By Joe Rini
The Mets first playoff appearance in nine years is hours away…will they get to the World Series? Well, as the team wrestles with innings limits, a missed workout, the Great Greinke, the even Greater Kershaw, Matz’s shoulder blade, traffic on the Los Angeles freeways, and a fan base that fears the next “Only the Mets” moment, perhaps the answer is as easy as 13, 14, 15.
13, 14, 15? Of course.
After the Mets battled the Oakland A’s to the seventh game of the 1973 World Series, it took the franchise 13 years to return to the Fall Classic with a championship in 1986. After wandering through the desert of the National League East for 14 years, the boys from Flushing returned to the World Series in 2000 and saw Derek Jeter earn a World Series ring for his pinkie finger.
Thirteen years to 1986…fourteen years to 2000…fifteen years to 2015…hmm?
Numerology aside, the quest for the franchise’s fifth World Series appearance looks to be both formidable and doable at the same time. The Mets squandered a chance at home field advantage in the best of five NLDS against the formerly of Brooklyn Dodgers, thus look down the barrel of three time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw and former AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke in Games 1 and 2 at Los Angeles.
But the Mets, who won the season series over the Dodgers 4 games to 3, will be countering with their ace, All-Star, and 14-game winner Jacob deGrom in the opener and 6 foot 6 inch Noah Syndergaard will stand tall on the mound in Game 2. Both Mets hurlers had success against the Dodgers this season with deGrom throwing 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball on July 26 while Syndergaard held the Dodgers to two hits and one run in six innings on July 3.
Matt Harvey and Steven Matz round out the Mets rotation at Citi Field in Game 3 and Game 4, if necessary. Matz is slated to pitch Game 4 if his upper back responds well to treatment and a simulated game set for Thursday while Harvey, who caused a stir when he missed the team’s mandatory workout on Tuesday, will start Game 3 as long as he arrives to the stadium on time.
Speaking to reporters after he arrived late to Citi Field on Tuesday, Harvey said, “I’ve talked to Sandy and I’ve talked to Terry and my teammates and apologized to them and apologized to everybody…they understand I’m here to get my workout in and be with the team. Unfortunately today, I screwed up. So there’s not really anything else to say. They know what happened and I told everybody and apologized to everybody, told them it’s not going to happen again. It’s never happened before and unfortunately it happened kind of at a bad time.”
Mets captain David Wright, the only Met remaining from 2006 team that fell just short of the World Series, returns to the post-season after years of disappointment and a season-long injury. Speaking amidst the celebration of the Mets clinching on September 26, he said, “I’m trying to bottle this up…bottle this emotion and save it for as long as I can.” Along those same lines, I won’t venture a prediction or guarantee a result for the Mets this post-season, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts.
Besides wishing the team well, fans send their thoughts and prayers for Rusty Staub as the Mets Hall of Famer suffered a heart attack while flying back to New York from Ireland this past Thursday. The flight returned to Ireland, where Staub is recovering. “The prognosis is good and Rusty and his family ask that we respect his privacy during this period. He is in the thoughts and prayers of the Mets organization,” the team said in a statement.