World Series Games 1 and 2 Discussion

Per the suggestion of Argonbunnies, let’s have some discussion about the first two games.

I’ll open with a few conversation starters …

Game 1:

– We’ve discussed here time and again that defense and fundamentals — i.e., “the little things” — are just as important as hitting for a championship club. That said, when Yoenis Cespedes blows the first ball hit to him, and doesn’t make up for it with his bat, well …

– Speaking of that first pitch of the initial inning, what was most surprising and/or detrimental: a) the fact Matt Harvey threw a fastball over the heart of the plate to a batter who swings at the first pitch of every at-bat; b) the fact that a fairly routine fly ball was misplayed into an inside-the-park homerun; c) the fact that the play was scored as a homer instead of a four-base error?

Kelly Johnson is the best DH option?

– Why wasn’t Jonathon Niese brought out for a third inning of relief?

Game 2:

– If Jacob deGrom nor Harvey can stop the KC offense, who can?

Overall / In General:

– Why hasn’t Steven Matz been given the ball yet? What are the Mets waiting for?

– What’s up with Daniel Murphy‘s visible complaints about the strike zone? Does he have a legitimate beef, or is he not seeing the ball as well as he did previously in the postseason and is that why he’s suddenly cold?

– Can the Mets win if Cespedes doesn’t hit?

Again, these are merely conversation starters. Feel free to respond or start your own topic.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Mike B October 29, 2015 at 9:15 am
    Both teams have been underwhelming with “the little things” Royals have made mistakes and should have given 1 of the games away with their glove. I disagree with DW the Royals have not played flawless ball. The Royals are in the Mets head and I hope coming home will help give them confidence.

    I like the next 2 pitching matchups, if the Mets can win both its a best of three series with Harvey, deGrom and Thor.

  2. DanB October 29, 2015 at 10:21 am
    Is it me or did the Royals take the opposite approach to building an offense? Alderson doesn’t mind strikeouts as long as you get walks and home runs. The Royals are more interested in contact. I think Moneyball has over compensated and lost sight on how useful hitting for average can be (just like OBP was undervalued). It is also interesting how the Royals use their big ballpark to their advantage offensively. I don’t think the Mets are doomed. They rely on streaky hitters and nobody is hot right now. But anyone is capable of coming out Friday and starting a new streak.
  3. Walnutz15 October 29, 2015 at 10:24 am
    Nothing RE: d’Arnaud’s visible caution/skepticism of the KC hitters digging into the box?

    Found it very interesting to see him flash signs during Game 1 with an extreme head-tilt, eyes focused on them……as he’s never visibly done this to such an extent.

    Not odd that FOX never mentioned anything, since their coverage sucks arse through a straw —- but was wondering if there’s any real “angle” on the Royals stealing signs/picking up something the Met pitchers have been tipping.

    Noticed this long before any of the hooplah being made of the “Royals seem to know what’s coming” —- around the time Flores visited the mound, and they decided to go to no signs for a bit.

    Any thoughts on what’s going on there, Joe?

    Granted, this goes on at every level of the game —- but are we seeing THAT tough a Royal lineup, where no one’s going to swing through a fastball…..or will we possibly see a different story start to unfold away from Kaufman?

    No doubt, these guys are hitting unprecedented amounts of innings now – and throw in the extra hitter during the AL games…….vs. a balanced lineup – and anything starts to become a tougher task.

    Especially when no one’s looking to hit the ball, at all – throughout our lineup. Could be a short series soon.

  4. Jon C October 29, 2015 at 10:39 am
    The #1 moment so far is familia blowing the save, that changed the dynamic of the entire series. The team did not handle it well, you can see guys slamming their bats after popping up, barking at the ump, and what not. Not the calm relaxed bunch we saw the first two playoff series. Bats have gone quiet since that moment.

    This is their real test, they could not put that behind them for game 2. Can they put it behind them for game 3? Hopefully the day off and playing at home helps. Real mets fans, this is probably one of the few moments you can actually impact your team’s success—they are mentally not in the right place and need your support on friday. I see a lot of people jumping ship after losing 2 games—don’t be that guy/gal!

    I’m honestly not sure if they can turn it around, but I’m hopeful that they can, and it will say a lot about their character if they can win a couple in NY, regardless of how the series ends.

    LGM!

