We’re getting closer and closer to Game 3 of the World Series. Seats are filling up at Citi Field. Anything Terry Collins has to say to his team he’s probably done so already.
I just spotted this on the Internet and thought you would enjoy.
It’s funny how things worked out for the Mets. They were reluctant to bring up Noah Syndergaard in May, but now in October they are counting on him to extend their dream season. Down two games to Kansas City, Syndergaard will take his 100 mph., fastball to the mound tonight at Citi Field.
“We’ve got great confidence in him,” said manager Terry Collins. “I think as much as you’d like to go to that crusty, veteran guy who’s been here, who’s done it, to help bail you out of the hole you’re in, we’re not asking that. We’re asking this kid to go out and pitch his game, and his stuff should play.”
The Mets entered the World Series with a decided edge in starting pitching, but Matt Harvey (6) and Jacob deGrom (5) gave them a combined 11 innings in the first two games. Syndergaard must give them at least seven innings to keep the Royals away from the Mets’ bullpen.
Along with the Mets’ starters, another story line was the Royals’ hitters ability to make contact, especially against fastballs over 95 mph. Syndergaard is 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA and spoke as if he has this playoff thing down pat.
The question has always been posed to pitchers for years: Does he pitch to his strength, even if it is the hitter’s strength as well?
Syndergaard knows a pitcher never wants to get beat with his secondary pitches; if he goes down it will be with his best.
“My main focus is to pitch to my strengths and being able to execute all my pitches, and just focus on winning one pitch at a time,” said Syndergaard, speaking like the veteran he isn’t.
It’s funny how things work. The Mets didn’t want to bring up Syndergaard in May to delay his arbitration and free-agent years to have him conveniently locked up for the future. The Mets singled out their young pitching as the foundation for their future, but the future is now for the Mets.
It is tonight.
ON DECK: Tonight’s lineup.
The Mets are down two games in the World Series, but I am here to give you five reasons why they can come back and win this thing. Never mind the odds, the beautiful thing about sports is anything can happen, including a parade down the Canyon of Heroes.
Here’s how it can happen:
TERRY COLLINS: Let’s start with the basics. You need to win four games to win a World Series and the Royals have only won two. The Royals haven’t won anything yet and they know it.
Manager Terry Collins will make that his first point when he talks to his players today. He must stress the Mets need to win just one game. They win Friday and go to work Saturday. One game at a time is a cliché, but a cliché becomes a cliché because it is true.
As long as the Mets have the mindset all they need to do is concentrate on that day’s game they will be fine. Sure, they are in a hole. If they think it’s a big hole they are in trouble. If they look at it as a matter of one game they can win. (See: 1986 Mets; 2004 Red Sox).
For the most part, Collins pushed the right buttons this year. He knows his team, knows its temperament and knows how to pull them out of funks. He lost a couple of gambles in the first two games, but made them for the right reasons.
Collins made a good decision Thursday when he made the workout optional. Collins knew his team was fatigued and the questions they would be asked. He knew his team needed a breather.
That’s a manager having the pulse of his team.
THIS CAN’T LAST: The Mets played maybe their worst game in a month in Game 2. We have seen them bounce back from bad games numerous times this year to play well.
These Mets have put bad moments behind them and responded with wins. That’s a quality you don’t forget and I expect them to do the same starting Friday.
Teams go into slumps, and the Mets are no different. They got here because they played well and I believe they will snap out of it.
I’m counting on it.
THEY STILL HAVE THAT PITCHING: The main storyline going in was the Mets’ rotation. Just because they didn’t win with Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom in Games 1 and 2 doesn’t mean they went away for good. That advantage still exists.
Remember, both pitched with a lead, but were victimized by a bad inning. They could each get another start, with Harvey getting Game 5 at home and deGrom Game 6 on the road.
It’s hard to remember them pitching poorly in back-to-back starts. In case you’re wondering about fatigue, neither pitched deep into their games and that will work in their favor.
Noah Syndergaard goes Friday and has done well at home.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t believe Jeurys Familia will be scarred by Game 1. You don’t save that many games by letting things bother you.
SPEAKING OF HOME: The 2-3-2 format works in the Mets’ favor. Three straight games at Citi Field with that rocking crowd can turn the tone of the Series.
The Mets won 60 percent of their Citi Field games this season and definitely have a home field advantage. I would bet on the Mets returning to Kansas City.
A player who thrives at Citi Field is Lucas Duda, who hit 19 of his 27 home runs in the direction of the Pepsi Porch.
The Royals seemed to have solved Daniel Murphy, but he’s getting hits. If Murphy is to be a player of the ages we thought a week ago, he’ll need another spurt.
The Mets have struck out a lot, but this is something that can be addressed with patience. They’ve snapped out of it before and have the ability to do it again. A little hit-and-run, a little stealing has a way of jumpstarting an offense.
Remember, they didn’t win 90 games by accident. Strat-O-Matic believes that. The game we played as kids – before such things as Fantasy Leagues – projected the Royals to win the first two games.
And, for the Mets winning the next four.
Reed worked a perfect inning, while Clippard wriggled out of trouble.
Colon should be available in Game 3, Friday night at Citi Field.
Nobody can say for certain what big games Jacob deGrom might have later in his career that could carve legacy, but there’s no doubt the Mets’ run during these playoffs is contingent on him showing up large in Game 2 tonight against Johnny Cueto.
No deGrom; no World Series title.
The Mets’ best pitcher this season must fight through fatigue for his team to take this Series back to Citi Field tied at a game apiece. The must regain the command he lost in his last two starts against the Dodgers and Cubs.
Those teams couldn’t come up with the big hit to put deGrom and the Mets away. The Mets aren’t even here without his second start against the Dodgers in which he stranded five runners in scoring position.
Such grit rarely works against the Royals, who came from behind twice last night to beat the Mets.
“One of the things we know about them is they’re never down and out. We’ve got to put them away,” manager Terry Collins said after Kansas City survived 14 innings last night, and to do so needed to overcome Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning.
That begins with scoring early and often against Cueto, and deGrom becoming overpowering again.
“They’re going to battle you,’’ deGrom said. “They’re not going to strike out a lot and they’re going to put the ball in play. I think my job is to keep the ball down.
“I always say I try to go out there and get early contact, and strikeouts just seem to happen. That’s going to be my same game plan going into this.’’
Against the fastball-hitting Cubs, deGrom said he had to temper his approach with more off-speed pitches and relied on his change-up. Much has been made of Kansas City’s ability to put fastballs in play, so that might be his formula tonight.
“There’s going to be adjustments to be made like there is in every game,’’ deGrom said. “I think it’s just seeing what’s going on out there.’’
And, recognizing it quickly because if he doesn’t the game can get away very fast.