By Jason Keidel
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OK, that one hurt.
When the Mets lost Game 1 of the World Series, it was pretty clear to many of us that they were still the better team. Kansas City just got lucky off Jeurys Familia. WFAN host Mike Francesa said it could be an omen. I figured omens, like momentum, were as strong as the next game's starter.
But when Jacob deGrom lost his control and his mojo in the fifth inning on Wednesday night, there was some ominous sense in the building, at least that the Mets weren't going to win one of the first two. He got batters down to two strikes 24 times, and never got one swing-and-a-miss for strike three.
That speaks to the ornery nature of the Royals, and to deGrom's lack of A-Plus stuff. So be it. Sometimes their best beats your best.
But to hear the army of Mets fans jumping ship on Wednesday night, signing off social media with an epic sense of resignation, was hard to fathom. Any notion that this series is remotely over is laughable. And if any fan base should embrace that idea, it's the Mets fan, who got the twin handles of "Amazin" and "Miracle" Mets for a reason.
Your Mets haven't played one game at home. They are starting Noah Syndergaard against a pitcher with a 5.10 ERA in these playoffs. Thor has a 2.41 ERA in 13 starts at Citi Field.
In case you weren't reminded on Wednesday night, the 1986 Mets lost the first two games of the World Series, as did the 1996 Yankees. And both of them lost at home. (A Royals fan was more than happy to remind me that KC was also down, 2-0, in the 1985 Fall Classic, and won it.)
There's a scroll of material to suggest the Mets can win this series. We're neither dumb nor naive enough to pretend that Game 3 isn't essential. If the Mets lose on Friday, it's all but a formality. But they won't.
The Mets weren't supposed to be in the playoffs. Then they weren't supposed to beat the Dodgers, who trotted out the best pair of pitchers in the sport. Then they weren't supposed to beat the enchanted Cubs, who had the hottest pitcher since ERA became a statistic.
Now they've run into a team that refuses to surrender a strike, much less an at-bat. Kansas City is tough. But you should be ornery and formidable in the World Series.
What could be troubling is a Game 4 with Steven Matz, who's had less than a dozen starts in the majors, with a long sheet of injuries behind him. He has to pitch more than four innings if the Mets are going to even things out. You don't want to arm-wrestle with the Royals' bullpen.
But to quote Urban Meyer, who was in studio with Francesa this week: "You don't have to be the best team in the country every time; you just have to be the best team in the arena that day."
Leave it to Thor, and then worry about the rest. Odin will be pleased.
Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonKeidel.
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