Mets' bats producing HRs and not much else
Club must increase number of baserunners against Royals' stingy pitching
NEW YORK -- The Mets have lived by the home run during this postseason, and they're about to die by it if they don't start generating more baserunners against the Royals.
That was the sentiment of their captain and third baseman, David Wright, on Saturday night after a 5-3 loss in Game 4 of the World Series at Citi Field.
The Royals own a commanding 3-1 lead, prompting a must-win Game 5 for the Mets on Sunday night (8 ET on FOX). In best-of-seven World Series, teams leading 3-1 have won 38 out of 43 times.
"Offensively we didn't really do much. We didn't put runners out there," Wright said. "And then you get to their bullpen. Once that happens, you're really not going to get much action. [Friday night] we swung the bats great. We had traffic out on the basepaths. Tonight was just a different story."
The Mets have hit five home runs in the four games against the Royals, including a pair of solo shots in Game 4 by Michael Conforto, who joined Tony Kubek (for the Yankees in 1957) and Andruw Jones (for the Braves in 1996) as the only rookies to launch a pair of homers in a World Series game.
But it hasn't done them much good. The two homers were among the six hits -- four singles -- amassed by the Mets against five Royals pitchers, who surrendered just one walk. That meant the Mets had just five baserunners, and only one in scoring position, which was knocked in by a Curtis Granderson sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Because of it, the Mets clung to a 3-2 lead until everything collapsed in a three-run Kansas City eighth that cost New York the game.
"You know that one run, two runs aren't going to get it done," Wright said. "You have to score more than that."
A run-scoring comparison between the Royals and Mets during the postseason gives a more detailed story. Despite hitting 17 homers -- two fewer than the Mets -- the Royals have outscored them 83-60 overall.
To Wright's point, the Mets won Game 3 here on Friday night, 9-3. They had 12 hits in the game and a pair of two-run homers from Wright and Granderson. There was a lot of traffic on the bases.
In Game 2, Johnny Cueto shut them down on two hits, 7-1. And in Game 1, the Mets blew leads of 3-1 and 4-3 on the way to losing, 5-4, in 14 innings. Like Saturday night, the Mets scored nothing against the Royals' bullpen during the final six innings of Game 1. In Game 5, they had two baserunners and no runs in the final four innings.
"It just seemed like every inning we were three up and three down," Wright said. "We're not going to win many games hitting like that."
Thus far this Series, Kansas City's bullpen -- other than Franklin Morales' four-run outing in Game 3 -- has been dominant, allowing just one earned run in 16 1/3 innings. The Mets have to score early and often to put the Royals out of reach. They've only been able to do that in one of the four games.
"It's tough for an offense when you get one chance, or maybe two chances, a game to score runs and you don't get it done," Wright said. "That's not ideal. We're at our best when we're putting runners on, stealing bases and taking the extra base. It seems like that's what their offense did to us tonight. Every inning after the third they seemed to be coming at us."
And on the other side of it is the Royals' bullpen. It's a lethal combination. Live by the homer or die by it. Right now, it's live and let die.