3. The Decision to Give Matt Harvey the Ball in the 9th in Game 5
In Game 5, the Dark Knight was ready to salvage Gotham and force the Series back to Kansas City for a Game 6 and a shot at redemption for Jacob deGrom, whose Game 2 loss thrust his team into an 0-2 hole heading back to Citi Field for Game 3. Matt Harvey’s Met legacy was set to receive its share of plaudits, more so given the ace’s desire to take the ball in the ninth after already spinning a masterpiece: eight innings of scoreless ball, in which Harvey scattered four hits and struck out nine. Despite a clean inning in the eighth, Tom Verducci reported that Royals players were ecstatic to see Harvey on the mound in the ninth, especially given his inability to locate his fastball, with his changeup and slider failing to yield positive results any longer. After a seven pitch at-bat from Lorenzo Cain, Harvey walked the Royal centerfielder, who promptly stole second base. Rather than yank him, Terry Collins kept his ace in the game, resulting in an Eric Hosmer RBI double that forced Jeurys Familia to enter the game under duress. [su_youtube_advanced url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn6KY6uqaqs”] Two batters later, Hosmer would score from third after two groundouts, tying the game at 2-2, quickly extinguishing Harvey’s brilliance, adding another blown save to Familia’s now-tarnished World Series resume.
As they had in Game 1, the Royals waited patiently to pile on runs, as they eventually would in a five-run 12th inning that capped off a 7-2 clincher for Kansas City in Game 5.
While the Royals, deserving 2015 World Series champions, ended the season on a quest to prove they were baseball’s best, the Mets now enter a cloudy offseason where the players who got them to the mount—Daniel Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes, and Tyler Clippard—may not return, due largely to their shoddy play in the World Series entire.
Despite the result at season’s end, the Mets were a few plays and bounces going their way from World Series glory, a prospect that bodes well for a team that returns its entire rotation that is now playoff-tested and will learn from its World Series mistakes, a staff that gets stronger in light of Zack Wheeler’s return from Tommy John surgery at some point in 2016, which could succeed on the level of even the largest deadline deal come next July.