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Monday, November 2, 2015

In Which We Mark Our Calendars for Next Year

I really can't be too upset.

If someone had told me in March--or, heck, July--that the Mets would be in contention for a playoff spot in late September, I'd have been pretty happy.  If someone had told me they would win the National League East outright, I'd have been thrilled.  If someone had told me they would play in the World Series. . . well, I would have run as fast and as far as I could because I would clearly have been speaking with a dangerous lunatic, completely out of touch with reality.

Ultimately, the Mets overachieved this year.  While no one can argue with the almost unfathomable excellence of their starting pitchers, the team overall didn't have much going for it: an unpredictable offense, a mediocre defense, and, aside from Jeurys Familia, a shaky bullpen.  And yet the Mets got just hot enough at just the right time to make it all the way to the World Series.  Where, yes, they were hopelessly overmatched.

I must congratulate the Kansas City Royals.  I don't think I've ever seen a team that played so. . . right.  They were relentless, and they made no mistakes.  For Mets fans, watching these games was like the proverbial death by a thousand cuts.  Royals hitters, for the most part, never hit the ball particularly hard, and yet they never seemed to make an out.  It seemed every time I looked up Eric Hosmer was hitting another soft grounder just out of the reach of Wilmer Flores to drive in two more runs.  I'll bet if I turned the TV on now I'd see Mike Moustakas hitting another check-swing liner just over the head of David Wright, somehow driving in six runners, all from first base.

The play last night that tied the game was emblematic of everything the Royals did well:  Hosmer at third, one out.  Familia gets Moustakas to do exactly what Familia wants him to do: hit a little nothing grounder that's easily fielded by David Wright.  Wright grabs the ball, looks Hosmer back at third, and throws to first for the out--and as soon as he throws, Hosmer charges home.  First baseman Lucas Duda throws home, wildly, the ball sails away from the catcher, and Hosmer slides in with the tying run.  People blame Duda, but that's unfair: Even with an absolutely perfect throw, I'm not sure he gets Hosmer.  It was an insane play.  Hosmer should never have attempted it.  And yet it worked.

At any rate, we can look back on an unexpectedly rewarding season with an admittedly disappointing ending.  But with the group of young pitchers and with, hopefully, the addition of some offensive help, the future is bright.  Just wait 'til next year.  Let's go Mets!

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