It wasn’t a San Francisco Giants game, but before the first pitch was even thrown, it had the makings of a Giant show with Tony Bennett singing to kick off the festivities. Made me miss our Giants even more. But the resemblance to anything Giant ended there.
It was the Mets show and they were down to their last shot. Lose this game and it’s all over. Curtis Granderson got the ball rolling with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. They scored another run when Granderson drew a walk to lead-off the sixth inning, then came home on Lucas Duda’s sac fly.
Matt Harvey pitched for the Mets—he’s their ace, he pitched Game 1 of the series—and he gave the Mets an outstanding outing all the way through the eighth in Game 5. Going into the ninth inning it was Mets–2, Royals–a big fat zero. Mets manager Terry Collins told his pitching coach they would go with their closer to finish the game.
After the pitching coach delivered the news to Harvey, Harvey told Collins “no way” to coming out of the game. He was looking for a complete game win. Unfortunately, it turned into the beginning of the end.
I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but I’m going to come right out and say it—there’s no “team” in Matt Harvey. He had an outstanding outing–eight spectacular innings. He was almost untouchable. But when he insisted that he be the one to finish the game, he was not thinking of his team. He was thinking of himself. I can say that with complete confidence and sincerity because of his behavior this season.
And I can put my money where my mouth is.
Exhibit A—like I said, Matt Harvey is the Mets ace. But he went along with his agent, Scott Boras, who imposed an innings limit on the hurler. The agent said that it was the doctor’s recommendation. Harvey said he had to listen to the advice of his agent and his doctor. The Mets talked with the doctor and it turns out, the doctor denied putting an innings limit on Harvey. Funny thing, when the Mets made the post-season, the innings limit magically disappeared.
Exhibit B—Harvey skipped a mandatory workout. Oh sure, he apologized to his teammates, his manager and he got fined, but what kind of player misses a mandatory workout? He said he overslept, he got stuck in traffic and there were reports that he stayed out late partying the night before. That’s the trifecta of piss-poor excuses.
Matt Harvey wasn’t thinking about the Mets, he was thinking about Matt Harvey. There is no room for that kind of behavior or attitude in a team sport–that goes double when you’re in the hunt for the championship. He did the exact opposite of what the Giants do, and probably most other players—he was playing for the name on the back of the jersey, not the name on the front.
Like I said, Matt Harvey was brilliant through eight, but Collins felt that Familia was the guy to close it out and that’s what should have happened. I don’t care that Harvey argued with Collins—or pitched a fit, demanding to go back out. Collins should have stayed with his decision to turn the ball over to Familia.
Would the Mets have won the game if Jeurys Familia had started with a clean slate in the ninth? It’s possible—actually, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s probable. I realize that the Mets lost two other games that had nothing to do with Harvey. But Game 1, Harvey’s other start was eerily similar to Game 5. The Mets had a two-run lead, Harvey gave up a double, a couple of singles and a stolen base to tie the game in the sixth. It went on to extra innings, ending with a walk-off in the 14th.
The big differences in Game 5 were: Harvey pitched into the ninth instead of the sixth, the Royals drew a lead-off walk instead of hitting a single and the game only lasted 12 innings before the Royals took the lead. But the double, the stolen base and extra innings were there. Another difference: the Royals scored five runs in the 12th, but they weren’t at home like in Game 1, and a one-run walk-off wasn’t an option.
I know, last year our ace pitched in Game 1, Game 5, and also came in during Game 7 because he wanted the ball. He knew he could do it. Bochy knew it too. But let’s face this wasn’t the same because…
It was Madison Bumgarner! You thought I was gonna say #WeAreGiant, didn’t you? There’s a big difference between Madison Bumgarner and Matt Harvey–the biggest one is this: Harvey is known as the Dark Knight, but Madison Bumgarner is a knight in shining armor. He even delivered the World Series flag on his trusty steed.
It’s a shame, because the Mets had absolutely everything it takes to win the Fall Classic, but mistakes in fielding, mistakes in managing and mistakes in pitching did them in. Three of the four games they lost could have gone either way. This is the part where they say “there’s always next year” but I’m not going to say that. Because next year is 2016, and it belongs to the Giants.