Saturday, October 31, 2015

Heroes & Zeroes From Game 3 via Mets on Scout

Here is an article I wrote for the Mets on Scout.com website regarding heroes and zeroes from Game 3 of the World Series.

Here is an excerpt:

Noah Syndergaard: What a statement by the Mets 23-year old starter. Syndergaard rebounded from a rough start to the game and gave the Mets six quality innings allowing only the three runs on seven hits. More importantly, he did something both Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom failed to do in Games 1 and 2, and that is adjust to the Kansas City hitters in the middle innings. At one point Sydergaard retired 12 consecutive batters.

Mike Moustakas: I hope Moustakas’ mother wasn’t watching the game when he dropped the royal “Fudge” Bomb on live TV 

READ HERE!

In addition, here is my article on the surge of power by David Wright! READ HERE!

David Wright, Noah Syndergaard power Mets to Game 3 win

METS 9
ROYALS 3
KC leads Series 2-1

With the backs to the wall the Mets got it done behind the right arm of a 23-year old prodigy nicknamed Thor, and a 32-year old third baseman who has been the face of the franchise for over a decade. In a game the Mets needed in order to give themselves the belief they can make a series out of this 2015 World Series, New York got it done behind David Wright and Noah Syndergaard, dropping the Royals 9-3 in critical Game 3.

The tone of the game was set early by Syndergaard when he came high and inside to Royals lead-off batter Alcides Escobar, setting off the tempers in the Royals dugout. Apparently Sydergaard got into their heads, as the Royals spent the entire night stewing over the right-hander doing his job, by coming in on a guy who has hurt the Mets in this World Series.

Syndergaard was amazing, especially after he struggled early in the game, allowing three runs in the opening two innings to put the Mets behind by a score of 3-2. Yet, he never relented, just like his teammates, who never gave up down 3-2 with the threat of a 3-0 series deficit starring them in the face. Syndergaard would retire the next 12 men to face him after an Escobar single in the second inning, allowing the Mets to take full control of the contest.

For the first time in this World Series the Mets offense came to life with David Wright leading the charge. Wright's two-run blast off of Yondero Ventura in the first inning not only gave New York a 2-1 lead, it gave the Mets renewed confidence that they could make something of this Series.

Wright had been struggling all postseason long, hitting a paltry .182 heading into Game 3. On Friday, he was 2-for-5 with four RBI and home run. The four RBI were the most RBI by a Mets in  a World Series game since Rusty Staubb in Game 5 of the 1973 Fall Classic.

Later in the bottom of the third inning, with Kansas City on top by a score of 3-2, Curtis Granderson dropped a Ventura fastball just over the wall in the right field corner for a two-run homer to give the Mets a 4-3 lead. New York would tack on four runs in an explosive sixth inning to blow the game wide open.

The Catalyst was easily Juan Uribe, who got a standing ovation from the Mets faithful. Uribe came up for his first at bat in the playoffs and delivered a pinch-hit single to right to drive in Juan Lagares to make it 6-2. After Kansas City's Franklin Morales loaded the bases on a walk to Granderson, David Wright lined a single to center scoring two Mets to push the lead to 8-3. Yoneis Cespedes capped off the rally when he barely missed what could have been a grand slam home run, and flew out to left for a sac fly to make it 9-3.

Syndergaard got the win, his second of the postseason. The 23-year old flame thrower went six innings allowing three runs on seven hits, and struck out six Royals. The Mets bullpen combo of Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia pitched shutout innings in relief.

The Royals maintain a lead in the series at 2-1, but the Mets now have life, but they must win tomorrow to back that up and even up this series.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cueto dominates Mets, sends Royals to 2-0 Series lead

ROYALS 7
METS 1
KC leads Series 2-0

The New York Mets have their backs to the wall –- BIG TIME -- in this 2015 World Series, after dropping Game 2 by a score of 7-1 in a dismal offensive display, as the Mets failed to answer the challenge from a heartbreaking loss in Game 1. Down 2-0 in the World Series the chances that the Mets win this series has dwindled greatly. How did the Mets get to this point? Let’s take a look at the Heroes and Zeroes of Game 2.


