Michael Conforto is quickly making a name for himself—and where else but on the biggest stage in baseball. Conforto got the night started with an absolute bomb to the Pepsi Porch in the third inning, followed by a laser off Danny Duffy in the fifth. The one other run for the Mets came from Curtis Granderson; a sacrifice fly in the fifth, scoring Wilmer Flores.
Stony Brook-native Steven Matz was chased from the game thanks to Ben Zobrist before recording an out in the sixth, ultimately pitching to an impressive line of two runs on seven hits in five innings, striking out five. Jonathan Niese and Bartolo Colon got out of a jam to finish off the sixth, followed by a perfect inning in relief from Addison Reed. The idea of the Mets evening up the series—and even being world champions—was just getting into Mets fans heads, not to mention this story.
Then all hell broke loose.
Tyler Clippard came in to put the entire season on his shoulders, and walked Zobrist and Lorenzo Cain. Collins had seen enough, and brought in closer Jeurys Familia. A grounder off the bat of Eric Hosmer—what looked like a sure out—was booted by Murphy, allowing Zobrist to score. RBI singles by Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez made this one 5-3, a score at which the game would stay. Kansas City closer Wade Davis shut the Mets down without a problem with a six-out save.
In no way, shape, or form, did the Mets deserve to win this game. If anything, Michael Conforto deserved to—the rookie carried the team the entire game. Had it not been for Alex Rios forgetting how many outs there were on Granderson’s sacrifice fly, Conforto would have accounted for the Mets only two runs of the game. But shoddy defense combined with poor relief pitching was only part of tonight’s problem. Terry Collins, the prospective manager of the year, misplayed his bullpen, bench, and everything in between. One thing he did right was take out Matz in the sixth, he was out of gas. He put in Niese—right again. He then took Niese out after getting two easy outs: that’s when it went downhill. Colon came in, the long reliever, and pitched a third of an inning—an out that Niese was perfectly capable of getting. This cost the Mets a veteran arm when they could’ve used one later on.
Going into the eighth, the Mets were nursing a 3-2 lead—and he calls for the shaky Tyler Clippard instead of Jeurys Familia, who is perfectly capable of taking a six-out save. Once he realizes he screwed up, he called for Familia, but it was too late. He had understandably double-switched in Juan Lagares which brought Conforto out of the game. This was good. Collins then pinch-hit Kelly Johnson for Lagares. This was awful. Lagares has been the most consistent hitter for the Mets the entire postseason in whatever role they put him, but pinch-hit for him for Kelly, when even a home run couldn’t have tied it—when all they needed was a base runner to get things started.
The Royals are now up 3-1 in the series, and the Mets will be fighting for their lives behind The Dark Knight tomorrow. He will face off against Edinson Volquez, fresh off his trip to the Dominican Republic for his father’s funeral. He hopes to win the World Series for his father, whereas Harvey hopes to prolong the season for Gotham.