October 30, 2015

Its Now or Never For Your New York Mets

When Noah Syndergaard takes the mound tonight in Flushing, he will do so in the biggest game of his career, with his team on the ropes, and for all intents and purposes.. a realistic shot at the World Series title on the line.  After a tough loss in Game One and an anticlimactic performance in Game Two, the New York Mets find themselves down 0-2 in the best of seven as it returns home.  Unable to earn a split in Kansas City, the Mets now must find a way to beat a Royals team that seems unflappable.

If the Mets are going to get themselves back into the series, Citi Field is the place to be.  The Mets were a full seventeen games over .500 this year in their home ballpark, enjoying a real home field advantage for the first time since the stadium opened.  Their 49 wins was the highest total the team has ever put up at Citi, where a packed house of ravenous fans likely awaits.

After watching their two best pitchers fail to miss bats through the first two games, the Mets trot out Noah Syndergaard's 100 mph heat and devastating hook.  Syndergaard enjoyed his time at Citi Field this year, where he was much better than on the road.  He posted a 7-2 record, with a 2.46 ERA.  He held opposing hitters to a stingy .196 BAA and an equally impressive 0.821 WHIP.  The question however, remains to be if he is capable of shutting down a Royals lineup that has been unphased by the Mets young arms thus far.

Even if Syndergaard duplicates his normal home performance, it won't matter if the Mets can't get the bats going.  Through two games the Mets have just one extra base hit.  They are batting just .165 and have posted an embarrassing on-base percentage of .230.  If such trends continue, it won't matter what they get out of their rookie flamethrower tonight.

Eleven teams in World Series history has been able to rise from the ashes of an 0-2 hole.  No one, has been able to mount a comeback from an 0-3 deficit.  In fact, no team in World Series history has even forced a sixth game after being down 0-3.  So if you choose to believe the trends, this is it for the Mets.  Win tonight, and drag yourself up off the mat.  Lose, and you can start looking towards the long winter that lies ahead.

October 28, 2015

World Series: Fox Sports Should Be Embarrassed

What in the love of all that is holy was that freak show by Fox Sports last night.  They managed to take what could be considered a World Series classic, and turned it into a telecast unworthy of most public broadcast channels.  I think most viewers would agree, the best ten minutes of the night were when the feed went down.  Yes, Game One of the WORLD SERIES and Fox Sports couldn't even stay on the air.

Lets not pretend everything was great when they were on the air either.  I will never understand Fox's insistence on shoehorning Joe Buck into every live sporting event they broadcast.  This is baseball's premier event of the year.  History will be made this week.  Get someone in the booth who does baseball full-time.  Not baseball here and there, football on the weekend, and ruins US Opens in his free time.  And Fox, when you find that guy, make sure he is not Harold Reynolds.  My god...  Here are a few of Harold's gems last night:

"That pitch was so close it burn's your skin." in response an inside heater. Makes me wonder if Reynolds has even taken live BP.
"David Wright throws side-arm to preserve his injured back." in response to David Wright...throwing side arm.  I've never played third base at the major league level, and a professional scientist I will never be, but its pretty much common sense that a third baseman, especially one who has had to move towards second, cannot come over the top with his throw.
"Granderson saved some extra bases by getting up." in response to Granderson getting to his feet on a double hit into the right field corner.  So, you mean to tell me that the runner just would've keep running if Granderson didn't get up/?  This had to be his hot take of the night.

Look, I'm easy.  I understand that the broadcast is going to suffer when it involves national guys versus their regional counterparts.  But this is the World Series.  You can't have guys in the booth who are going to detract from the viewing experience.  That's exactly what happened last night, when the broadcast managed to stay on the air. Tonight is Game Two.  Hopefully they do better, because honestly, they can't do much worse.

World Series: Three Things You Should Take Away From Game One

If you're lucky, you are just rising from a few hours of sleep.  If you're like many others, you're making the schlep to work today following a restless night after staying up to watch the Mets fall to the Royals in fourteen innings by a score of 5-4.  I'm not going to bore you with some postgame recap that you can find on 300 other blogs, but here are three things you should take away from last night's nail biter:

1) This series isn't over.  I very much advise you to unfriend, unfollow, or flat out banish anyone who says so from your life.  While tonight's game may be a theoretical "must-win", the Mets can clearly hang with this Kansas City Royals team.  Yes, they will need Jeurys Familia to bounce back.  They will need better play from David Wright, who struggle just about everywhere last night.  They will need better defense (what on earth happened in the bottom of the first).  But, this team has bounced back and managed to fight through obstacles all year.  There is no reason to think this will be any different.

2) The Royals defense clearly isn't impenetrable.  Don't believe me?  Ask Eric Hosmer, who's eighth inning, Bill Buckneresque, misplay at first gave the Mets a short-lived 4-3 lead.  In fact, they bobbled several balls last night, albeit sharply hit ones.  Furthermore, the Mets managed to hit through the shift several times.  The Mets managed 11 hits, stole a base, and had some decent situational hitting despite going just 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

3) Finally, Jacob deGrom pitches tonight.  All he's done this postseason is pitch to a 3-0 record while posting a stingy 1.80 ERA and averaging 6 and 2/3s IP.  The Mets will need deGrom to go deep into the game tonight after taxing the bullpen so badly in extra innings.  Its unknown whether the likes of Bartolo Colon and Jon Niese, both of whom threw at least two innings last night, will be available.  In fact, only Hansel Robles and Sean Gilmartin didn't appear for the Mets last night, and neither is much of a long relief option.  Its quite possible that any realistic shot of winning this series rests on the shoulders of deGrom this evening.

October 27, 2015

My Effing World Series Prediction

In just twelve short hours the New York Mets will face off against the Kansas City Royals for all the marbles.  For the first time in fifteen years the Mets find themselves in the World Series, in search of their first title in twenty-nine long years.  Across the diamond the Mets will find the Royals, who too will be looking for the first title in three decades.  By all accounts the two teams are evenly matched and primed to do battle in a long, hard fought series.  My prediction though, finds itself in the minority.  Here's why...

The Mets have accomplished a lot this postseason already.  No matter how much you love (or hate) this franchise, you cannot easily dismiss the way the Mets have netted wins against the likes of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Jake Arietta.  Nine games into this postseason, the Mets have faced legitimate Cy Young contenders five times.  They've won three of those games.  That's great, but its not where I see the difference.  The other four games.  The games in which the Mets haven't found themselves up against greatness.  They're an undefeated 4 and 0.  More importantly, they've feasted on mediocre pitching while averaging 7.5 runs/game in those outings.

Sure, you can call it a small sample size.  However, the Royals don't have any "great" pitchers to send the Mets way this week.  Of course the likes of Johnny Cueto and Game One starter Edinson Volquez are capable of dominant outings, but that is not necessarily their norm.  I think the difference in this series isn't the Mets great pitching, its the Royals mediocre pitching, or more importantly how the Mets offense handles it.

The Royals are unlike any team the Mets have faced thus far this postseason.  They're capable of professional at-bats and elite defense.  There won't be many free bases going forward.  However, should the Mets offense remain hot against pitchers not found on the Cy Young ballot this year they could very well run away with this series.  With Daniel Murphy firing on all cylinders..with David Wright and Lucas Duda seemingly finding their stride, this lineup is dangerous and it will be the difference.

The Mets young pitchers got them here.  Of course, they will need to continue with similar dominance, but its the bats that play here.  Keep the Royals offense at bay and let the Mets do what they do against sub-par starters.  The time has come, the World Series is upon us.  Lets play ball!!!

Mets in five!