2015 World Series Recap

“Baseball is a game of inches.”  That’s a cliché that’s thrown about quite often by announcers, analysts, and old timey fans.  It’s true to a degree and was so during the 2015 World Series between the Mets and Royals.  An in between hop, a jump on a fly ball, a throw that just barely pulls someone off the bag or goes up the line.  “Give ‘em an inch, they’ll take a foot.”  That’s another more universal cliché you often hear.  That sentiment summed up the Royals this postseason as they used every mistake and every opportunity to make their opponents pay for giving just an inch of hope.  The Royals mustered 7 come from behind wins this postseason and actually trailed the Mets in every single game of the World Series.  They plated over 40 runs between the 7th and 9th innings during the playoffs.  It was that never say die attitude and confidence that propelled them to winning the 111th Fall Classic.

Game 1 saw the notion of inches on the first pitch as Alcedis Escobar put one in the left-center gap.  Yoenes Cespedes got a bad jump and then miscommunicated with rookie Michael Conforto as to who was playing the ball.  Cespedes stabbed at it, but missed by a few inches.  The Mets would take the lead 3-1 later in the game.  The Royals tied with the Mets again taking the lead on a Eric Hosmer error scoring Juan Lagares.  In the bottom of the 9th with Jeurys Familia on the mound who hadn’t given up a run in the postseason, Alex Gordon takes him deep on a ball that was up in the zone by a mere few inches.  It took 14 frames to settle, but you got the sense that KC wasn’t going to let up and would find a way to win.  In the 14th, an error by David Wright pulled Lucas Duda off the bag and led to the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Hosmer, redeeming himself.  This would be the first of several Mets miscues that the Royals would use to their advantage. 

Game 2 was a one-sided affair with Johnny Cueto pitching masterfully as he kept the Mets’ hitters off balance the entire game.  Duda managed the only 2 hits for New York and yet they still had the lead at 1-0 going into the 5th.  During that half inning, the Royals used timely deke and dunk hits sprayed all over the field to put 4 runs on the board.  Cueto didn’t need any more than that keeping the Mets guessing the whole night with his myriad styles of delivery to the plate.  Kansas City would add 3 more runs in the 8th to complete the 7-1 romp on their way to holding serve in their home ballpark.

Needing a win in Game 3, the Mets sent fireballer Noah Syndergaard to the mound.  His first pitch came within inches of drilling the hot hitting Escobar.  That kind of bravado from Syndergaard could either juice up the Mets for a comeback in the series or awaken the Royals even further to keep up the pressure, now with a chip on their shoulders.  This game, the Mets dominated as the bats came alive en route to a 9-3 victory.  Wright had 4 RBI and it looked briefly like New York was poised to make it a very competitive series.  In an interesting managerial move, Mets skipper Terry Collins used his setup guys Reed and Clippard, along with his closer Familia in a mop up role where they weren’t needed. 

Game 4 pitted Chris Young against the newest Met pitcher, Steven Matz.  Both pitched great through the first few innings.  Rookie Michael Conforto came out in this game belting 2 homeruns for New York.  Kansas City would touch Matz in the 5th on an RBI single from Gordon and again in the 6th on a Lorenzo Cain single.  New York would take a 3-2 lead into the 8th but no lead was safe against this resilient Royals club.  After 2 walks from Clippard, Collins went to his closer Familia again.  Hosmer hits a weak ground ball to 2nd that Daniel Murphy misplays allowing the ball to miss his glove by a mere inch or two.  The tying run came in and back to back singles plated 2 additional insurance runs.  Royals closer Wade Davis closed the doors on the Mets with a six out save to put KC up 3 games to 1.  During the 9th, another costly mental error hurt the Mets when Cespedes was doubled off to end the game.

In a must win Game 5, New York sent out Harvey again to save the season.  Embroiled in a controversy over his innings limit the past two years, it appeared Harvey was primed to take the Mets on his shoulders in this pivotal elimination game.  He pitched masterfully throughout the game doing what no other Mets starter had done before – consistently get the Royals to swing and miss.  Kansas City had largely avoided the Mets advantage of power pitching, proving to be very hard to strikeout.  Harvey dispatched 9 Royals via the strikeout in Game 5.  Curtis Granderson led off the game with a homerun and the Mets got an insurance run on a Hosmer error.  Going into the 9th, Harvey had only 102 pitches in the game, leaving everyone to wonder who would pitch the final inning.  With Familia warming up, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen informed Harvey his night was over.  A jazzed up Harvey immediately went to plead his case to Collins insisting he wanted to go back out there.  He could be seen saying “no way!” over and over about being taken out.  Collins relented and the crowd erupted when Harvey ran out of the dugout.  However, as they had been the entire series, the Royals were un-phased by the roar of the crowd or the sense of drama and destiny of the Dark Knight out to save Gotham from elimination.  Cain worked a full count into a walk to start off the inning.  Instead of going to the closer, Collins stuck with his starter to go after Hosmer, who was destroying the ball with runners on base.  Cain stole second easily and Hosmer laced a double to left scoring their first run.  Now Familia was brought into the game asked to be perfect with no one out and the tying run on second.  Hosmer went to 3rd on a grounder by Mike Moustakas.  Next up Salvador Perez (eventual MVP) hit another weak grounder to the left side.  Wright snatched it up and even looked Hosmer back before firing to first.  As soon as Wright looked to first, Hosmer bolted for the plate.  Duda’s throw was off the mark, yet again opening a window for Kansas City as they tied the game.  A good throw and the game is over with the series moving back to Kansas City.  The Royals would blow it open in the 12th plating 5 runs to cinch the series. 

 Some interesting notes regarding the series:
·         The inside the park homerun to start Game 1 was the first since 1929
·         Familia is the first pitcher to blow 3 saves in the World Series.  Game 5 blown save was without surrendering a hit
·         KC first team to trail 3 games in the 8th or later to win all 3
·         After Game 1, KC did not have another homerun.  Mets had 5. 
·         Wright, Murphy, and Cespedes went 11-64 (.171) for the series


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