Mets' 3 most costly mistakes in World Series
NEW YORK -- This one's going to hurt for the Mets. It's going to hurt for a long while.
"I won't be sleeping much the next couple days," said manager Terry Collins, "I'll tell you that."
The Mets' 7-2 defeat in 12 innings at the hands of the champion Royals in Game 5 of the World Series on Sunday night at Citi Field was -- like Games 1 and 4 before it -- a product of their own mistakes. New York coughed up three late leads in this Series in almost unimaginable fashion, and that's going to sting every day between now and Spring Training.
These were the three moments that cost the Mets dearly -- the three they'll forever wish they had back:
1. Jeurys Familia's quick pitch to Alex Gordon in Game 1
Familia likes to incorporate the quick pitch into his repertoire to disrupt a hitter's timing, but the obvious potential downside is the command loss that can accompany it. Gordon came to bat with one out and the Royals trailing, 4-3, in the ninth, and Familia, who hadn't blown a save since July 30, was in position to seal Game 1 and steal home-field advantage away from Kansas City. Instead, the closer's quick pitch on a 97-mph sinker that didn't sink was smacked for a game-tying 428-foot home run that paved the way to the Royals' 5-4 victory in 14 innings.
Though Familia is no stranger to the quick pitch, no one could argue that he got beat on his best pitch. And the fact that he used the quick pitch to the previous batter, Salvador Perez, only further compromised its value. Gordon would say later that he wasn't aware Familia used the quick pitch until Perez's at-bat.
Familia had given up just six home runs in 78 innings in the regular season.
"We were all shocked by it," Collins said. "We liked where we were at."
Though Familia would blow a record three saves in the Fall Classic, this was the only one where you could legitimately say he was the true culprit.
2. The Daniel Murphy error in Game 4
Let's stop short of calling it Bill Buckner-esque, because the stakes were considerably more elevated on Buckner's error for the ages. But the stakes were still pretty darn high here -- eighth inning, one out, two on, Mets leading 3-2 and five outs away from evening up the World Series at two games apiece.
Familia -- who arguably should have opened the eighth to get a crack at a clean inning (Collins had needlessly used him for an inning in a blowout win the night before, so he was reluctant to put him in for the six-out save opportunity) -- replaced Tyler Clippard, who had given up consecutive walks. Familia did exactly as intended, getting Eric Hosmer to roll over on a sinker, but the slow grounder skipped under the glove of a charging Murphy.
"I tried to one-hand it," Murphy said afterward. "That probably deserved to be two-handed. I tried to come through on it, but I probably had more time than that. I just misplayed it."
And with that, the joy of Murphtober came to a screeching halt.
3. Lucas Duda's errant throw to the plate in Game 5
Maybe it's because it's the freshest cut of them all, but this feels like the most unfathomable bumble of them all. The blunder actually began with Collins letting Matt Harvey take the mound for the ninth, even when his gut and his head insisted otherwise. Harvey was insistent on remaining in the ballgame after eight shutout innings, and he talked Collins into letting him try to finish the job.
"I know better than that," Collins said. "We got in the spot where we wanted to get to, and we talked about it all day yesterday and all day today. This was my fault."
The spot was a two-run lead going into the ninth, and the plan was to bring in Familia to bring down the hammer. Instead, Harvey gave up a leadoff walk to Lorenzo Cain and an RBI double to Hosmer.
Familia relieved Harvey and got Mike Moustakas to ground out, advancing Hosmer to third with the score at 2-1. And when Perez grounded to the left side of the infield, an important thing happened: third baseman David Wright took charge on the play. He briefly checked Hosmer at third, but still, Hosmer was able to cheat off third base. When Wright fired to Duda at first, Hosmer daringly darted home.
If Duda makes a proper throw, it's a 5-3-2 double play to end the game. Instead, Duda's throw sailed wide of catcher Travis d'Arnaud. The Royals had the tying run and, it turned out, all the momentum they'd need to finish this Series off.
"I think you've got to tip your hat to Hosmer right there," Duda said. "It took some [guts] to do what he did. I didn't make a throw. No excuses. I didn't make a throw."
One bad pitch. One booted ball. One botched throw. There were a wide variety of plays and performances that made this Fall Classic what it was, but for a Mets team that came up short, these were the three moments that will keep them up at night.