(Photo: Bill Menzel)
They know it is a tough situation. One more loss Sunday night and this marvelous season of New York Mets baseball is over. And it will be in the hands of Matt Harvey on the mound who has been through this before, then again hasn’t this entire season for the Mets been another game that could make or break the season?
However this time it is different with a 3-1 deficit to the Kansas City Royals in the World Series. The Mets won’t bow their heads and concede after losing another tough one in the late innings resulting from an infield error, and they won’t make excuses because their efficient closer failed, who also gave away Game 1 on a two-out ninth inning home run.
But this was a crushing defeat, just like the first game of this series on Tuesday night in Kansas City. And if the Mets want to extend this series to a sixth game and head back to Kansas City, Harvey as the manager Terry Collins said, “Has to give us one of those great outings he’s capable of giving us.”
All the Mets needed was six outs to even this series. Instead Tyler Clippard walked two back-to-back, and Jeurys Familia had his second blown save of the series becoming the first pitcher to do that since 2008 when Philadelphia’s Ryan Madson could not get a save.
The issue also is the Royals outscoring the Mets from the eighth inning on, 7-1. That has meant the difference also in why they are not up 3-1 in the series instead of being two down. And reflect back to a week ago when Daniel Murphy was the hero in October, and as the calendar turned to November the error in the eighth inning suddenly made him a goat.
Also contemplate, the last team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the World Series were these Kansas City Royals in 1985. The Mets know their backs are against the wall, they are aware of the marvelous season that could suddenly come to an end, in a series that could have had them in control instead of on the brink of elimination.
“Again we’re in a tough situation, but we’re not dead yet,” Collins said. And that has always seemed to be the motto of Collins, and for this New York Mets team. They weren’t supposed to bypass the Nationals and take the NL East, take the Dodgers in five games in the NLDS.
The Chicago Cubs NLCS series and the four-game sweep, and the heroics of Daniel Murphy weren’t supposed to happen, so why should the Mets not think they can overcome the improbable task and win three more games from this Royals team that seems to do nothing wrong?
But the Mets made the mistakes. Murphy in the eighth inning allowed a slow ground ball from Eric Hosmer roll under his glove in the infield for an error. That opened the door for the Royals to score the tying run from second base, and the once invincible Jeurys Familia allowing two run scoring singles for the 5-3 lead and eventual win.
“In postseason, you can’t give away outs,” explained Collins. “You’ve got to make outs. You can’t give good teams opportunities to score extra runs because they can do it.” But these are the Royals who trailed six times in the postseason by multiple runs and went on to win.
The Mets gave games away like this many times this season. However the success and doing more than expected, that got them to this point, makes one forget how Familia blew his share of games and those games in the first half of the season when they were the lowest scoring team in the National League.
Again, there is one more game and that leaves room for comfort.
“You find comfort in knowing that we’ve got another shot tomorrow,” said Michael Conforto. The rookie became the sixth Mets player to record two home runs in a postseason game. The second home run in the fifth inning, which gave the Mets a 3-1 lead at the time, was not enough room for comfort against this Royals team.
He said, “I get another chance to go out there and play. It’s a tough loss, definitely but there’s no quit in this team. As long as we have an out, we’re going to keep fighting so we’re excited to come out tomorrow.”
Clippard said, “It is time to move forward.” The Mets have always had that attitude when they have been down this season. But moving forward, in a season ending elimination game to the Royals could be their most difficult task.
“I am sure,” David Wright said about being some anger and emotion right now. “But this team has been excellent at being ready for tomorrow when we leave this ballpark. Numerous times we have won three games in a row. We know these guys (Royals) are playing good baseball and we have to go out there and match that.”
Wright said there were a dozen reasons why the Royals went up another game and why the Mets are facing elimination. They hit well, play good defense and he said, “we lost the game not Daniel Murphy.”
“We understand the circumstance,” Wright said. “We dug the hole.” Yes the Mets have room for comfort because there is one more game but to keep this going to a sixth game Tuesday night in Kansas City they know it will be a difficult task and have to win Sunday night.
But It always seemed to be a difficult task for these New York Mets, and they did the opposite and made it look easy. Except these are the Kansas City Royals on the other side who may not give them an opportunity for that comfort of playing three more games.