HEROES:
Johnny Cueto: Yes, a Royal. Have to tip my cap to Johnny Cuteo, who became the first pitcher since Jack Morris of the 1991 Minnesota Twins to throw a complete game in a World Series game. Cueto got absolutely roasted by the media who expected him to fall flat on his face, after he was torched by the Blue Jays in Game 3 of the ALCS. Instead the former Cincinnati Red looked like the Cueto who had a 2.62 ERA in Cincy. He held the Mets to just two hits over nine innings of work, pushing the Royals to a commanding 2-0 series edge.

Alcides Escobar: Right now Mike Moustakas might be the leader as a potential Series MVP, but Escobar continues to hurt the Mets. His RBI single to center tied the game, and opened up the floodgates for Kansas City’s offense.

Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer: These two guys continue their postseason domination. And to think both were struggling early on in the playoffs? Both had a couple of hits and drove in big runs against the Mets. Hosmer had two more RBI to increase his playoff total to 15 RBI this year. 

Jonathan Niese: Niese may have been charged with three runs in the eighth inning, but the guy has been the Mets best pitcher in this World Series, (which say a lot about the World Series for the Mets). He gave New York two shutout innings in relief in Game 1, and came back the next day and gave the Mets two more innings. For a guy whom the Mets worried would struggle pitching in relief, Niese has been fine.

Lucas Duda. This is really stretching it, by giving Duda a Hero Award considering his defensive liability has cost the Mets outs at times in this Series and in the postseason, but considering he had the only two hits of the day and only RBI for New York in Game 2, he gets it by default.

ZEROES:
Yoneis Cespedes: Cespedes has been the biggest dog of this World Series for the Mets. It started with his horrific misread of an Alcides Escobar fly ball in Game 1, and has continued with his horrible approach at the plate. Cespedes is 1-for-9 in the World Series, and is hitting only .233 in playoffs. With the exception of Game 3 of the NLDS, Cespedes has been awful this October. If the Mets decide not to resign him in the offseason, the fan base won’t complain if this keeps up.

David Wright. As much as it hurts, Wright continues to struggle in the playoffs. He had an huge error in Game 1, and struck out with men on base twice on Tuesday. In Game 2, Wright was nonexistent, going 0-for-3.

The Mets Offense: The Mets have struggled for much of the posteason to produce much offense. They got through the NLDS and NLCS relying heavily on Daniel Murphy, who played the best baseball of his career. As a team the Mets are hitting only .232 this October, and if one takes Murphy’s stats out of the equation, the Mets are hitting only .208. No matter how good the Mets pitching might be, they can’t win if the Mets don’t hit.

Stuck in Neutral: Jacob deGrom doesn’t deserve either a hero or zero, because he did the best he could considering the circumstances. He had the Royals guessing early on, but Kansas City is so good offensively, the eventually figured him out in the fifth inning when they plated four runs. Again, no run support = a loss.


OUTLOOK: It doesn’t look good for the Mets. They are down 0-2, meaning they have a 19.6 percent chance of winning this series, considering that 41 of the last 51 teams to fall behind 0-2 have lost the World Series. The last team to win the Fall Classic down 0-2 was the 1996 Yankees. The 1986 Mets were also down 0-2 to the Red Sox. Do the 2015 Mets have the same intestinal fortitude?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Missed Opportunities hurt Mets in Game 1 of World Series

ROYALS 5
METS 4
KC leads Series 1-0

While it is easy to talk about how close the Mets came to winning Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, the fact remains Game 1 as a whole was a series of unfortunate events that plagued the Mets from start to finish, as the Royals pulled away 5-4 in a 14-inning marathon.

For the very get go, Game 1 got off to an inauspicious start with Alcides Escobar rounding the bases on an inside the park home run that Yoenis Cespedes badly misplayed to give the Royals a 1-0 lead. The Mets spent the entire night trying to forget that run ever happened.  If Cespedes makes that catch, perhaps Jeurys Familia is pitching to Alex Gordon with a two-run lead in that ninth inning?


Give the Mets credit they did their best to put that moment behind, which makes this Game 1 loss even more excruciating.

New York tied the game on an infield single by d’Arnaud in the fourth inning; took the lead on a Curtis Granderson homer in the fifth, and added to that lead with a Michael Conforto sac fly in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough. The Royals stormed back to score two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at three, with Mike Moustakus’ base hit proving to be the dagger that ended Matt Harvey’s night.

Harvey had a shaky outing in Game 1. Perhaps the 10-day layoff between starts left him a little rusty, as he wasn’t commanding the zone much at all. Harvey’s pitches were flat and the Royals were hacking at everything the “Dark Knight” threw. Clearly the Royals are not intimidated at all by the Mets power arms, which is a scary thought.  

