The New York Mets’ losses in Game 1, 4, and 5 came down to crucial moments that exposed areas of weakness and need for them this offseason.
By Bryan Pol
In light of a thrilling comeback in the ninth inning on Sunday night against the New York Mets in Game 5 at Citi Field, the Kansas City Royals capped off their magical season by winning their first World Series title in 30 years, becoming the first team in baseball history to muster three wins in a World Series after trailing in the eighth inning or later in all of those victories.
The Royals, despite representing a small market, proved relentless all series long, manufacturing runs through timely, contact hitting that overwhelmed the National League champions, who boasted a stouter rotation whose only true fault was an erratic effort from Jacob deGrom in Game 2.
Between Harvey’s two starts in Games 1 and 5, Noah Syndergaard’s turn in Game 3, and Steven Matz’s third start this postseason in Game 4, the Mets managed three quality starts, pitching to a solid 3.60 ERA, allowing only six walks in 25 innings. Although not dominant—Harvey, with nine strikeouts in Game 5, was the only starter to accrue more than six punchouts against a team that swung and missed only three times all night against New York in Game 2—each aforementioned starter left the mound with their team either tied (Game 1) or holding a lead (Games 3, 4, and 5).
Alas, the Mets lost in light of uneven efforts from Jeurys Familia, who blew two saves in Games 1 and 5 and could not hold a lead in Game 4, Tyler Clippard’s unsightly penchant for yielding bases on balls (three all series, the two most costly coming in Game 4), and no shows in the Series from Daniel Murphy, whom nobody on the Dodgers and Cubs could get out with any consistency, and Yoenis Cespedes, whose torrid months of August and September were ancient history by roughly Game 4 of the NLDS onward.
While the Royals, lead by World Series MVP Salvador Perez, a tough out who hit .364 in the Series, are celebrating their first title in 30 years, delivering vengeance from their seven game Series loss to the San Francisco Giants last season, Mets fans are wallowing in the pondering of “what could have been,” given that they were two outs away in Game 1 and five outs away in Game 4 from making last night’s Game 5 a decisive elimination game in their favor.
Unfortunately, the Mets take little solace in returning to the Series fifteen years after their loss to the Yankees in 2000, especially since the result was pretty much the same: a five-game Series loss that looked far more competitive than the series length illustrates.
Ultimately, the Series boiled down to three moments that decided New York’s fate.