  5. DaveSchneck October 29, 2015 at 11:34 am
    My two cents here –
    1. While it only matters for the record books, that was no inside the park HR, it was a 4 base error. First pitch FB was fine but location certainly could have been better.
    2. Royals certainly have a “put the ball in play” approach, but hitting popups and weak grounders is more than welcome. Last night, after the first time through the order, they were hitting everything hard
    3. Agree that Familia’s BS is a bigger factor right now than the Royals ability to hit Mets top SP (since it would be 1-1 even with Royals’ dominance), but if the Mets can hit the lesser Royal SP nothing else will matter.
    4. It certainly looked like the Royals hitters knew what was coming last night, somehow.
    5. FWIW, when Fox lost power and MLB network was put up, there was a noticeable improvement in the coverage.
    6. I do think the total innings thrown by Harvey and deGrom is impacting them. Not an excuse, this is the WS, just unchartered waters.
    7. It’s now a big uphill climb, but hopefully they can make a series out of it.
  6. Colin October 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm
    Yordano Ventura in game three, 36 year old journey-man Chris Young takes the mound in game 4. LETS HIT BOYS!!!!!
    New York crowd should play a part in rattling the youngster.
    Tip of the cap to KC. They took the win right out of our pocket in game 1 and they raked yesterday. But tomorrow is a new day. This ain’t over. lets get hot against these two.
  7. Colin October 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm
    Also Joe – per your last bullet I don’t think there is an umpire in the world who wants the batter ‘suggesting’ strikes or balls. Murph talking to them between pitches is one thing, yelling “NO” during the pitch is another. He ain’t doing himself favors. I tend to agree with his calls more than the umps, and he did draw two walks yesterday, but his “in box batter assistance” to the umpires are doing him no favors.

    LETS GO METS!

  8. argonbunnies November 2, 2015 at 2:15 am
    Why do the Mets always have to make everything bad?

    After beating the Dodgers, I was doing a pretty good job of looking at the next two rounds as a pure bonus. But then Harvey got us within 3 outs of a spectacular story and a chance to leave the home crowd feeling great (not to mention a chance to send deGrom and possibly Syndergaard out there one more time to try to win it all), and I really, really wanted tonight’s game.

    And then Harvey shat the bed. I’ll remember d’Arnaud setting up on the corner for a 3-2 slider to Cain, leading off the 9th with a 2-run lead, every bit as long as I’ll remember Wainwright’s curveball to Beltran. Magic turned into tragedy right there. Do I deserve this for continuing to be a Mets fan?

    • argonbunnies November 2, 2015 at 8:48 pm
      The misery. To that I can now add, from the 2015 World Series: a belt-high quick-pitch to Alex Gordon in Game 1; a Familia non-appearance, two Clippard walks and a Murphy error in Game 4; Matt Harvey refusing to leave the game, walking the leadoff guy, and grooving the 0-1 to the next guy in Game 5.

      Maybe Duda’s bad throw on Hosmer’s dash counts too, but I was 100% sure the Royals were going to tie it after Hosmer got to second with no outs, so I didn’t actually feel any extra deflation there. I just figured the Royals would hit three ground balls and one of them would find a hole due to our infielders’ lack of range. Three ground balls and one of them resulting in a bad throw is pretty similar.

  9. argonbunnies November 2, 2015 at 3:39 am
    Since I am currently filled with Mets anguish, I guess now is the time to vent about how 2015 was the Mets’ best chance for a title and the future looks grim in that regard.

    First of all, the playoffs are a crapshoot, and with 8 playoff teams after the wild card game, there’s basically a 1-in-8 shot that any given team goes all the way. So, if the Mets make another SEVEN postseason appearances, odds are that they’ll claim a ring! Do you think we’re so stacked that we’re making the postseason the next 7 years? Of course not. NO team can safely expect that, except maybe the ones that simply don’t stop spending until they’re so loaded they can’t fail.

    Secondly, the Mets pushed their pitchers hard this year. Rightly so! A title shot is worth it! But chances are good that some of our best guys were pitching through fatigue, and pitching through fatigue is when guys get hurt. If NONE of the following guys suffers some sort of impairment after all this, I will be STUNNED: Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Familia, Niese, Reed, Matz. DeGrom probably showed the most warning signs, followed by Familia (who got grounders, but completely stopped striking people out).

    Third, the Mets are losing some players who will create major voids. Colon and Murphy and Clippard didn’t put up All-Star seasons, but they were significantly better than replacement players. Cespedes carried us for a month. Uribe and Johnson changed the team by giving us dangerous subs/bench. All are free agents. A bunch of guys who didn’t contribute this year but might have going forward are also FAs — Parnell, Blevins, O’Flaherty and probably Mejia. That’s a lot to replace!

    Fourth, the cost of simply paying the guys we still have goes way up. Duda, Reed, Tejada, Torres, Familia and Harvey are all due for arbitration raises, some of them huge. The price of Cuddyer, Niese and Lagares goes up by a combined $8 mil.

    Fifth, the finances for maintaining, replacing, and upgrading the roster are unclear. Some view Alderson’s trade deadline activity as a new direction for a franchise finally willing to spend; others view it as a result of Wright’s injury and Mejia’s suspension saving the team money. The Wilpons’ Willets Point development plans were rejected a few months back; I’m sad to say I find the pessimists more credible than the optimists on this one. Don’t expect payroll to jump up, especially since “be merely decent for 4 months” worked out so well in 2015.

    Sixth, although our old-young balance is solid overall, we are losing some ground due to age. Wright hasn’t been David Wright since 2013, and managing his back sounds like sort of battle you rarely win. Granderson was our best player from April to November and will be 35 next March. Lagares isn’t quite the athlete he was in 2014.