In the eighth inning, the Mets caught the biggest break of all, when a Wilmur Flores bouncer to first base went underneath the glove of Eric Hosmer at first base, allowing Juan Lagares to round third for the go-ahead run, leaving Mets fans with flashes of Bill Buckner dance in their heads, but, sadly it wasn’t enough.

Alex Gordon’s home run off of Familia was the punch to the gut Mets fans were hoping would not come in this series. Some on social media even compared it to the Yankees comeback against the Mets 15-years ago in Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. While the game would go on into the 14th inning, the home run in the ninth took all the air out of the Mets.

HEROES: The Mets heroes in Game 1 were Granderson, Juan Lagares and Wilmur Flores. Lagares was the brightest star of the night. He came into the game late as a defensive substitution, but was tremendous with his bat, dropping down a bunt for a single, and working an epic at bat against Kelvin Herrera to get on base as the lead-run. Lagares proved he should be in the starting lineup the rest of the series.  

Granderson, of course was brilliant. His home run gave the Mets the lead, and he also worked out two tough walks. Flores worked very long and consistent at bats as well. His grounder to first almost became the defining moment of Game 1.

ZERO: Yoneis Cespedes. Not sure what was going through Cespedes’ head on that fly ball in the first inning, but it turned out to be THE biggest mistake of the game. On top of that Cespedes was 1-for-6 at the plate, and struck out in a couple of big spots with men on base for the Mets.


OUTLOOK: The Mets need to win tomorrow. Jacob deGrom gets the ball and has to find a way to get the Royals on their heels in this series. Meanwhile, New York has to do a better job of working deep counts, and driving guys in; the Mets were 1-for-10 with RISP. If the Mets are going to make this a series, they have to prove that Game 1 wasn’t the mental turning point the Royals needed.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Mets take aim at Royals in 2015 World Series

The wait is over. The New York Mets are ready to square off with the Kansas City Royals in the 2015 World Series that begins tonight at 8:07 p.m. ET in Kaufmann Stadium. A match-up that nobody really expected, the fact that both the Mets and Royals are here at this point in the 2015 season, says a lot about baseball's present and future, which is now built around teams willing to develop their own prospects through the system before hitting it big at the Major League level.

It is a strategy that is a counter opposite to the long held belief of the late 1990s and 2000s where the Yankees, Red Sox, and more recently the Dodgers, have bought into the premise that winning happens when you spend millions of dollars in free agency. Not the case in today's game.

The Mets cut payroll out of necessity because of an ownership group that daveled in the infamous Bernie Madoff mess and lost money in the housing market crisis. They bought into the idea of developing its talent, while not spending the millions that made them a player along with the Yankees a decade prior,  and now, here they are. The Royals, like the Mets in recent years, were a reluctant spender for decades before shared revenue helped them even the playing field, and eventually Kansas City began to grow its own crop of stars. In a lot of ways the Royals ushered in this era of baseball at the Major League level.

While both teams have a similar genesis, their storyline is different entering this 2015 World Series. The Royals enter as proverbial favorites, having won appeared in the Fall Classic just one year ago against the San Francisco Giants, a series they lost in seven games. The Royals have not been shy about how much that series still plays in their minds, and how much they'd like to write a new chapter with a better ending.

Winning this World Series means everything to the Royals. A win, and they will be the first team since the 1989 Oakland A's to win a World Series a year after losing it. They would also create their own legacy, something the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and 2012, and the 2010 and 2011 Texas Rangers failed to do. In short, a World Series win and the Royals become a mini dynasty for a new era.

As for the Mets, the pressure is not on them to win this World Series. They have accomplished this year what many thought was nearly impossible. Ask anyone in New York, they would tell you the Mets were probably 1-2 years away from being a serious World Series player. They are ahead of schedule.

That being said, it doesn't erase the importance of this Series for New York. They are here now, and might as well go ahead and win it. David Wright may not have too many more years left, especially with that bad back of his. Yoneis Cespedes and Daniel Murphy might be wearing different uniforms next year, and with the Mets firm commitment to not spend major dollars on free agents, there is never a guarantee they can keep all of that young pitching down the road. While the Mets on the outside look like a team with a very bright future, the time is now for them to capitalize and take the prize home.

Let's breakdown the match-up.

