Heading home, Mets need bats to awaken
Big knock missing as NY has one extra-base hit in Series
KANSAS CITY -- The Mets' offense seemed to switch into silent mode right around the moment that Alex Gordon's game-tying home run cleared the center-field fence in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the World Series, and locking up against a dominant Johnny Cueto was no cure.
Now, as the Mets return home, they must find a way to jump-start their bats. Lucas Duda notched the only two hits off Cueto in Wednesday's Game 2, a 7-1 loss to the Royals, and New York hitters have managed just three hits in their past 47 at-bats of the Series. New York trails 0-2 in the best-of-seven series, series, with Game 3 at Citi Field on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET air time on FOX, game time at 8 p.m.).
"We came into the series swinging the bat fairly well," third baseman David Wright said. "What did we get, two hits? And even they weren't really hard-hit. I thought we had some hard-hit balls; just seemed like they played us perfectly. We drew some walks, which was good. There were one or two times where we had opportunities to score runs and that was it."
Yoenis Cespedes and Wright brought back 0-for-4 collars as souvenirs for a game that marked the Mets' fewest hits in any postseason game. They had plenty of company in the hitless-and-pressing department; for example, rookie Michael Conforto is 0-for-19 since homering in his first postseason at-bat. The Mets' lone extra-base hit in this Series was Curtis Granderson's Game 1 homer.
"We're not hitting. That's what I see," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "[Cespedes] is not the only one. There's a couple other ones in there. We've stressed it enough, when we play good our lineup produces throughout. It just shows you right now with us not hitting how big Dan Murphy really was in the NLCS with the home runs."
Murphy, otherworldly in the first two rounds but more human through two Fall Classic contests, did contribute a pair of walks in Game 2. Otherwise, Royals pitchers have followed through with the game plan that pitching coach Dave Eiland hinted at: namely, that Murphy was way too comfortable against the Dodgers and Cubs, and that would need to be addressed.
"He really hasn't gotten too many pitches to hit," Mets hitting coach Kevin Long said. "Pitches are off the plate, pitches are low, pitches are high. Murph walked twice today. I think he's doing what he needs to do. I think he can tell you that he's taking what they're giving him, and they haven't given him a whole lot."
The Mets rejected the suggestion that the five-day layoff following their National League Championship Series sweep of the Cubs has been a factor.
"I think you can look at it as we took some time off to recuperate, to reflect," Duda said. "Some guys were banged up a little bit, so that helped us out right there. I don't think so; there's no excuses."
Wright said that Kansas City is succeeding at cashing in runners from scoring position, whereas they are not. The Royals banged three straight two-out hits off Jacob deGrom in their four-run fifth inning, the kind of rally the Mets desperately crave.
"I think you're bound to get a couple of hits with those runners in scoring position when it seems like they're out there every inning," Wright said. "It's tough offensively when, like tonight, you get one shot to score a run and it doesn't happen. You start maybe pressing a little bit offensively and trying to do too much."
It may seem that time is running short, but Long said that the Mets are close to getting it right.
"I don't really feel like we're too far off. I still don't," Long said. "Cueto threw a good game. We swung at six pitches out of the zone, which isn't many. There was some quality to a lot of those at-bats."