We saw baseball in all its beauty last night, Dramatic and building tension; rallies; questionable decisions; and mistakes made by the athletes. And, pure athleticism.
We also saw the continuation of the long debate of power vs. speed, with speed winning. Six stolen bases trumping two home runs.
We all saw why baseball is still the greatest game, and for those in authority clamoring about the length of the games, could you please just shut up, go away and appreciate what you have and understand most of that tinkering is a waste. Tell me every minute wasn’t compelling.
And, for those saying all the Mets need is more power, I hope you were taking notes. The Mets hit 30 more homers than Kansas City, which hit a major league low 95 – the only team with fewer than 100. However, even with that deficit, the Royals generated 22 more runs, or roughly three more a month.
And, the Royals played in the league with the designated hitter.
Where Kansas City had it way over the Mets offensively was in a higher slugging percentage – which incorporates doubles – a higher batting average, a slightly higher on-base percentage, and struck out a whopping 279 fewer times.
That’s roughly six fewer a game, or two more innings on not touching the ball and subsequently making a productive out by moving a runner into scoring position. The Mets also left more runners on base.
This isn’t to say power isn’t important, just that it isn’t as vital of playing small ball, of using speed to manufacture runs. Hustling for runs usually puts more pressure on the defense than mashing.
The Royals rallied twice Tuesday night in the late innings to advance in the playoffs while playing in a smaller park. Meanwhile, the Mets are sitting home again figuring how much closer they should bring in the fences.
Citi Field was built with the idea of having a team concentrate on pitching, speed and defense. Actually, speed and defense win in all sports.
The Mets would be wise to get back to that line of thinking.