STARTING PITCHING: There is not much of argument here, on paper the Mets have a much better starting rotation than the Kansas City Royals. The combination of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Steven Matz is as formidable as any combo of young starters in the history of the game. Consider this group throws the hardest fastball of any staff in the playoffs since 2009, at 96 mph, and is one of 12 staffs to have four World Series starters under the age of 27. The last team to have a staff with this much young pitching, you gotta go back to the San Francisco Giants in 2010.

That being said, this group will be tested against a very patient and powerful Royals lineup that can hurt a team from 1 through 9  in the batting order, and, most importantly the Royals don't strike out, something the Mets pitchers live off of. It will be fascinating to see how the Mets handle a high pitch count in this series, before their shaky bullpen is called upon.

As for the Royals, they have veterans Edinson Volquez, Johnny Cueto and Chris Young as well as young flame thrower Yondero Ventura. They have all had their issues this year, but should not be discounted. Volquez and Cueto can dominate on any given night, and word is Cueto pitches better at home. Ventura strikes out a lot of guys and can be overpowering at times. If the Mets are going to have any shot in this series, they have to beat either Volquez or Cueto and look to pound Ventura and Young in the games at Citi Field.
EDGE: Mets.

BULLPEN: This is pretty easy, the Royals have one of the best bullpens in the major leagues over the past two years. It carried the Royals to the World Series last year, and has been solid this year. Wade Davis may not have gaudy stats when it comes to saves, (only 17) but he pitched to a 0.94 ERA in the regular season. In addition, he has allowed only one earned run in 21 innings for the Royals in the playoffs the past two years. He is flanked by Luke Hochevar and Kelvin Herrera, both of whom have dazzled for KC this October.

Meanwhile the Mets pen is not nearly as trustworthy. Terry Collins has been forced to use Bartolo Colon and Jonathan Niese a lot out of the pen this October, since the likes of Tyler Clippard, Erik Goeddel, Hansel Robles, and Sean Gilmartin haven't been too reliable. To their credit, Colon and Niese have been great, and Addison Reed has done a nice job too. However, if the Mets can get to the ninth with a lead, then the ball goes into hands of Jeurys Familia, who has been nothing short of brilliant all season long.
EDGE: Royals.

1st Base: Eric Hosmer vs. Lucas Duda. Hosmer is the heart and soul of the Royals lineup. The left-handed slugger had one of the best years of his career, hitting .297 with 19 homers and 93 RBI. He is also known for big hits in the postseason. While he hit only .222 this month, Hosmer led all Royals with 11 RBI in the playoffs. As for Duda, he really struggled in the playoffs until his Game 4 performance in the NLCS, when he drove in five and hit a 3-run homer. Duda has power, but also strikes out a ton. EDGE: Royals.

2nd Base: Ben Zobrist vs. Daniel Murphy. By now you've probably heard that Murphy has had a tremendous postseason run for the Mets. He has seven home runs and 11 RBI this October, and if he hits one more he joins Barry Bonds, Nelson Cruz and Carlos Beltran as the only players to eight homers in the
playoffs. Not to mention Murphy made history belting a home run in six straight games. Suffice to say, it will be interesting to see if Murphy remains hot after a five day lay-off, with the Royals pitching him inside.

Ben Zobrist was a very solid addition to the Royals lineup, providing a veteran bat behind Alcides Escobar. Zobrist could be a key to this series. He had a very solid postseason in the number two spot in the batting order giving the Royals both average, run production and power. His impact cannot be dismissed. EDGE: Even

3rd Base: Mike Moustakas vs. David Wright. Great match-up. Moustakas is a pure power threat in the middle of that Royals lineup. While he didn't have a big postseason, he can go off at any moment. Last year, Moustakas had five bombs in the playoffs. The Mets have to be careful with this lefty bat. David Wright, the dependable Mets veteran and captain could see a lot of pitches to hit in this series, with the Royals targeting Daniel Murphy as the man they have to get out. Wright started to break out of his slump against the Cubs, so he could be in line for some big moments. EDGE: Even.

ShortStop: Alcides Escobar vs. Wilmur Flores: Escobar has the potential to be a big time threat on the base paths in this series. The Mets are challenged up the middle defensively, and he could take advantage. He did have a big postseason with the bat, and possesses a great glove. Flores, on the other hand, is not as gifted defensively, but does have some power in his bat. The position is his ever since Ruben Tejada broke his leg on the Chase Utley slide. EDGE: Royals. 

