Print this story

House money post season comes to an end for NY Mets. Why it's not a bad thing.

POSTED November 02, 2015
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney


TORRINGTON: Coming into the 2015 post season, something a true Mets fan would not have predicted would happen back in June when they scored a run a week, I have viewed this run to the World Series as playing with house money.

I know, fans of the team from Queens are going nuts over the ninth inning move by Terry Collins last night when he stayed with Matt Harvey even though his cut told him to take out the “Black Knight” after he walked the leadoff hitter in the top of the ninth.

What happened over the rest of the inning and subsequently in the twelfth inning gave the Kansas City Royals, clearly the better team in this series, their first WS title since 1985.

I also have seen that Collins, a manager who played with virtually no talent for most of the year until the trade deadline moves, is being put through the ringer for the move but I could not disagree more.

The Mets are at least a year away from truly being a consistent (that’s the key word) winner if, and it’s a big if, the front office can refrain from doing anything stupid over the next few months because they feel they were so close.

It was a flawed Mets team during the regular season and indeed, those flaws came back to haunt them on Halloween and the day after, as if on cue.

They were a team with questionable infield defense, which showed itself at critical times at the most pivotal times when it hurt the most.

The Royals were a team that was built to take care of what the Mets thought was their strength, power pitching. The Royals have not met a fastball they didn’t like and from Harvey’s first pitch to Alcides Escobar that resulted in an inside the park homerun, the flaws came a flowing.

Here’s just a few of the more glowing ones and how they hurt in the short term but may have helped in the long run.

….Yoenis Cespedes: The hired gun who made a huge difference after his last minute trade deadline deal was a shell of himself in both all three series and his botched play on the Escobar play was an omen of things to come. Good pitching usually finds hole in the batters swings and the Dodgers, Cubs and Royals all zeroed in on them to perfection. Cespedes batted .150 (3-20, 1 run scored, 0 HR, 0 RBI).

That’s the bad. The good news is this might end any slight chance the Mets may have had in trying to sign a player who was looking for an A-Rod type deal to end his career. Didn’t think the Mets would even try but I think his post season sealed the deal.

….Daniel Murphy: Was hard not to get wrapped up in what Murphy did to the Dodgers and the Cubs and in the process put himself in the record books with his home run display in those rounds. However, the Royals shut him down as well as he too batted just .150 (3-20, two runs scored) and was his normal defensive nightmare at critical times.

That’s the bad. The good news is this should keep the team from trying to compete in a bidding war for a player who is eligible for free agency and might clean-up for an American League club as a DH. Dilson Herrera is being groomed as the next second basemen, perhaps leaving Murphy out of the equation. If the Mets can sign him on the low side though, he could serve as insurance for David Wright who no one knows how he will return in 2016 with his back issues.

….The Bullpen: The Royals had a clear advantage over everybody this post season when it came to their bullpen, something the Mets (and most of baseball) cannot say about their middle and late inning specialists.

Collins too often had to pray the starters could get the ball to closer Jeurys Familia without stopping along the way to use Tyler Clippard, Bartolo Colon or Addison Reed.

Granted, each of them had their positive moments but also melted down at times as well.

That’s the bad. The good is that perhaps the team will work even harder to get the kind of middle relief that the Royals threw out there every inning. More heat on top of more heat was the rule of the day.

….Streaky Players: Will Lucas Duda ever be the answer at first base? His ability to pop off nine home runs in a week and then not another for a month is not something that the team needs.

What was lost on me Sunday night was how little was made of his horrible throw to the plate that almost landed at La Guardia and allowed an aggressive Eric Hosmer to score the tying run. A good throw and the game is over and switching back to KC. Not making the little plays killed the Mets in this series.

That’s the bad. The good news is that perhaps this will make the team take a good hard look at how important infield defense really is and look to either trade or develop better options.

Yes, I hear all the talk about how hard it is to get back to the World Series but what the Mets do have in abundant supply is young pitching.

It will be my sincere hope that the folks in charge don’t get too clever and look to break them up.

Pitching and defense along with clutch hitting wins these things, take the stats.

KC hit just two home runs, the Mets six but the Royals struck out just 26 times in five games while the NY team fanned 40 times.

KC ran the bases better with seven steals to the Mets one and if there was ever an extra base to be taken, the team from the Midwest did it so much better.

So in closing, I’ll just say that I am not disappointed. Didn’t expect to be here in the first place.

Now if the team falls flat on their collective faces next year and beyond then I will be.

This was not supposed to be their year and it wasn’t.

The next few years will be critical to the NY fan base as they watch and see if this team can compete in October/November.

I’m good with this year.

For more from Timothy W. Gaffney click here