(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
Carlos Torres remains down in Port, St. Lucie Florida at the New York Mets training complex as his teammates anxiously await Game 1 of the World Series in Kansas City. He along with seven other Mets are on the practice fields and ready to get a call if one of the 25 on the postseason roster comes up injured.
Torres, who was instrumental during this Mets championship season coming out of the bullpen naturally would prefer to be in Kansas City, but a late season injury to his left calf caused him to miss time thus hindering any chance of being a righthander for manager Terry Collins in the division and league championship series.
Being a member of the taxi squad has some perks. Torres will still get a percentage of a player’s share as a part of the 40-man roster, and if the Mets win their first world series since 1986, he will also earn his first ring.
However,Torres, who keeps in touch with his teammates would rather be in Kansas City. He makes his offseason home in the state of Missouri, and of course the pinnacle for any ballplayer is to be a part of the Fall Classic.
“Daniel Murphy is having a great postseason,” Torres said Monday afternoon from Port. St. Lucie after another throwing session. He has not observed every pitch of this Mets playoff run of becoming National League champions with a four-game sweep over the Chicago Cubs last week, but Murphy and a record six straight postseason home runs had to be noticed.
Torres is a pitcher, and in that bullpen there is a close fraternity. The guys work as a unit and there is that void not being with some of the key components of that pen, including closer Jeurys Familia who has pitched nine innings of scoreless ball in the Mets’ three wins over the Dodgers and four over the Cubs in the postseason.
“He worked hard to where he is now,” Torres said about his cohort in the pen. Torres is aware how the game goes and in late October, with the Mets where they are, the need for another bat off the bench may have been the decisive factor as to why he is not on the active postseason roster.
Torres says the calf is fine. Collins, in the final games of the season was concerned that his calf was not one hundred percent and that showed with the location, though the fastball and secondary pitches still had velocity. Naturally when the postseason roster was assembled, Torres went with the plan and reported to Port St. Lucie.
He offered insights on how this highly anticipated World Series could come down to pitching. The young arms of the Mets, a staff that averages a MLB best 96-mile fastball, a Kansas City team with a bullpen that can beat you and an offense that had the fewest strikeouts as a team in baseball.
“The game is not only about home runs,” Torres said, when asked about the Royals and Mets pitching.”The Royals did not lead baseball in runs scored, neither did the Mets. What they both have in common is the ability to pitch and score when needed.”
Though most baseball analysts see the series as the Mets’ power pitching opposing the Royals’ good contact hitting at the plate, it could come down to bullpens of both teams. Kansas City may have that advantage out of the pen, and they are a team with that added experience of returning to the World Series a second straight year.
Torres sees Curtis Granderson playing an impact. The Mets leadoff hitter has five hits, four walks and four stolen bases in the postseason.
“Granderson’s ability to see a lot of pitches, driving the ball to get a run in, take a walk when needed and steal a bag when the situation calls for has made the biggest difference on the offensive side,” he said, to go along with the way Murphy has slugged the baseball.
“So I look forward to a good battle and enjoy the pitching by the starters and bullpen in the series,” he said.
As for the outcome? Torres would not make a prediction but down in Port St. Lucie he and the remainder of that New York Mets taxi squad know where their rooting interests are.
Prediction here: Mets in six games because of that starting pitching that could contain those contact hitters of the Kansas City Royals.