Catcher: Salvador Perez vs. Travis d'Arnaud: Hard to not to call this position even, but Salvador Perez has been here before. The veteran catcher is going to have an edge in this series because he knows how to handle this situation, even with a leaky starting rotation. Plus, Perez can produce big offensively; he's already hit four homers this October.  d'Arnaud is proving to be a big time catcher down the road. He already catches the league's best starting rotation, and the National League's best closer. Not to mention, d'Arnaud has flashed his power a little bit with home runs against the Cubs and Dodgers in the playoffs. EDGE: Royals. 

Outfield: 
Left Field: Alex Gordon vs. Yoenis Cespedes/Michael Conforto: Like David Wright, Alex Gordon is a guy who has been with his parent organization his entire career, and would love nothing better then to break through and lift his team to a World Championship. He has taken a back seat to the likes of Hosmer and Moustakas, offensively, but is still a guy who can be a dangerous power threat.

The Mets will likely platoon Cespedes and Conforto in left field throughout the series. Cespedes has been bothered by a shoulder injury, but insists that he is good to go. If Cespedes breaks out of his October slumber he could be the difference maker of the World Series. And even if he doesn't hit, Cespedes has a tremendous arm in left. As for Conforto, his power could be huge in an American League ball park. EDGE: Mets.

Center field: Lorenzo Cain vs. Juan Lagares: Lorenzo Cain could be the series X-factor for the Royals. A great combination of speed and power, Cain is quickly turning into one of the games' biggest stars. He scored the winning run in Game 6 all the way from first base on a Eric Hosmer single to left against Toronto, and proved to be a terror on the bases all postseason, even though he only stole two bases. Look for Cain to take advantage of the Mets shaky infield defense. Lagares is a gifted outfielder, not so much as a hitter however. This is a clear edge to Kansas City. EDGE: Royals.

Right Field: Alex Rios vs. Curtis Granderson: Rios is the forgotten man of the Royals lineup. The veteran outfield used to be one of the games feared power hitters, but has seen his skills decline over the years. He can still be a threat to turn the lineup over however. Granderson, has enjoyed a renaissance season with the Mets in 2015. Reunited with ex-Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, Granderson belted 26 homers, drove in 70 and hit .256 this year. He even took to the lead-off spot, something he hadn't done in years. Granderson hit .303 in the playoffs, and next to Murphy was the Mets most consistent hitter in October. EDGE: Mets.

Managers: Ned Yost vs. Terry Collins: Neither manager is going to remind anyone of Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa, but both Collins and Yost get the most out of their players and have them in this very spot. Yost would have the edge in this match-up since he has been here before, but Collins has been hitting the right buttons all postseason long. Both are good men who deserve a title. EDGE: Even. 

Intangibles: Hard to say one team has an edge of another in intangibles since this is the World Series. But, the Royals know this is their shot to cement their legacy and avoid the distinction as the next Texas Rangers or Detroit Tigers of baseball. The Mets have the best pitching of this series, and know that if they can split the first two games, they could be sitting pretty in Games 3, 4 and 5 at home. EDGE: Royals.

Prediction: Ok, here we go. I love the Mets story, they have turned believers out of their pessimistic fanbase and changed the outlook of the franchise for the next few years to come. A win in the World Series would complete the greatest Mets story told since 1969. That being said, the Royals have the experience edge to outwit and outlast the Mets pitchers. Also, keep in mind each of the Mets starters have had over a week of rest, which could give them some rust. Great match-up, but ROYALS in SIX. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cowboys turnovers & Giants Special Teams lead Big Blue to win

GIANTS 27
COWBOYS 20

A week after they were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants bounced back on Sunday afternoon thanks to an opportune defense, and a 100-yard kick return by Dwayne Harris in a 27-20 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at the Meadowlands.

The Giants forced four turnovers against the Cowboys who were starting their third quarterback this season in journeyman Matt Cassel, who was overthrowing in key spots all afternoon. In fact the turnovers were not only huge for the Giants, they proved to be deadly for Dallas.

With the Cowboys leading 13-10 entering the third quarter, Cassel was picked off by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who brought it back to the house from 58-yards out to put Big Blue in front 17-13.

On the next Dallas drive, Cassel heaved one down the sideline for Terrance Williams at the Giants 1-yard line, but the quarterback found Brandon Meriweather instead, who came up with the interception. Eli Manning would answer with a 44-yard completion to a streaking Ruben Randall to spot the ball at mid field. The Giants would settle for a field goal, and a 20-13 lead.

