Undaunted Wright eager for home cooking
NEW YORK -- David Wright's first World Series hasn't exactly gone as planned. On Monday's media day, Wright waxed eloquent about heading into the Fall Classic with the Mets for the first time in his 12-year career. He was thrilled.
The Mets then dropped the first two games to the Royals at Kauffman Stadium, the first one in heartbreaking fashion, losing leads of 3-1 and 4-3, before falling, 5-4, in a 14-inning marathon that matched the two longest games in World Series history.
In that game, Wright's throwing error began Kansas City's half of the 14th inning and led to the unearned run that ultimately ended the five-hour, nine-minute affair. Wright thus far is batting .182 (2-for-11) in the series, with two singles in Game 1 and no RBIs. On the plus side, of the 10 balls the Mets have hit in the first two games with an exit velocity greater than 100 mph (according to Statcast™), Wright has four.
Wright seemed no worse for wear in the clubhouse after the Mets absorbed a 7-1 defeat in Game 2 on Wednesday night. He had a smile on his face and a huge wrap around his midsection to treat the spinal stenosis he now lives with every day. He's still having a ball.
"I mean, it would be more fun if we won," said the Mets' captain and seven-time All-Star third baseman when asked his impressions of the first two games. "But the atmosphere, the environment, these are things that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life. Hopefully, there are better times ahead at home, but these are the greatest memories I'm going to ever have on a baseball field.
"Again, we want to win, but the electricity, the intensity in the stadium, I'm sure we're going to match that in New York."
The Mets are down, 2-0, and could have as many as three chances at Citi Field, beginning with Game 3 on Friday (7:30 p.m ET air time on FOX, game time 8 p.m. ET).
Wright is well aware of the history of all this. It's not impossible to come back from an 0-2 deficit in the World Series, as 11 teams have done it -- including the Mets of 1986 and the Royals of the previous season.
"Regardless, we have to win four games," Wright said. "Whether you lose the first two or win the first two, you have to win four. This isn't the ideal position to be in. That's a given, but it's the first one to win four. Just because we lost these first two by no means is this thing over."
If the series were to go the full seven games, barring weather delays, it will have spanned nine days. If the Royals should sweep, it will have taken just five days. That's a blur, and no matter the outcome, the most long-awaited series of Wright's career will be finished in a blink of an eye.
He's living the dream, but for stretches it can become nightmarish, as it was for Wright during the final six innings of the game that unfolded in extras on Tuesday night.
It began innocently enough when Wright was thrown out trying to steal second with one out in the ninth, Daniel Murphy at the plate, and the Mets clinging to a 4-3 lead. Wright was first deemed safe, but the call was overturned after replay review. Murphy then flied out to center, ending the inning.
Wright said he was given the option to run after singling sharply off reliever Luke Hochevar. Manager Terry Collins said the Mets had measured Hochevar's slower release point to the plate and gave Wright the opportunity to run on the pitch of his choice.
"We gave him the green light," Collins said. "We thought he was safe, but he obviously wasn't. I know Dan is swinging good. Did they want to face him or Yoenis Cespedes? In that situation, we liked the chance of seeing if we could get a guy on second to add on a run, and they just threw him out."
The play became really essential when Alex Gordon homered off Jeurys Familia to tie the score in the bottom of inning. But it wasn't the end of the evening for Wright.
In the 11th, he struck out with two out and runners on first and second against a struggling Ryan Madson to end the Mets' last offensive threat of the rainy evening. In the 12th, he was slow to pick up Paulo Orlando's leadoff slow roller, making a throw to first that Lucas Duda couldn't handle.
And opening the 14th, Wright booted a routine grounder smacked by Alcides Escobar. Wright kept the ball in front of him, but his sidearm throw was wide of Duda for a throwing error. Escobar eventually scored the winning run on Eric Hosmer's sacrifice fly.
Wright, though, remains undaunted. He stood at his locker after both games at full throttle, answering all queries. One win on Friday night, and the Mets are right back in the thick of it. But a lot has to change.
"I just think that they've outplayed us, it's as simple as that," Wright said. "If you pitch better, hit better and play defense better, normally you're going to win those games. And they've done that."