    Seventh, we’ve already met all our minor league reinforcements. If there’s anyone who might help us in 2016, we just watched them this week. The one possible addition is Dilson Herrera, who wasn’t bad this year, but certainly didn’t make anyone think he’s ready to be a big MLB asset now. Then there’s Zack Wheeler and Josh Edgin, who might return at midseason, or not, and might be decent pitchers, or not.

    Add it all up, and you’ve got to wonder, who’s going to get hurt, and who will we be unable to replace, and how many John Mayberrys will we field due to budget restrictions, and what are the odds the Nats declare themselves done after the Scherzer contract and roll over for us again? A lot has to go right just for us to be one of those teams with a 12% shot in October. And then, suppose Kershaw has TWO good games against us instead of just one? Suppose we don’t have one guy mount a record HR barrage? Getting as far as we just did is always tough to bet on, and 2016 is no exception.

    Beyond that, our good young guys just get more expensive, and we just traded Meisner and Fulmer, and we gave away our 2015 pick for Cuddyer, and none of our remaining farmhands project as difference-makers anytime soon. Unless Matz and Syndergaard turn into aces AND d’Arnaud finds a new way to stay healthy AND Conforto fulfills his best-case projection AND Alderson wins the bidding and the lottery on some free agents, our best-case scenario is to be a team like the Angels, who have bounced around the playoff periphery 3 out of the last 4 years, actually making it once. Which, with average luck, should get us a title in… 2043.

  10. DanB November 2, 2015 at 8:59 am
    Random thoughts.,. d’Arnaud looked horrible throwing the ball to second. All his throws were bounced or to the left or both. By the way, if you know the Royals run on the first pitch and your pitchers have good control, why not pitch out to help your catcher? Royals were so comfortable running just like they were comfortable hitting, especially with two strikes. Why not make them move their feet? … Why wasn’t Cespedes asked to test run his knee? If he had hit a ground ball, it was an easy double play…Mets are streaky hitters. When someone is hot, the game looks easy. When nobody is hot, they lose in five games…In the end, I keep reminding myself to enjoy a wonderful postseason. There was a lot to enjoy. And, wow, what an interesting off season this will be.
  11. DaveSchneck November 2, 2015 at 9:51 pm
    Well, after an absolutely brutal two days of baseball, I did manage to shut the TV off when the Royals took a 3-2 lead to avoid the misery of watching the Mets go down in futility.

    Then, I awoke to read Argon’s manifesto above. Nothing like starting this offseason with that reality check.

    Sometime hopefully soon, I will come to appreciate 2015 as a good season, one that moves the franchise into the group of teams expected to compete for a championship for the next 3 or so seasons. But, unlike Argon, that Duda throw was a stake through my baseball heart, and one that I will never forget. It was my Waterloo, or Buckner grounder, even surpassing Murph’s miscue from the night before.

    That said, I may differ from Argon in believing there is more good than bad ahead. Sure, DW’s back and the overtaxed arms on the young guns is of concern, but they do have a solid core and should clearly have the resources to properly address the holes, even those left by Murphy and Cespedes departures. This hot stove should be interesting and more fun that those of recent seasons, because even I think it will be hard to fudge up this squad before opening day 2016.

    • argonbunnies November 3, 2015 at 12:57 am
      Sorry for the negativity. Joe’s set such a negative tone here this year that I figured this was the place to vent, rather than subjecting my college buddies to it.

      I appreciate your more balanced take.

      • DaveSchneck November 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm
        Argon,
        It was tongue and cheek. After that game 5 I felt exactly like you did when you wrote it.
        • argonbunnies November 4, 2015 at 7:11 am
          Oh, yeah, I got that it was tongue in cheek, no worries. I was being honest — I did feel a teeny bit bad about spouting so much negativity, and I did appreciate your less negative take. 🙂
  12. Hart November 2, 2015 at 10:14 pm
    Tuned to SNY after the game, figured hearing some final thoughts from Gary and Keith would be an antidote to the drivel we had to listen to during the game telecasts…and the 1st guy to comment is Nelson Figueroa? And he spouts some nonsense about how he’s pissed at Collins for even suggesting to Harvey that he was done for the night, that this somehow took the edge off Harvey, and that explains the 3-2 slider Harvey threw to the leadoff hitter. Really??? That’s the complete and utter nonsense that we’re treated to after a World Series loss? Keith was correct to question Wright’s decision-making on the Hosmer play. Darling was right that the Mets’ defense and fundamentals were abysmal. Cohen correctly noted that despite all that, we still blew three late-inning leads. Figueroa — we should let walk with Cespedes and Murphy.
  13. argonbunnies November 4, 2015 at 7:15 am
    It’s funny, after we swept the Cubs, I said to my college friends, “This team reminds me of the 2006 Tigers.” It was completely true. A clutch first round, a dominant second round, incredible momentum… and then a long wait… and then the magic went away and the fielding fell to pieces.

    Next time the Mets get to an LCS, let’s root for at least 6 games.