Cassel would throw one more costly interception, this time at the start of the fourth quarter on first and 15 at the Giants 39 yard line, killing another Dallas drive.

However, after the Giants answered with a three-and-out, Cassel and running back Darren McFadden started to pick apart the Giants defense on a nine play 80-yard drive that ate up nearly five minutes. Cassel hit two big passes at the end of the drive, one from 21-yards out to Williams to the Giants 25 yard line. Then a 25-yard strike to the corner of the end zone to Devin Street for six points, tying the game at 20.

Turns out, however, the Giants didn't need Eli Manning to bail them out like he did against San Francisco two weeks prior. On the ensuing kick-off Dwayne Harris took it the distance from 100-yards out for the winning score.

The loss was crushing for a Dallas team that outplayed the Giants in every facet of the game. The Cowboys held the football for 38 minutes, had gained 460 yards and converted 27 first downs, compared to the Giants 13. McFadden really hurt the Giants on the ground with 152 yards rushing and one score. Eli Manning completed only 13 passes in 24 attempts for 170 yards. The victory was Tom Coughlin's 100th regular season win as Giants coach, tying Steve Owen as the only Giants' coaches to amass 100 regular season wins.

Matt Harvey to start Game 1 against Royals

The Mets set their rotation for the 2015 World Series with Matt Harvey getting the start for New York in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

Following Harvey will be Jacob deGrom in Game 2, Noah Syndergaard in Game 3 and Steven Matz in Game 4. If the series does go seven games, Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard will each have two starts against the Royals.

With a rotation so deep as the Mets, some have tried to ignite a debate about whether Harvey or Jacob deGrom should get the ball for the Series opener. Nothing could be more ironic. The Mets opened this 2015 season with the same question. Should Matt Harvey get the start on Opening Day, or should it be Bartolo Colon? The Mets went with Colon and that worked out just fine.


The reason Harvey didn’t get the ball on Opening Day had to do with the fact that manager Terry Collins was concerned that Harvey would be too amped considering it was his first start in over a year after Tommy John’s Surgey, but that didn’t change his opinion that Harvey was his go-to guy. 

Harvey has shown that the pressure moment is something he can handle.  He pitched brilliantly in the Mets NL East clincher at Cincinnati, and was even better in Game 1 of the NLCS against Chicago.

Harvey is a guy who prides himself on the big moment; he lives off of being the “Man” at the center of attention. When he and his agent Scott Boras floated out the “innings limit” controversy that rocked the clubhouse late in the regular season, all Harvey wanted to do was to make it up to the Mets for the PR gaff.

In addition, this would have been Harvey’s turn to start in the rotation anyway. If the Mets had lost to the Cubs in Game 4, Harvey would have had the ball in Game 5. He has only pitched twice in the postseason, meaning that when Harvey touches the mound in Kauffman stadium it will be his first start in 10 days.  

Not to mention, deGrom has thrown a lot of innings this postseason, as compared to Harvey. deGrom did labor through his last two outings, with high pitch counts, and even threw 121 pitches in his first start against the Dodgers.

At the end of the day, there is really no wrong answer here for the Terry Collins. He has three starters he can easily go to for a Game 1 start of the World Series. In addition the Mets are assured that Harvey, deGrom and Noah Syndergaard will pitch twice in this series if it goes the distance. While Kansas City will be difficult, the Mets should like their chances with these three starters.  


It should be a good one, and if Harvey wants to prove he is a $200 million man down the road, now is perfect stage to do just that.

Brandon Marshall drop, leaky D cost Jets against Patriots

PATRIOTS 30
JETS 23 

Brandon Marshall was wide open. The pro bowl wide receiver turned around to his right and saw Ryan Fitzpatrick had him lined up for a completion that would have been a touchdown that could put Gang Green up eight points. Marshall had his hands ready, felt the ball his his grasp, and dropped it.

A potential 24-16 lead instead turned into a field goal and a 20-16 Jets lead. In a game against Tom Brady, a 20-16 lead is not good enough, especially when there is 12:50 left to go in the ballgame.

Overall it was a bad day for Marshall, who not only dropped a huge touchdown, he was called off-sides on the last play of the game, leading to a clock run off to send the Patriots to a win.

While most will say it is not fair to blame one player on a loss, Marshall's mistakes are a big part of the reason why the Jets are sitting at 4-2 in second place, and not 5-1 atop the AFC East.

