It was there for the taking, but the Mets wouldn’t have anything to do with victory and let Game 4 of the World Series slip away from them like a ground ball under Daniel Murphy’s glove.
Oh, wait, that actually did happen.
“You can’t give a good team extra outs,’’ said dumbfounded Mets manager Terry Collins, who also contributed to the late-inning collapse in Saturday night’s 5-3 loss to the Royals, the team that won’t die.
In the end, the likely end to the Mets’ 2015 postseason came down to three players who probably won’t be here next season for not making the plays when they needed to most.
However, let’s first start with Collins, who pulled Bartolo Colon before going with hot reliever Addison Reed in the seventh. You go with your hot hand and Collins should have stayed with Colon and ride him until he gave up a base runner before going to Reed.
Reed was terrific, but the template backfired on Collins when Clippard walked two in the eighth. First of all, Collins should have gone with Jeurys Familia for a two-inning save. Only trouble is Collins was reluctant to go with Familia because he had worked an inning Friday night in a blowout win in Game 3. That was lame. This time of year, your closer has to work two, maybe three nights in a row.
So, not having Familia in there falls on Collins. Also falling on Collins is not pulling Clippard after the first walk. At this stage, Clippard gets one runner before he’s pulled.
Then came a grounder to Murphy. The snake of a grounder slithered under his glove and the game was tied. Then it totally slipped away from the Mets.
“Jeurys did his job, I didn’t do mine,’’ said the always stand-up Murphy. “I misplayed it. There’s no excuse for it. We lost the ballgame because of it.’’
The Mets put the tying runs on base in the ninth, but Cespedes was doubled off first on a soft liner to third baseman Michael Moustakas. Despite a runner on base ahead of him, Cespedes was running.
Where was he going? What was he thinking?
Later, he offered the lame excuse. “I thought it was going to touch the grass,’’ Cespedes said. “I didn’t think it would be a double play.’’
I don’t blame Murphy as errors happen. I don’t really blame Clippard because wildness happens. However, neither Collins nor Cespedes had their heads in the game when they needed to most.
That’s why the Mets are 27 outs from winter.