality as the Royals won the series four games to one, and ended a 30-year title drought.
The Mets season was one of the most interesting of recent memory. They were hot in the beginning, awful in the dog days of summer, then a couple of trades later and this team wound up in the World Series. There are decisions to be made in the offseason, like: do they resign Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes? But one thing is for sure: if you didn’t think this team was for real, think again.