What's most disappointing about New York's 30-23 loss to the Patriots, is the simple fact they should have won this game. The Jets had the Patriots on their heels for three quarters, and were actually getting something of a pass rush on Tom Brady. Brady had a shaky start for New England, he was sacked three times, and couldn't get his receivers to hold onto the football as Brandon LaFell and Julian Edleman let the Super Bowl MVP down on a number of throws.

Whatsmore, Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was brilliant, completing 22 of 39 for 295 yards and two touchdowns, and was clutch on third down, with eight of his completions moving the chances in crucial third down situations. This with running back Chris Ivory hobbling on one leg as he played the entire game with a hamstring injury.

Early in the second quarter, Fitzpatrick converted three third downs on the Jets' 14 play 83-yard drive that culminated in a Jeremy Kerley touchdown that gave New York a 10-3 lead.

After New England took a 16-10 lead on a couple of field goals, the Jets once again were on the move with Fitzpatrick orchestrating the effort. The quarterback was 4-for-6 on the drive including a 23-yard completion to Eric Decker on third down to move the ball to the New England 13. Two plays later Ivory caught a 9-yard screen pass from Fitzpatrick for the score to push the Jets in front 17-16.

Sadly all the good feeling would end there with Marshall playing the court jester. Fitzpatrick had the Jets right at the New England 12 yard line before the former pro bowl receiver dropped what would have been a huge touchdown to give the Jets an eight-point lead. Instead New York settled for the field goal, then Tom Brady went to work.

Granted, a lot of blame should also go to the Jets defense. New York had New England on a third and 17 before Brady connected with tight end Rob Gronkowski for 27 yards to the Jets 46. Gronkowski would catch the next three passes for the Patriots, before Brady finished off the drive with a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola to put New England on top 23-20.

New England would put the game away on their next drive when Gronkowski caught a 15-yard touchdown, unchallenged by the Jets defense to pull New England farther ahead at 30-20.

With the loss the Jets have a big game next week in Oakland against the red-hot Raiders.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Royals Take Care of Blue Jays, set to Meet Mets in World Series

ROYALS 4
BLUE JAYS 3
KC Wins Series 4-2

Even a one-hour rain delay was not going to deter the Kansas City Royals from their second consecutive American League title. With Game 6 of the ALCS tied at three, after a 2-run homer by Jose Bautista tied it in the eighth, the Royals had to wait out a sudden rain delay before answering the Toronto slugger. 

They wasted no time at all. Once play resumed Kansas City was on the move, literally. Lorenzo Cain led of the eighth inning with a walk, and soon found himself gliding around the bases after Eric Hosmer's clutch base hit down the right field line. Cain scored easily as the throw from right field came in late, handing the Royals a 4-3 lead. 

Wade Davis held on for the comeback win, striking out two and jamming Josh Donaldson into a game-ending groundout with the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at second base for the Blue Jays. 

Kansas City's return to the World Series should be a surprise to nobody. They were the best team in the American League all season, and were the favorite by many to get back to this point. Now they get set to meet the Mets for the first time in the World Series. 

The Mets and Royals do have a history against one another. The Royals and Mets have played nine games against one another all-time, with Kansas City leading the all-time series 5-4. The last time they met, the Royals took two of three at Citi Field in 2013. The last time the Mets ever visited Kaufmann Stadium was way back in 2004. 

The World Series begins Tuesday night in Kansas City. 

Tues, Oct. 27; Game 1: New York Mets (deGrom) @ Kansas City (Cueto) - 8:07 p.m. 
Wed, Oct. 28; Game 2: New York Mets (TBA) @ Kansas City (TBA) - 8:07 p.m. 
Fri, Oct. 30; Game 3: Kansas City (TBA) @ New York Mets (TBA) - 8:07 p.m. 
Sat, Oct. 31; Game 4: Kansas City (TBA) @ New York Mets (TBA) - 8:07 p.m. 
Sun, Nov. 1; Game 5: Kansas City (TBA) @ New York Mets (TBA) - 8:15 p.m. 
Tues, Nov. 3; Game 6: New York Mets (TBA) @ Kansas City (TBA) - 8:07 p.m. 
Wed, Nov. 4; Game 7: New York Mets (TBA) @ Kansas City (TBA) - 8:07 p.m. 

Official pitching match-ups will be available by Sunday.