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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The 2015 World Series featured two teams who had not seen the World Series for over three decades. The New York Mets last appeared in a World Series in 1986 and the Kansas City Royals last appeared in a World Series in 1985. After narrowly missing out on a title in 2014, the Royals took care of business in five games this time, launching another breathtaking rally to tie the Mets in the ninth inning and then dispose of them with a five-run outburst in the 12th to secure a 7-2 win in Game 5 on Sunday night at Citi Field. Going into the 2015 World Series there were clear differences between how each team won their respective pennants. The Mets rode to their NL Pennant behind the 95+ fastballs of their four young stud pitchers, the best closer in 2015, their second half power numbers, and their late season acquisitions. The concern of Mets fans was their defense. The Royals entered the series with the best swing and not miss statistic in baseball, good starting pitching, the best bullpen in baseball, a great defense, and the ability to steal bases. The Royals fans, unlike Mets fans, had no weakness concerns.

The Mets defense faltered causing the Mets to blow three games when they were leading the Royals and within two outs, five outs, and three outs from winning respectively Game 1, Game 4, and Game 5. There were four key Mets mistakes that opened the doors leading to Royal wins in these three games.  

Game 1 had the first two Mets mistakes. Mets mistake 1 was by their closer Jeury Familia. With the Mets leading 4-3 in the ninth and two outs away from victory, in attempting to quick pitch Alex Gordon, Familia grooved a sinker leading to Gordon’s 438-foot home run. This represented his first blown save since July 30. The blown save led to extra innings and in inning 14 mistake 2 occurred when a David Wright error on a routine ground ball hit by Alcides Escobar led to Escobar eventually scoring the winning run on a sacrifice fly.

The Mets were leading 3-2 in Game 4 and five outs away from evening up the series at two games apiece when Mets mistake 3 occurred. Familia -- who arguably should have opened the eighth to get a crack at a clean inning (Collins had needlessly used him for an inning in a blowout win the night before, so he was reluctant to put him in for the six-out save opportunity) -- replaced Tyler Clippard, who had given up consecutive walks. Familia did his job by getting Hosmer to roll over on a sinker, but the slow grounder skipped under the glove of a charging Murphy causing the tying run to score. The Royals followed Murphy’s error scoring two more runs and winning Game 4 by a score of 5-3.

This brings us to Game 5 a do or die situation for the Mets. Matt Harvey was given the ball by his manager Terry Collins and for eight innings he was unhittable. With the Mets leading 2-0, Collins wanted to take the ball away from him and give it his closer Familia for the ninth inning. Harvey convinced Collins to let him face the Royals in the ninth. Was this a mistake by Collins? My answer to this question is no. Yes, the result ended badly and it is easy to second guess a manager but this was not mistake 4. If Collins replaced Harvey and Familia blew the save the same critics would have loudly criticized this decision. The only way Collins could win was if the Mets won the game. So what was mistake 4? With Hosmer on third base and two outs Duda, after receiving Wright’s throw threw wildly to home allowing the tying run to score. As the replay showed Hosmer would have been out by 10 feet with a good throw. The Royals went on to score five runs in the 12th inning. End of game end of series, the Royals are the 2015 World Series Champions.

With both teams possessing young talent, excellent managers, and general managers it is not unreasonable to expect these two teams to compete again in the 2016 World Series.    


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Saturday (Halloween Day, 2015) had three games I was most interested in seeing. Of course there was game 4 of the World Series. Besides that game two college football games were on my interest agenda. They were the rivalry game between The University of Minnesota and The University of Michigan. At stake was the right to possess the “Little Brown Jug”, first awarded in 1909.The second game was the rivalry game between The University of Florida and The University of Georgia, the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party" first played in 1904. These two football games joined the WS game as a must see because my oldest son Bradley graduated from The University of Florida Law School and my Youngest son Matthew graduated from The University of Michigan Law School. As a side note I wondered if the Little Brown Jug Trophy was the oldest trophy in North American College or Professional sports. The answer is no. The honor of the oldest North American trophy belongs to the Stanley Cup Trophy in Hockey, presented for the first time in 1893.

Late afternoon featured the Florida versus Georgia contest, or should I say no-contest as Florida handedly defeating their arch-rival Georgia 27 to 3. The Halloween goblins were unkind to the Georgia Bulldogs as the Gators built a 20-0 lead at halftime thanks to three huge plays -- one from the offense, one from the defense and one from special teams. A muffed punt was recovered in the end zone, a 66-yard score resulted from a pass-play, and a pass-interception set up the third TD. The Gators coasted from there to a dominating win.

The next two game were knuckle biting games. Both games were evening games which forced me to go back and forth with my trustee remote as my weapon. As you will read the Halloween goblins had their fun manipulating both games.

The Michigan-Minnesota game went back and forth but it was the end of the game that provided the ultimate excitement. The game was played in Minnesota just a few days after their beloved head coach Jerry Kills was forced to retire because of health reasons. Before the game began the love the fans and players had for their now retired coach was displayed. Midway in the game Michigan lost their starting quarterback due to a legal hard hit which brought his backup into the game. This young man, to this point in the season, had zero completed passes. However, with four minutes left in the game this backup quarterback led the Wolverines of Michigan to a three-point lead. Minnesota was not dead and on the next possession with only 27 seconds they completed a pass that looked like a TD but was ruled, after review, to be spotted on the one-half yard line. Poor clock management or should I say goblin intervention allowed only two plays to be run. On the game’s final play the Wolverines stuffed the Gophers' quarterback sneak attempt leading to a 29-26 Michigan road win.

Game 4 of the World Series featured the pitching matchup of the local boy Stephen Matz for the Mets against the ex-Met Chris Young for the Royals. Matz, after only pitching 9 games in the majors, was asked to try and even the series at 2-2. Matz did not disappoint holding the Royals to one run, striking out five in his five innings. Heading into the eighth inning the Mets held a 3 to 2 lead. Enter the Halloween goblins who chose to pull a trick on Daniel Murphy, the player most responsible for the Mets winning the NL pennant. With Royals on first and second a routine grounder hit by Eric Hosmer was muffed by Murphy allowing the tying run to score. Moments later Mike Moustakas singled in the go-ahead run past the glove of a diving Murphy, and Salvador Perez knocked in another insurance run. Wade Davis then provided a six outs save leading to a 5-3 Royals victory.

The last person the goblins tricked was my wife Tara who because of the evening games missed a ballroom dance party.


 

 

 
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